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The Secrets Of Successful Dieting

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

I'm heading down to the Bloomsburg Fair this evening. There, my wife Barbara and I, along with our friends Bill and Trish, will relish the reheated leftovers served up by '80s chart-toppers REO Speedwagon and .38 Special. Then we'll savor the sights and sounds of the midway. While strolling across the crowded fairgrounds we will most likely gobble a few of our high-fat faves: sausage and peppers sandwiches, waffles and ice cream, pizza, milkshakes, powdered sugar-topped fried dough...

Heck, Bill and I have agreed to even sample the nasty new fair sensation: deep-fried Twinkies! It's all in the name of research, of course.

In years past I would have looked forward to the fair with a mix of excitement and fear. I would have eagerly anticipated the familiar sights, sounds and smells; I would have cringed at the thought of what the above-mentioned "goodies" would do to my diet. Not this year. No, the 148th annual Bloomsburg Fair will be a milestone for me. Why? Because I have come to terms with both my belly and my mental well-being.

And, much like the product hawkers who reveal the wonders and miracles of slicers and dicers, mops and brooms to wide-eyed fairgoers, I am here to sell you on what I believe is the secret of successful dieting. It won't cost you $29.99 or $19.99 -- not even $9.99. My insights are absolutely FREE, but they may prove invaluable to you, the perpetual dieter.

What I am about to share with you works best if you are on a proven weight loss program like eDiets.com. So be sure to check us out and come aboard like hundreds of thousands before you.

And now, I can't fight this feeling any longer... it's time to share the "ta da" moment that transformed me from a guy who dreaded dieting and social events that featured food to a guy who's slowly and steadily dropping weight while enjoying life and the foods I love. I can hear you now: "But John, you must be on drugs (the diet variety)... diet means deprivation -- you must suffer to be slim! It's a matter of no pain, no gain... blah, blah, blah..."

My secret to successful dieting: stay as busy as possible AND know that the best weight loss programs (i.e. the ones that'll help you lose weight and keep it off) don't insist on 100% compliance!

What... no fireworks went off in your head? You don't feel lighter -- physically and mentally -- already? Trust me. Follow my advice and you'll never again dread dieting. The main reason: you'll be too busy with your other passions to dwell on cookies, cakes, ice cream and even deep-fried Twinkies. I know I am asking you to invest in a new behavior. But I also know the experts tell us it only takes two weeks to instill new habits. So starting now -- and continuing on for the next 14 days -- I want you to restructure your days and evenings so you have very little free time. Idle hands are not only the devil's work. They are also the tools we use to stuff our face during commercial breaks!

It's funny, but it took a few crazy work weeks for me to realize that keeping my mind occupied is perhaps the best appetite suppressant out there. From Monday to Friday, I am basically a slave to my computer. I know that isn't healthy, but hey it keeps a roof over my head and my kids in Osh Kosh... begosh! By logging on rather than pigging out -- and by surfing the web rather than scanning the pantry -- I have been able to stick to my eDiets-approved diet very well, thank you. Well, truth be told I have stuck to my diet very well for five days out of seven. But you know what? My "five days on, two days sort of on" program has worked wonders. I am still losing weight -- gradually, but effectively -- and I am doing so without beating myself up over the "slips" I allow on the weekends.

Friends, it's time to leave perfection to your Supreme Being. I hate to break this to you, but we ain't perfect... and that's OK. In fact, it's more than OK -- knowing that perfection is unattainable is a major step towards a happier, healthier new lifestyle. Allow yourself to indulge once in a while (NOT EVERY DAY!) and you release the guilt that has damned many a diet.

My colleague and friend, Dr. John Sklare, once wrote: "It’s unrealistic and psychologically unhealthy to attempt perfection. The ultimate result of perfectionism is failure. Allowing yourself a slim five percent leeway -- for those inevitable occasions when everyone misses a beat or two -- will provide you with the breathing space you need."

To read the rest of his insightful story, click here.

I realize that keeping busy practically every moment of your waking day is easy when you lead a life like mine (10- to 12-hour work days wrapped around the parenting duties that come with being the father of two pre-schoolers). For the rest of you, this could take a little work. But, please don't think of overscheduling as work. No, think of it as finally making time for all those things you've been putting off for far too long. Like what, you ask? Well, things like hobbies. When was the last time you spent time learning and enjoying something new? I know I would love to rekindle my passion for reading books. These days, I barely find the time to keep up with Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated. Reading is a fine way to keep your mind off food... unless you park your nose in a cookbook!

Another great way to keep busy and boost your body's calorie-burning potential: exercise. You can opt for something as simple as a long, leisurely stroll or, if you're really fired up, walk down to the local gym and hit the machines. Stay busy. Stay focused. Stay the course and get down to the weight you think you look best at.

Back to my "stay busy policy." If you prefer to park your can on the couch and veg out in front of the boob tube, you can do so... and still lose weight. Amazing as it may seem, you don't need snacks to enjoy your favorite shows or movies. I know... I know... TV and food go hand-in-hand. Well, not anymore. It's time to wean yourself. Get started with the great tips we recently dished out in 10 Ways To Enjoy TV Without Eating!

To recap: dieting is not another word for deprivation. Dieting simply means eating healthily. It also means enjoying ALL your favorite foods, but doing so in moderation. I had a piece of my son's birthday cake Monday night and I enjoyed every last bite. And I woke up Tuesday morning without having gained an ounce. Perhaps this nutritional nugget will help: you need to eat 3,500 calories above and beyond your normal caloric intake to gain one pound. Do you know how much food equals 3,500 calories? It's 10 Sausage McMuffins... or 7 Quarter Pounders with Cheese... or 6 Big Macs... or 12 slices of Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lovers pizza... or 17 Taco Bell tacos... Yes, it's a lot of food! So relax and enjoy a few of your kids' french fries. They won't kill your diet -- only YOU can kill your diet by harboring unrealistic thoughts about food!

Enough already. By now you know my secret to successful dieting. Pass it on. See you at the fair!

READER FEED...urp...BACK

A few weeks back I wrote a column on gross foods. The response was overwhelming. You guys are great! Here's a stomach-turning sampling of your engrossing responses.

My husband grew up with this snack: dip white bread into bacon grease and eat! Another "specialty" of his: put ketchup into chicken soup! I cannot even look. I refuse to let him eat the bread and bacon grease in my house!
Barb Windoloski

My whole entire family -- aunts, uncles, mom, cousins, sisters -- all eat German chocolate cake topped with raw onions. It's been the family fave for so long I thought that was how everyone ate chocolate cake... until I took my new husband to a family get-together and he almost gagged.
Lissa

This is a breakfast my mom used to fix for us. I still like it today but seldom make it. It is called sugar toast. Line a cookie sheet with white bread. Place several "hunks" of margarine (about 1/8" slices) on each slice of bread. Cover each slice with sugar liberally, especially where there is a hunk of margarine. Pour canned evaporated milk (cream -- not Eagle Brand) all over each slice and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until the whole thing is light brown and bubbly. If you leave a little space between each slice, you will end up with wonderful crunchy edges. Let cool for a few minutes and then eat while warm. Oooooooooooo!
Vicki E. White

When my husband makes spaghetti sauce he uses Italian sausage and all the trimmings. When the spaghetti is gone, the next few days he eats the leftovers on bread with what seems like a ton of mayo. It grosses me out to the point I can't eat spaghetti.
Jennifer Farmer

My husband likes to eat cold, leftover, fried chicken with peanut butter on it! Yuck! The first time I saw him eat this, I was pregnant with our first child and could have killed my husband for making me sicker to my stomach than I already was!
Teri

Until next week, the kitchen is closed. But if you have any questions and/or comments -- or a tasteful joke to share -- feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at john@ediets.com.

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