April 30, 2009

From Gerald R. Lucas

Back to McDougall

About 10 years ago, I weighed around 220 pounds. I simply ate the wrong foods. I worked-out regularly, including jogging thirty minutes three-to-four days a week and lifting weights at the gym. However, I just could not take any weight off. A couple of professors I had at the time had both just lost a lot of weight. They recommended the The Mcdougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health, and with that, I was able to lose about 55 pounds in just over three months.

One of the great things about McDougall is that it’s not a traditional diet; it’s a lifestyle change. McDougall says right at the beginning of the book: “diets don’t work.” Yes, you can lose weight with a diet, but the problem is that once you’ve reached your goal, you just go right back to the same bad eating habits you had before losing weight. Then, not only do you gain all the weight back, but usually pack on a few more pounds for good measure. Keeping weight off permanently means changing your eating habits permanently.

McDougall also taught me that there’s no such thing as over-eating. He asks, “can you over-breathe? Can you over-drink?” No. The problem is not with quantity, but with the quality of the typical American diet. It, simply, is full of fat. Fat is the enemy, not carbohydrates. I know: this seems to go against everything you hear these days when people talk about weight loss. Again, diets don’t work. Essentially, the McDougall program asks that we give up high-fat foods, adding fat to our foods, and overly processed foods. Yes, that’s the typical American diet.

This means no meat. I know: many Americans would rather give up their left arm than their hamburgers. Well, this just might happen literally (Diabetes, anyone?), if we continue to eat a poorer and poorer diet. I think part of the problem today is the Food Network. Don’t get me wrong: I love those guys, but I think much of the programming is irresponsible and deleterious to your health, despite some of their claims about cooking “healthy food.” When personalities like Tyler Florence cook a steak in butter, then add olive oil on top because “it’s healthy,” then there is a problem. He’s not the only one on that channel who’s getting fat and unhealthy looking. Have you seen Emeril Lagasse lately? Again, I love Emeril, but dude.

Anyway, I have relapsed. I’m back up to about 200, and I don’t like it. I’ve been working out regularly, but the weight is not coming off. See a pattern? So, I have begun McDougalling again. I’m on day four, and already feeling better. My goal is to be back down to my real weight (around 175) by my fortieth birthday on August 18th.

Wish me luck.