21. If it ain’t broke …

21. If it ain’t broke …

In my other blog, the one I write on Saturdays, I have often talked about how our beliefs – those things we uniquely and individually believe to be true– form the foundation not only of our very being, but also  upon which our present lives have been built.

So today I thought I would share one of my beliefs with you.

It is my absolute belief that it is completely impossible to learn anything at all about nutrition.

The reason I have come to this belief rests with the fact that every time I visit a bookstore there is yet another book on the shelves advancing the latest hypothesis on good health and weight loss.

Over the years these books have told us that the pathway to health, longevity, thinness, beauty and boundless energy lies in the secret sauce that comes from eating a high-fat diet; eating a low-fat diet; only eating fruit until noon; combining food wisely so as not to mix certain foods with other kinds of foods; eating a low-fat diet; eliminating all carbs; reducing carbs; eating a carb only diet; following a vegan lifestyle,; eating a high animal protein diet; eliminating all animal protein; eliminating all dairy products; eating tons of dairy products; eating a vegetable-based diet; cutting back on fruit; eliminating all wheat products; eating wheat as a good source of fiber; following a high-fiber diet; no fiber diet.

The book titles tell the story. Fit for Life, Food for Life, Eat to Live, Pritikin, Scarsdale, Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, North Beach, East Beach, West Beach.

Ok, I made up those last three but I think you get the drift.

My own personal favorite, and one I believe makes the most sense, is the Dr. Atkins program. I have never actually read any of his books, however as I have listened to friends describe Dr. Atkins protocol I have chosen his teachings as being the most sensible and intelligent for the simple reason that anyone who promotes bacon and eggs, in unlimited quantities, as a health food, automatically gets my vote.

I was recently introduced to a new book on nutrition which is now my new favorite of all time. I have not yet read this book and have no way of knowing whether I will or will not agree with a single word written by the author. The book was written by the sister of a good friend of mine and the title of the book was enough to catapult the book to first place in my list of favorite nutrition books. The book is titled “In one end and out the other.”

You gotta love that.

So it came as a wonderful surprise to me when my client and friend Robert dropped by the office for a visit last week.

It has been some eighteen months or so since I last saw Robert and it is safe to say that he is not half the man he used to be.

The last time I saw Robert he was breaking the scales at some 360 pounds and each breath he took led to a wheezy sound pouring out of his mouth.

To say Robert was moribund is no exaggeration and now a little over a year later this athletic looking guy strongly resembling Robert, sans the multiple chins, dropped by the office for coffee and to share his story.

Robert had read all of the above books. At various times he had tried Weight Watchers, Herbal Magic, Jenny Craig, Dr. Bernstein, Nutrilife and a whole host of others, all with the same result: the weight went away, then came back, then increased.

He told me he’d had enough. He was tired of learning new and improved ways to lose weight. he told me that he had done the math and the math was always the same: consume less, burn more = weight goes down.

Their math had been done by hundreds of thousands of people before him and he was simply going to follow them.

No more books, no more diets, no more programs. Do what works. 

The math, according to Robert, was really quite simple

Robert decided he was not going to eliminate anything. He was not going to eat a low-fat/high-fat/high-protein/low-protein/carb reduced/ high carb/no fruit/all fruit diet regimen any longer.

He was going to follow the tried and true and proven method of weight loss. He was going to adopt the Habit of Modeling Success. He was going to do what had worked for untold thousands of other people.

Robert simply made two small changes to his life. Each time he sat down to eat a meal he would push one third of the meal off to the side of the plate and only eat the remaining two thirds. He didn’t eliminate any particular foods; he just reduced his food intake by one third. That was the first thing he changed.

The second thing he changed was that he added a 20 minute per day walk to his daily regimen.

Prior to introducing these two changes, Robert’s longest walk each day was from his parking stall to his office – approximately 100 feet to the elevator. So adding a 20 minute walk was a substantial increase to his physical activity.

That’s all he did.

And in month one he dropped 18 pounds.

In month two he did it again.

And the weight continued to fall off his frame as time passed. And he lived by a simple rule: eat less, do more. The time-proven method of weight loss.

Robert told me that he had weighed himself prior to dropping by my office. Earlier that morning he had weighed in at 183 pounds meaning he had lost approximately 177 pounds.

Robert has always had a sweet tooth and as he was relating the story to me he reached into his pocket, pulled out a Snickers bar, tore open the wrapper, broke off one third and slid it across the table. The other two thirds went into his mouth and he slowly chewed it with an impish grin of delight on his face.

He made a profound statement. He said that it is seldom necessary for us to acquire a great deal of new knowledge in order to produce new results in our life. For the most part, he said, we already know what we need to know, we just don’t do what we need to do.

He went on to tell me that prior to commencing his new lifestyle he had interviewed more than 14 people who had lost more than 100 pounds each, and had asked them to share their secret. In every case they attributed their successful weight loss to the same thing: fewer calories in, more calories out.

In Roberts view the process is very simple. Develop the Habit of Modeling Success. Do exactly what successful people have done. That’s all there is to it.

Well not quite! As the weight came off those 20 minute walks increased to 30 minutes, then to 40 and soon he was jogging half a mile than a mile and now three times a week he hits the street and runs 5 miles.

He did one other thing. After he lost the first 100 lbs he – in his own words – “Went out and bought a whole bunch of heavy things that were delivered to my basement. Now several times each week I go down and I lift them up and put them down and then I lift them up again and put them down again and keep doing this for about 90 minutes.

“Then I enjoy two thirds of a Snickers bar.”

The Habit of Modeling Success: how often have we set out to reinvent the wheel – to create new and improved ways of doing for getting results – rather than following the tried, and true proven paths? And how often have we given up in despair and frustration?

Success leaves clues. All we need to do to enjoy success is to model success.

And if you don’t think it’s that simple my friend Robert would love to talk to you.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

P.S. I am very excited to share with you that my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at  www.lifesinksorsoars.com  and let me know what you think.

A very special “Thank you” to Condredge Dole of Sweet Little Websites for his terrific creativity in designing the site; to Kelly Martin of My Social Media Bridge for all her ideas and suggestions, and to both of them for their remarkable patience in keeping me as a client.

P.P.S. I had the privilege of doing my first ever radio interview yesterday. The topic of the interview was my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. Here is a link to my interview. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to it. Please contact me at rael@raelkalley.com and share your thoughts

P.P.S.S. If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, please do so by clicking here. You can also check out, or subscribe to my other blog by clicking here.

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