No, we’re not talking about the restaurant. We’re talking about how I lost 140 pounds 30 years ago and kept it off with what has been called the TGIF diet.
I teach a lifestyle where five days a week we are quite austere, like people on a diet, and then, for two days, we are more relaxed, eating more normally on the weekend. I had tried and failed to lose my excess weight for 25 years until I discovered how to succeed with this method. So can you. We win every day, every week and every weekend, work hard M-F and then it’s “Thank God It’s Friday!” It’s a great way to live.
On the weekends we are able to do the things people normally can’t do if they are trying to lose weight. On the weekends we go out to dinner without denying ourselves, have drinks and deserts without guilt, and we go to parties while not denying ourselves a good time. Then, Monday, it’s back to work, nose to the grindstone. And when Friday comes, it’s TGIF! I lost all my excess weight doing this, 140 pounds in 18 months, and I’ve kept it off for three decades.
I’m not talking about bingeing on the weekend or having a free-for-all on weekends where anything goes, and then feeling lousy about it afterwards. They are not “cheat” days. They are carefully formed habits of eating everything I like and want in ways that prevent me from being overweight. It’s a matter of training and reprogramming, like becoming addicted to healthy eating instead of overeating. Also, I am enjoying the food more than ever before, guilt free! All of the eating habits I’ve developed have been carefully created so that I’ve learned how to eat all the foods I like and want in ways that have allowed me to lose all the weight I wanted to lose, and keep it off.
In order for this to work, you need to learn about the metabolic rate you’ll have at your goal weight (there is no mystery to this) and then learn about the caloric values in all the foods that you like to eat. Instead of learning how to diet and lose weight (only to gain it back when we go back to “normal”), we learn how to eat what we like in a way to become and stay at our desired weight for the rest of our life. We actually train and reprogram ourselves to eat what we like in the quantities that will fit into our caloric budget (low on weekdays, then up to our burn rate, but not over, on weekends) and we practice this until it becomes habit. I’ve found there is almost nothing I need to cut out of my life to succeed. Everything I like can fit into the plan somewhere.
In this way, we avoid the experience of losing weight while we punish ourselves, only to become worse overeaters when the diet is over. In the typical diet approach, people do something strange for a while, lose a bit of weight, get sick of the dieting and then go back to the habits that made then overweight, only worse. They regain more than ever, returning to unstructured, unconscious eating of incredibly caloric foods without knowing it and without realizing what they are doing. Immediately after losing weight, most people begin literally training and programming themselves to become chronically overweight and addicted to overeating.
Needless to say, there is more work involved than having a shake or prepared meal that some company sells, or simply starving yourself for a while. We have to actually learn about the food we really eat, and train like a musician or athlete to act habitually in ways that keep us fit. We develop a kind of “muscle memory” of the mind with our eating habits. And like people who become skilled in sports, it’s a mental game, where the mental techniques to master will, motivation and execution are the most important aspect of the sport. But oh, the glory and pleasure of the victory.