Weigh Yourself Every Day
With rare exception, your weight is either going up or down, and you need to know which.
On the Half Hour Diet, if your weight is not climbing, take courage—you are probably beginning gradual weight loss. If your weight is creeping up, make minor corrections in what you are eating.
Serve Less Food for Family Weight Loss
There are several reasons we cook more food than before: more money, less time, two working parents, and better refrigeration.
Per capita calorie intake has doubled as more of what we grow reaches the market and more of what we buy reaches our stomach. In the past, leftover food spoiled, so cooks counted how many would attend a meal and prepared just the right amount. If the count was too low, everyone took a little less. With modern refrigeration, we no longer worry about making too much, and quite often, a few extra guests could appear and no one would suffer.
Also in the past, the "typical" family had a working spouse and a cooking spouse. Today, one form of the "typical" family includes a working spouse and a cooking-and-working spouse, and for them, the ability to preserve leftovers is a welcome relief from everyday, every-meal cooking. We now plan for leftovers by cooking extra, then without thinking, we put far more food on the table, enabling larger first portions and then seconds and thirds.
You could buy and cook less food, thus saving money, or instead, right after food preparation, you could set aside for leftovers and serve much less food on your table.
Cook as much as you want, but serve less.
Make Friends With Water
Water has no calories, and when you stop drinking heavily sugared drinks, simple, chilled water (perhaps with a slice of lemon) can taste fantastic while unmasking the taste of your food. In most areas, tap water is virtually free.
Take Slow Meals Not Treadmills
Good conversation over leisurely meals satisfied civilized people for thousands of years. In fifty years, fast meals brought endless diets, solitary workouts in the gym, and epidemic obesity, sleep apnea, and acid reflux.
Serve small portions from the kitchen, and linger at the table for a half hour conversation with family and friends.
Or . . . Eat Faster by Eating Less
If you are too busy and cannot linger at the table, try making meals even faster by cutting portion size and limiting calories. Then, while you are on your way, marvel as hunger gradually subsides.
Don't Listen to Your TV Friends
Watching commercial television is like having someone whisper in your ear—every twelve minutes—that it's a good time for a snack. Weren't you thinking about a snack? Aren't you even a little hungry? How about some crispy buffalo wings!
It is a little rebellious to ask whether we are really hungry and whether our TV friends are working for someone else. Don't snack in front of the television.
Have a Restaurant Weight Loss Strategy
Restaurants pay staff, rent, heat, light, insurance, etc. Doubling the food adds minimal extra cost. Larger portions give better value, make full stomachs quicker, and may reduce fixed costs-per-meal by hastening departure of guests who eat till full.
Eat less and take the extra home for another day. Take a half hour pause before committing to dessert—try walking to a different restaurant or waiting till you get home.
Feed Your Brain for Body Weight Loss
The stomach does not cause hunger. People once heard hearts beating fast and stomachs growling and believed these organs created love and hunger, but we no longer follow our heart and should no longer serve our stomach. Love, hunger, and satisfaction come from the brain. (Hard to believe, but true.)
Hunger dissipates only slowly after a meal—it takes about a half hour. Like most medicines, there is at least a half hour delay between swallowing and any response, which must wait for food and tablets to dissolve, be absorbed, and reach the target organ. Since food is the remedy for the brain's hunger, failure to acknowledge a half hour delay can explain why we are all overdosing on calories. We don't expect medicine to work immediately. Let's apply that wisdom to food.
As we fill our stomachs, average weight continues to rise. With three out of four Americans now overweight, the problem is not a failure of individuals. It is the brain that matters, and a small delay after a small meal may be all we need.
Get A Hobby
Develop a hobby (besides watching movies or television) to distract from constant advertising reminders to eat.
Don't Buy New Dishes
Smaller plates are only a visual aid to reduce portions, but they do not prevent taking seconds or thirds. When less food satisfies, after a half hour pause, you will simply adjust by covering less of your usual dinner plate.
Don't buy new plates. Ask if you are still hungry. You already own what you need to lose weight.
NEXT: Should I Exercise?