The 4 Physical Laws of Dieting
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Charlie Hills who can be found at Back To The Fridge. He is the author of Why Your Last Diet Failed You and How This Book Won’t Help You on Your Next One, a humorous commentary on dieting not designed to help anybody.
Odds are you’ve been dieting for just as long as I have. And by now you’re familiar with the mechanics of weight loss. You know the basic premises. (“Burn more calories than you take in!”) You know the numbers. (“It takes an extra 3,500 calories to gain a pound.”) But I bet you haven’t heard these laws. (Probably because I made them up.)
Here they are: The Physical Laws of Dieting:
Law I. Weight returns at five times the velocity at which it was lost.
Unfortunately, most of us are all too familiar with this law. In some ways, this seems impossible. “How can it take five days to lose two pounds and only one day to get it back!? That’s not fair!” Well, unfortunately, life isn’t fair and this is just the way it works. Why? Because you can’t eat fewer than zero calories per day but you can eat five thousand or more if you really put your mind to it. What to do: If your diet is going well, here’s a helpful tip: don’t blow it. How? Well if I knew that, I’d be king of the world.
Law II. Any dietary straying, no matter how seemingly insignificant, causes instantaneous Diet Reversal.
Oh, we’ve all experienced this. You do well all week long then on Friday night you figure you deserve a little treat. So you have pizza. Oops. Does your body forgive you? Are you allowed to take a mulligan? Of course not. What to do: Giving yourself a food treat for losing weight is a lot like winning a Million Dollar Bake-Off and then shredding the check to celebrate your win. What’s wrong with you?
Law III. No diet, no matter how well it’s going, can survive Thanksgiving.
I don’t know about you, but the forty-day feed fest from Thanksgiving to New Year’s gets me every single time. I try. I really do. But no diet in history has ever been built to withstand a head-on collision with pumpkin pie. What to do: Remove all possible temptation by relocating to an uncharted island. There Mary Ann and Ginger can keep you on a strict diet of coconut and crab. In fact, you might enjoy this so much you’ll find yourself sabotaging the Professor’s rescue plans every single week.
Law IV. Informing others of your progress immediately halts progress.
I can’t be the only one this has happened to. You start your diet on Monday and by Thursday morning you’re miraculously down six pounds. You’re so excited you tell everyone you know, whether in person or by keyboard. But come Friday morning, you’re suddenly five pounds heavier. It’s a sinking feeling, but you brought it upon yourself. What to do: This one is obvious: never, ever tell anyone how well you’re doing. Even when you’ve lost fifty pounds and everyone asks, “Have you lost weight?” tell them, “No, I’m just wearing vertical stripes.”
So there you have it. I know it’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. I’m actively lobbying to see if I can get any of these laws repealed. So far, no such luck. I’ll keep you posted.