imageAmerican’s eat too damn much. American food companies put too much crap in their food that doesn’t fill you up, but makes you feel like you’re still hungry even after you’ve consumed it – so you eat more! American’s put so much on a plate that a small family in a third-world country could feed themselves for a week, with what we pile on during lunch.  So, the odds of us losing weight are against us from all angles. As such, diet and exercise is a multi-billion dollar industry.

While there’s only a few times in my life I’ve been truly overweight, I still haven’t seen my abs since about junior high. I generally keep myself within about 10-15 pounds of my ideal weight, what Jillian Michaels refers to as “vanity pounds,” but there is a “look” that I do try to maintain and that’s one where my gut isn’t protruding farther than my chest.

I’ve done plenty of diet programs and so called “lifestyle choices” about how and what to eat  –  some have worked short term but nothing for the long-term, so far.

Depending on which weight chart I’m using, I’m classified as overweight, but not obese. Most people looking at me assume I’m actually in good shape, but there’s something to be said for careful clothing selections. I’m not so unrealistic to think that as I approach the ripe age of 47 that I’ll have a set of six-pack abs and look like a cover model for Men’s Fitness. There are some other realities that many American’s face (that diets DO NOT adequately address): First, I don’t have a personal chef to cook my meals, I travel too much and I don’t have hours to dedicate at the gym every day. I don’t have time to shop for and cook elaborate meals. Like most working Americans I’m busy too.

As it is, I work out 6 days week, using a combination of cycling and P90X or Insanity, which is probably more than most people. That said, I still struggle with keeping the weight off.

A few years ago I did calorie counting and that worked for awhile. Then the metabolism hit another speed bump. Last year it was Weight Watchers, which is fine if you don’t like eating. It’s true that you can eat “whatever you want,” then you can starve the rest of the day because you’re out of points. Weight Watchers on the road is nearly impossible and trying to figure out the points for everything gets old fast. I’m sure it works well for people who need to lose a lot of weight, but for the 10-15 vanity pounds, not so much.

Weight watchers did work last year, but this year not at all. I can’t let myself get so hungry that my blood sugar crashes, then I get sick and can’t work and if I don’t work, my family doesn’t eat either.

So, a friend recommended Michaels’ book. It contains numerous strategies for shedding the pounds. It also allows you to try several options to see what works for you. Jillian also attacks all the fad diets, from Atkins to whatever, to dispel myths about what works and what doesn’t. It makes sense from the scientific and medical perspective, but now we’ll find out if it works in the real world. This posting series will be different than others as I have to select my strategies and then see if they work. Stay tuned.

Michaels, Jillian. Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss. New York: EM, 2013. Print

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