Losing the Lard

Losing the Lard

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My name is Bill Stephens, and I admit it: there is absolutely nothing I will not do to be skinny, handsome, and healthy – except eat right and exercise. You see, I’m not a dietitian, nor am I a medical doctor. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or physiologist. I am a fat man. Or at least I was a fat man until on September 7, 2009, when I stepped on the scales in all my glory – naked, having completed all my bathroom functions and ablutions – and watched the dial rocket up to 308 pounds. That day began the application of a system of visual, tactile, and mental strategies I had recently developed: all of them designed permanently to alter my eating and exercise habits, making possible the only two things necessary to lose weight and keep it offeat fewer calories and exercise more!

Sounds easy, right? Well, after over fifty years of spending enough to cover my kid’s college tuition on every weight loss program known to man, and reading every book I could get my hands on – trust me when I say it’s not just difficult, it’s damn near hopeless. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. The national average of people who achieve a major weight loss and keep it off is variously reported to be about eight percent. That’s a lousy eight folks who get to stay skinny while the other ninety-two of us march back to fat city. There must be a way to improve this dismal success rate. That’s where Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weigh Loss weighs in.

Thinking back to some of the bogus schemes, diets, and weight loss programs, I’m almost ashamed to admit even considering them. It all started with the book, Calories Don’t Count published in 1961 by Dr. Herman Taller – a runaway bestseller that was the precursor to the plethora of current day low carbohydrate diet books. It turned out that calories do count, and the full force of the Federal Drug Administration descended upon the good doctor with charges of drug violations, postal fraud, and conspiracy. A class action lawsuit soon followed. Sorry, Herman.

A charlatan in my hometown produced a truly foul tasting liquid that he claimed made you lose weight while you sleep. Could it be better than that? He made millions. His program required no eating after six-o’clock p.m., taking a big slug of this dreaded tonic just before going to bed, and going to bed early. He claimed you would burn calories while you sleep. Hey, amigo! We burn calories while we sleep, without your disgusting product. Besides, if we eat early to promote proper digestion and go to bed before having a snack and three more beers while watching television, damn straight we’ll lose weight. He went bankrupt and at one time was under criminal indictment.

I even attended the Morbid Obesity Risk Factor Clinic. It was a very worthwhile and educational medical operation, but with a name like that you had to leave the place like it was a whorehouse, looking in every direction to see if anyone recognized you. They’ve since changed the name.

I bottomed out when I tried the Miracle Soup Diet. It consisted of a truly evil tasting cabbage based soup that you ate to the exclusion of all other foods. The flatulence from this sinister soup distanced my friends and estranged my wife.

I attempted weight loss hypnotism – twice. First was a traveling show led by a hypnotist easily thirty pounds overweight.  Second was a hypnotism clinic full of white coats, offering to cure anything aberrant in your life. We laid on comfortable recliners with goggles flashing lights in our eyes, listening to tapes of the hypnotist entreating us to change our ways. I noticed that my sexual appetite and performance were improving. Possibly I was listening to the wrong tapes, but I didn’t complain even though I wasn’t losing weight.

Along the way were experiences with first-rate weight loss operations that produced results. During a time between marriages one girlfriend felt I was a bit pudgy and offered oral sex for every five pounds I lost. I can recommend this as a truly effective weight loss program. Alas, though, we parted company over some other issue, and the lard came home to roost again.

The two months I spent at the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center on assignment for my newspaper were the second most effective. I was to achieve a major weight loss while writing a series of articles for Murdoch about the Duke program. I lost sixty pounds over a six month period and of course gained it all back – plus ten pounds, over the next four months.

Why the hell do we always gain it back? And, by the way, what’s with the lard piling back on at warp speed?

Let’s list some reasons:

  1. We probably lost the weight on a “diet-book-of-the-week” plan that promised to lose the lard quickly and without any lifestyle change. All we had to do was eat these foods instead of those foods. Yeah, we’ll probably do that for the rest of our lives, right?
  2. The Set Point Theory (SPT)– Given a natural amount of exercise and normal amount of food, our bodies have a genetically predisposed optimum weight to which it wants desperately to return. This is a daunting thought, but be not discouraged, help is on the way.
  3. Our forefathers – To some degree this is redundant with the SPT above, but it must be addressed specifically. If our extended family tends to gain weight easily, we have only two choices. We can practice a controlled regimen of eating and exercise to live healthy, normal-weight lives, or we can be overweight and unhealthy. I don’t care what any diet-book-of-the-week says to the contrary.
  4. We lost our accountability – Let’s not kid ourselves, if we were self-accountable, we wouldn’t be tubbos, would we? We lost sight of the force holding us accountable for weight loss.
  5. Now Pay Attention To This One – We changed what we eat, rather than how we eat. It’s taken me almost a lifetime to understand this fundamental difference. How we eat also can be extrapolated to how much we eat.

High-powered dietitians and doctors tinker with ways to eat this instead of that, hoping to give us the illusion of eating more bulk to satisfy our appetites while ingesting fewer calories. Some even claim that eating certain foods in combination sets in motion some mystical metabolism that melts away the lard while we sit on our broad butts watching television. One guy actually claims that if we eat only certain kinds of food at specific times of the day, the lard will simply evaporate. And he says it with a straight face.

These mavens of body mass then get their book deals for their amazing “Lose Weight Instantly While Sitting On Your Ass And Eating Anything You Want” program/diet. It doesn’t take many pages to write, “Eat less and exercise more,” so they add, as back filler, lots of “their system’s recipes” which fat folks will never cook – ever.

Let’s get something straight. I don’t care if the book is from South Beach, North Beach, Long Beach, or Son of a Beach, tinkering with what we eat is not the best way to reduce calories. Granted, some foods (carbohydrates and fat) are calorie rich and offer calorie deficit challenges, but I can sum these up in two mantras:

  1. If it’s white don’t bite.
  2. Forget the fat to lose the lard.

Ok, that’s my diet book. Now let’s get on to the real truth of eating fewer calories. We must eat smaller portions. To eat smaller portions, we have to change how we eat in order to not be uncomfortable from hunger.

The méthode du jour for changing how we eat is bariatric surgery, both gastric bypass and lap band techniques. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world raise the white flag of weight loss surrender and opt for this $12,000 to $20,000 procedure to change how they eat. It is analogous to curing alcoholics with antibuse. If a person on antibuse consumes alcohol and does not die, they wish they would. After bariatric surgery we don’t have a choice about how much we eat. Overeat and we pay severe consequences.

Is it really so hopeless, that we must surrender to surgery, or can we retrain ourselves on how to eat?

Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weight Loss, a 150 to 175  page book, addresses every phase of changing how we eat. It is a good-humored, personally anecdotal trip down weight loss lane explaining:

  1. Why we are overweight
  2. Why we eat the way we do
  3. The importance of eating consciously
  4. Deprivation and satiation issues,
  5. Accountability – The “Losing the Lard Matrix” that tracks exercise and caloric intake
  6. Importance of losing lard, not weight (muscle)
  7. Salting away your fat
  8. Exercise? OMG!
  9. Specific visual, tactile, and mental techniques for retraining ourselves to eat less without discomfort.

Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weight Loss is not a diet plan, it contains no recipes, and it certainly offers no overnight magical weight loss. It tells us where we got the lard we desperately need to lose and what is required to lose it – permanently.

Why this book? Why Now? Why Me?

Searching Amazon under “diet books” produces 17,298 results  — all diet related books. There are currently five diet books in Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Books. Big numbers like these could mean this subject has been covered adequately – but it’s just the opposite! Why do people keep writing diet books? Simple, no one has solved the problem. They’re all about what to eat and not how to eat. The last diet book didn’t work, so we buy the next diet book.

Google “how to eat” and 1,980,000 results pop up telling how to eat everything in the world, but none of them tell how to eat less food without discomfort. So as these thousands of diet books are written our population plods along lugging the lard with forty-five percent of us overweight and thirty-two percent of us morbidly obese. Do we need any more proof that all 17,298 diet books haven’t worked?

Never before have Americans been bombarded so with information on our pandemic overweight problem. Los Angeles just passed zoning regulations outlawing fast food operations in certain parts of the city. “The Biggest Loser,” a television reality show where obese contestants compete to see who can lose the most lard is beginning its third season. It’s time to get useful information out there in the palatable, fun, format of Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weight Loss. It’s time to help us fat folks learn a new way to eat.

I am uniquely qualified to write this book after fifty years of weight loss program participation that lost and regained over a ton of lard. In all humility, I am a weight loss expert. There is nothing about weight loss that I didn’t know – except how to use what I knew. That’s changed with Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weight Loss. After distilling all this information to its essence and adding my own personal experiences, I am ready to practice what I preach. By the time Losing the Lard: The Mechanics of Permanent Weight Loss is published, I will have lost seventy pounds on my way to a total weight loss of one hundred pounds – losing the lard permanently this time.