A case study on flexible dieting my mom

Ok, I want to make it clear that I dislike diet books that throw testimonials at readers, for the simple fact that it's far too easy to pick and choose from super successful folks and to ignore failures (who typically quit using the diet anyhow). Basically, I consider the use of those kinds of testimonials to be a little disingenuous in the first place. So in presenting my mom's experience with the concepts I'm talking about in this book, I want to make it clear that they are meant to be as an example only. I offer it not as proof of the concepts I'm describing but a real-world example of how someone applied them.

My mom, as is the case with most dieters, has ridden the standard diet rollercoaster for quite some time. While certainly not fat, she has carried perhaps 30 pounds of extra weight with most of that coming after menopause. Diets, for her, were generally an all or nothing affair moving from one extreme of another. Several years back, and I'm not sure how much my badgering of her had to do with this, her attitude seemed to change. One way or another, she started to adopt what turned out to be flexible dieting concepts.

Last year for example, she got involved with the Weight Watchers programs (one of the few commercial diet programs that I think is worth a crap). At one point in her diet, it turned out that she had a three day trip to New York, a situation similar to what I described in the foreword and above. Now, you'd be crazy to think that she was going to go to NY and not enjoy herself food wise. The friend she was going with asked "So does that mean that you're off your diet?" Mom told her no, that she was simply going to enjoy herself over the weekend, not worry about it, and get right back on the program when she got back into town. Which is exactly what she did. She went to NY and enjoyed herself. She didn't gain any (significant) amount of weight over the weekend and had no problem returning to her diet that following Monday.

As a longer term example (similar to the study I described above), every summer for the past many years, mom goes to Europe to play piano. Now, food in Europe tends to be notoriously fatty (especially where my mom is) so there's only so much that she can do in terms of sticking to her normal diet. But rather than worry overly about it, she does her best (it also helps that she walks everywhere which ends up burning off a lot of the excess calories) food wise. When she gets back to the states, she has had no trouble taking off any slight weight that she gained.

There are other examples of places my mom has adopted a flexible dieting mentality; for example, if she wants a little something sweet, she'll have it and move on with her life. She's finally realized that a tiny bit now is better than bingeing later because she felt deprived and that that small bit of sweets (or what have you) is no big deal in the big scheme of things. And her success at maintaining her weight loss has been much higher this time around.

Again, this singular example isn't meant to prove anything. I'm presenting it simply as an example of the types of mental shifts I'm trying to describe in this booklet: how relaxing your expectations of both yourself and your diet can be far more productive for your long-term dieting success than the converse. Nothing more and nothing less.

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