“Secrets” of Weight Loss: Part 13: Let It Go

November 6, 2023

Stack of donuts and title graphic

The brilliant oncologist Bernie Siegel, M.D., once said (and I paraphrase): if you want to get better, you have to be willing to give up the disease.

Hippocrates said: Before you heal someone, ask him if he is willing to give up the things that made him sick.

Since 1979 I have been talking about the Black Box of Conventional Wisdom. For example, the majority of what is considered conventional nutritional wisdom dates back to a 1953 7 Countries study by Ancel Keys, PhD.  Dr Keys had a hypothesis that cholesterol and saturated fat caused heart disease.  He collected data from 22 countries.  Turns out only the data from 7 countries supported his hypothesis.  He “cherry-picked” the supporting data, and threw out the data from the other 15 countries.  What have been the consequences of America following Ancel Keys’ guidelines?  A massive epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes and the American cancer rate has gone ballistic – especially for Americans under 50.  And American life expectancy has steadily declined.

My Senior year in high school, in an Honors English class the teacher had a poster on the wall of his classroom:  Just because a million people say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing.

Like back surgery, got sciatica?  You need back surgery.  Turns out over 90% of all back surgeries are unnecessary.  Almost all back problems are soft tissue problems – tight muscles.  If muscles in your lower back get tight and pinch off a nerve, you will have sciatic pain running down your leg.  All you need is some moist heat to relax those tight muscles, and almost like a miracle, your back pain is gone.  I do at least 30 minutes of moist heat on my lower back every single day – otherwise my back gets tight.  My myofascial massage therapist who I see every week for 90 minutes turned me on to moist heat.  I have been seeing her for years.

The path of gentle loving kindness.  Beating yourself up and filling your body with toxic junk food and toxic liquids is not loving.

Fear keeps you stuck

Believe it or not, sometimes we are hanging on to our excess body fat.
Fear of change?
Fear of failure?  Of failing again?
Fear of being attractive?
Fear of being no longer depressed?
We cling to our current condition because we are getting some benefit from it.

Like couples getting fat together as a way of feeling more secure – neither one is attractive and therefore not a threat to be unfaithful.  That was my parents.  But, it turned out, my father was a philanderer anyway.
It is not unusual for women who were sexually abused when younger to put on weight to be less attractive and hopefully prevent further sexual abuse. – over 50% of all American women have been sexually abused – often by an alcoholic father or uncle – almost always a family member.

Fear of failing yet again – I once had a personal coaching client  - a very successful man in his early 50’s who broke down and cried saying he just couldn’t handle failing yet again to lose weight.  He trusted me.  By 55 he was leaner, more fit, and healthier than he had been at 30.

Please keep in mind that I have been coaching people for over 44 years (since 1979).  I once worked with a tall (about 5 feet 9 inches) beautiful young (32) single woman who weighed about 175 pounds.  She had 2 children.  Each time she got pregnant, her weight would climb to over 200 pounds.  After giving birth, she would work hard to get her weight down to 175 pounds but could not get any leaner.  All her life she had told she was “big boned”.  She was a successful professional woman.  She suffered from migraines and anxiety attacks.  After a year of working with me, she was a lean, fit, stunning 130 pounds.  Turns out she was incredibly carbohydrate intolerant.  But conventional wisdom told her that she needed lots of whole grains and that a glass or two of red wine with dinner was good for her.  When she let go of the carbohydrates and the red wine, not only did she lean out, both her migraines and her anxiety attacks disappeared.

The Black Box of Conventional Wisdom

The Black Box is filled with outdated information or information that was never accurate.  Myths.  Old wives’ tales.  Advertisements.  Television keeps the Black Box well-stuffed with B.S.  Want to loose a quick 10 pounds?  Stop watching TV.  And especially never watch the news.  I watch Premium YouTube.  I can watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it.  And there are zero ads.  I can see first class documentaries.  I can watch classes at Harvard.  I can watch a world class nature photographer and learn how to take amazing photos of moose in the Grand Tetons.

Just like my JDD shakes or pasture raised eggs or grass-fed and grass-finished ribeye steaks, I am looking for the highest quality life including knowledge, experts, books, food, supplements, and great experiences like wildlife in Wyoming or the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

Put the best stuff into your body, into your mind and into your life.  We only go around once.  The key is to be fully present and mindful.  That is only possible if you take first class care of your body, mind, and spirit. And avoid fear, ignorance and violence.  I live here at the beach in Southern California.  When I am taking one of my walks along the strand and I get to enjoy an amazing sunset, I am filled with gratitude for being alive.  

As T. S. Eliot said:  Build a life to rejoice in.

Thank you for listening.

As always, I wish you and your family the very best of health.


Photo by Annie Spratt