|Use these stretchy things if you want.|
I can't tell you how many times I've been asked this question, and in those exact words as well. It's like daily clockwork if I had any understanding of how clocks actually work.
So, as a gift to my readers and the other countless people that I have forgotten to give a "Secret Santa" gift to over the years, I have developed a strict diet plan. When rigorously followed over a week long period, this plan is guaranteed to give you a body type just like mine. If you are a woman, it is guaranteed to give you a female version of my body, which is to say it will make you look like Ellen Degeneres with a slightly larger gut.
I have developed this diet and exercise plan over a three year period of trial and error and I can honestly say that since I have begun the program I have not gained a single pound. (Or lost a single pound.) Much to my chagrin (A "chagrin" is what I call my double chin when I smile), I have continued to be able to enjoy my noble, slightly portly look that drives all the ladies mad. ("Ladies" meaning my wife. "Mad" meaning likely annoyed.)
Now, without further ado (or further "adon't), I give you "Abe's Seven Easy Days to Slightly Overweight Maintenance Freedom".
ABE'S SEVEN EASY DAYS TO SLIGHTLY OVERWEIGHT MAINTENANCE FREEDOM
Given that it is Monday and you are having a hard time getting self started, I find that a 12 ounce can of regular Coca Cola and a chocolate chip granola bar are just the thing to give you the pep to get to work. You could go with a Diet Coke but that little extra sugar makes it taste good and since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it's important to drink the entire can.
I find that eating breakfast while driving to my workplace works best. In my car, I am free from extra temptations like a second can of Coca Cola or a Hostess Ding Dong. Eating in your car also helps burn additional calories, especially if you turn the radio station a lot or spill your Coke and desperately try and use your glovebox napkins to wipe up the mess in traffic. (Up to 30 additional calories burned!)
If you're like me, you have very little time to eat lunch so going out is not always an option. I pack a lunch, which I delicately prepare before shoving off in the morning with my Coke and granola bar. Packing a lunch also burns additional calories which will help you maintain that sleek look your spouse has come to secretly and begrudgingly accept. (Up to 36 additional calories burned!)
That being said, I generally pack a nice sandwich, preferably turkey or other white meat, a few chips and a Ding Dong. Lunch is where you can make up for some of those extra calories you ate in the morning, so I suggest drinking just one additional 12 ounce Coke instead of two. You may want to go with Diet, but you've had a rough morning, so regular it is!
When I get home, I want to just roll up in a ball and nap in the corner until supper is served. Unfortunately, I live in a round house and what corners I do have are completely manufactured from rectangular shaped furniture. Certainly, I don't want to be a sell out so I skip the nap.
My wife makes dinner, which is generally something fairly tasty. I like to eat the things that she makes and depending on what she makes, I like to have two helpings.
So here is my rule for dinner: If it is good, go ahead and have two helpings. If it is gross, save yourself those calories and use them as "bonus bucks" for something later in the evening. Bonus bucks come in handy if you are hungry right before bedtime. All scientists agree that the best time to eat is 30 minutes before you hit the hay. Even scientists that study things such as fish biology agree that eating before bedtime helps you to make it through the night without having to get up for a snack. (I know this because my cousin is a fish biologist and avid eater.)
By skipping out on the extra helping of gross food, you are saving yourself as many as 40,000 calories! (Depending on the food.) Look, there is no way your evening snack is going to be 40,000 calories. I use this magical and mystic logic when I tell my wife I am full after a gross meal. (Few and far between. She is a great cook.)
A dinner soda strictly depends on what your spouse is drinking. If they are drinking soda, go ahead and indulge. If not, steer clear. Save those calories for another occasion. You may hear your spouse say things such as, "Is that your third soda today? You are so addicted!" and this will make you feel guilt. It is important to feel guilt free on this program. Guilt makes you gain weight and we all know we simply want to maintain that little extra something in the middle.
It's important to keep your snacks light and healthy. That is why I prefer the French Onion chips over the BBQ. Hey, at least there is a vegetable in there! And why not pack some celery? Or how about WHY pack celery? Have you tried those things? They taste like water combined with crunchy nothing!
I keep a box of wheat thins at work. Low in calories and tasty, they fill me up so I will only eat one Twinkie rather than my normal two.
It's best to just NOT BUY unhealthy snacks so you are NOT tempted to engorge. That's why I have my wife buy them for me. Less guilt. They're there, what am I supposed to do? But keep them to a minimum. I like the old rule of thumb: "One snack for every meal, unless you are more hungry than that." It's something we dietitians like to say.
I don't have a lot of advice regarding desserts except to eat them, but sparingly. Desserts can really pile up the calories in a hurry. I find that if I am out at a restaurant, it is best to gorge myself with the main course, so that when the waiter brings the tray of plastic desserts to look at, I can be honest with him and say, "No thanks, I'm full."
Rather than eat dessert, eat an extra Olive Garden breadstick or cheesy bread or take an additional trip to the salad bar and get some jello or chocolate pudding. After all, pudding is not dessert. It's at the salad bar for pete's sake! Salad is good for you. Which brings me to my next topic...
Inevitably, you will be doing just great on my seven day program when a friend will call you and say, "Do you guys want to go out to dinner tonight?" Always, no matter what the circumstances, answer this question with a rambunctious, "YES! HECK YEAH WE DO!" But don't seem overly desperate. No one likes a desperate eater.
When eating out, I always skip the salad. I always say, "they're just empty calories", which is true because you burn more calories chewing lettuce than it actually has in it. It's like eating a hollow piece of air. There is no truer form of empty calories than lettuce. Skip it.
You may want to get the soup, but only if there is cheese. Cheese has milk in it and milk is one of the four major food groups. As you have read through my plan, you may have noticed that there is not a lot of milk in it. Now's your chance! Get the soup, but make sure it has cheese.
If they ask you if you'd like mozzarella, say yes, but ALWAYS say "when" before the other people at your table say "when". Tell the other people at the table that you are on a diet and don't want to overdo it. This will not only impress them, but you've already had your milk group in the soup so no need to beat a dead horse. Besides, dead horse might be on the menu and then you'd be beating two dead horses in one meal.
Finally, eat enough that you can skip dessert. (Saves up to 4,000 calories!)
Things to think about:
Mondays: Being the first day of the work week, Monday is going to present some challenges to stay faithful to the plan. You may feel overwhelmed, stressed or even fat-tigued from your Sunday dinner of waffles and corn chowder. Believe me, this is quite common for the unmotivated and it is something that needs to be overcome.
Soda: Constantly talk about giving up soda. Again, this gives others the impression that you are serious about this diet and if you talk about it enough, someday you just might do it. We've all heard that common saying, "You talk a big game but you don't back it up until you talk about it enough to make everyone crazy and think it will never happen." It's a fairly common saying.
Movies: When going to the movies, eat the popcorn, but ask if you can put on the butter yourself. The theater workers tend to pile on the butter. If you want to take control of your diet and make this work, it's important that you pile on the butter, not the movie theater workers. Take control of your destiny people!
Water: Drink lots of water between sodas. It will help you feel less guilty and it will dilute the soda.
Here is perhaps the most important part of my diet plan. In order to maintain your sexy lifestyle and frontal curves (below the torso), it is important to burn off at least some of those calories.
Look, I run somewhere between 4-8 miles a day. If you can't do this, you need not fear. Just take my dietary recommendations and cut them in half. Do exactly half of what I have suggested. If you can run 4-8 miles a day, do it. You will feel better and you will forever remain in "borderline overweight limbo".
Finally, if you do embark on my program, I ask that you do one thing. I need some before and after shots. I need absolute proof that people that take on my diet plan bodies stay exactly the same shape and size. So if you could put on some spandex shorts and email me those photos in a PDF, that would be great. Also, if you could find a giant scale like on the Biggest Loser and take your pictures while standing on it, that would be even better.
- - Thank you and I wish you all the best of luck on the Abe's Seven Easy Days to Slightly Overweight Maintenance Freedom!!!