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Editor's Note - March 2008 | Swimsuits & The Big Secret in Life

If there were a magic potion or silver bullet, we'd know it by now.

If there were a shortcut, I'd have found it. If there were a magic potion or silver bullet, we'd know it by now. Whether it's weight loss, career goals, or better relationships, there is no quick fix and no shortcut; we all know that. But it's human nature to search for the easy way out.

I like what Oprah Winfrey said on this subject:

"What I know for sure is this: The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there — as long as you're willing to be honest with yourself about the preparation and work involved. There are no back doors, no free rides. There's just you, this moment, and a choice."

When it comes to diet and exercise, there is no shortage of information and expertise. I like to spend time in Barnes & Noble bookstores. It's kind of like a library with a little café, so I go there sometimes to read, to organize, keep up on the latest trends, and watch the response to our stack of magazines. Last week I meandered up and down the health and nutrition sections. I counted over 35 fairly new books on diet and weight loss, alone. I reread the familiar statistic that the average American gains two pounds per year after age 30. I quickly did the math - I am 40 and theoretically 20 pounds overweight. Ok, so I've only got 10 to lose, but if I lost those ten pounds I could fit into my 32" college khaki's again.

I pulled 10 diet books from the shelf and jotted down their key points. No offense to any of these highly educated authors, but you know what? Oprah is right. The big secret of life -or dieting in this case - is essentially that there is no big secret. I could have shelled out $135 for that knowledge if I had bought all those books. The big secret of dieting boils down to one simple mathematical truth —don't eat more food than you burn each day.

If two pounds per year is accumulated by consuming roughly 100 extra calories per day, the converse must be true; if we could simply eat 100 fewer calories and sprinkle a little exercise on top, most of us would avoid that creeping weight gain each year.

So, where could I cut 100 calories out of my normal routine? I looked at the nutrition facts on a bunch of foods I like to eat. I could eat only 1/2 the bagel or only the top of the muffin. I could use just a capful of salad dressing instead of pouring it on unmeasured. I could eat the filling from my piece of pie, leaving the crust. I could eat the chips and salsa, but pass on the cheese dip or guacamole. I could give the four Hershey's Kisses to my kids and enjoy their smiles. I could select a 12-oz can of soda instead of the Big Gulp, or better yet, I could get the water and skip the soda altogether. I could leave about 10 french fries on the plate, or shirk them completely. I could remove four pieces of pepperoni from the slice of pizza. I could toss aside the top piece of bread from my sandwich.

It's time we start telling ourselves the truth; Let's quit avoiding it or hoping for a different truth. It's time to stand and face it. Everyone can rise up, stare themselves in the mirror, and then decide to create a fresh future- a new personal experience. But it can only be done the old-fashioned way — with sweat equity and a resolute hand on the plow.

Article Reviewed: August 1, 2012
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine
With a love of life, learning and laughter, John revels in the world of creation and creativity. Guess that's what you'd expect from an English Major-MBA with a Master of Health Organization Management—forever the student. Once that fire is lit, it's hard to douse the drive to make a living writing, reading, communicating, and interacting.
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