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I watched last season’s “The Biggest Loser”. As I blogged a few months ago, I felt like this program gives people a false expectation of what it means to lose weight. I was speaking to a friend of mine about the fact that these people are losing well over 100 pounds of weight in something like 8 months. My friend referred to this as a crash diet.

I looked up the definition of “crash diet” and Wikipedia defines it as “a diet which is extreme in its nutritional deprivations, typically severely restricting calorie intake. It is meant to achieve rapid weight loss and may differ from outright starvation only slightly.” I know that Wikipedia is not the best reference material, but I think this time it is right on.

The “crash” part of this phrase is the interesting part. I am not sure if the crash comes at the start of the diet when you quickly lose the weight or at the end when you gain it all back.

I have tried more than my share of diets. I get the attraction to losing weight quickly.  I am as impatient as the next guy, but it never lasts.  The diet I started before my last go around was the Atkins diet. What could be better than eating a pound of bacon for breakfast every day and losing weight? According to my friend Danny, “bacon is the universal flavor enhancer.” I did pretty well on that diet, but I suffered from some of the well-known side effects of a low carb diet. I was always worried about having bad breath, and I started to suffer from a form of gout in my hands. The worst part of it was the lack of fiber in my diet. I would be backed up for 3 to 4 days without being able to use the bathroom. It was awful!

Those side effects told me that this was not a plan that I could stay on for the rest of my life. It also told me that it was unhealthy. I did some research, and one of the theories that I came across was that low carb diets cause a disease called diverticulitis. One of the causes of this disease is constipation, which is very harmful to the large intestine. Apparently, it is not uncommon for body builders to suffer from diverticulitis due to the diets they endure for competitions.

I was at IKEA a few days ago, looking for some cheap photo frames (not that IKEA has anything that is expensive.) While I was there, I stopped off into the bathroom and noticed an emergency button on the wall. The button is marked “Medical Emergency”. I snapped a quick couple of pics with my phone, because it struck me as kind of funny. My first thoughts were, “What in the hell are people doing in the IKEA bathroom that they need to place an emergency medical button here?” and “Does IKEA have so many toilet emergencies that they decided to cut out the requirement of someone actually yelling for help? Is this a button for people that would like a medical emergency but don’t know how to start? Does this send up a Batman-like signal in the air in the shape of a toilet seat? Does it sound an alarm that sounds like flatulence and not a siren?

Then, it came to me. IKEA has a large number of Viking body builders that suffer from a low carb diet and they want to be sure none of them end up dying in there. If only Elvis had had one of these installed at Graceland.

All of this tells me that there are no shortcuts to being healthy. Mother Nature has a way of making you pay the price for trying to outsmart her. Eat nothing but protein, Mother Nature says you get to keep it all and won’t let you go to the bathroom. Take steroids to build muscles, and Mother Nature says you get acne and shrinking testicles (see what your new girlfriends think of that). Take drugs to amp up your metabolism to lose weight, Mother Nature says you get to lose all your teeth and have an early heart attack.

It’s just best to work with Mother Nature, lose the weight in a controlled, steady, slow pace, and be healthy. I look back after four and a half years and think…wow that was quick. When you consider that it took me 40 years to weigh 600 pounds, 4 years to lose it seems fast.

Long live Elvis. 

Paulie

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