Hissy Fit - January 2023 - Simplifying Weight Loss: K.I.S.S. Complicated and Confusing Goodbye

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


January 2023 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Oh wait. That was last month. But…it is the most wonderful time of the year to lose weight. I know that’s your New Year’s resolution. I also know 87.3 percent of those who set weight loss as a New Year’s resolution, do not succeed. Why? Well, the real reason is weight loss is a mental game. If you’re not ready mentally, it’s just not going to happen. But this year let’s blame it on something else and take the pressure off. People don’t stick to their weight loss goals because it’s all become just too complicated and confusing.

Weight loss truly has become over complicated. It’s a gazillion dollar industry that offers an equal gazillion paths to success. However, they all have one thing in common: You HAVE to change your eating habits. Back in the day, when I went on my first diet (I think I was 12-years-old.), it was all about calories. The basic premise was if you consumed less calories than your body needed to function, you would lose weight. In fact, once a deficit of approximately 3,400 calories was reached, a pound was lost—not that complicated, right?

Fast forward 30 years and enter these factors: Water; carbohydrates, exercise, more diets than ever thought possible and, of course, money. This is where it gets complicated, confusing, paralyzing and sometimes downright silly.

Let’s begin with the gluttony of water. The old adage tells us to drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water every day. This protocol has been suggested millions of times. I believe drinking 6-8 glasses a day tends to help and it is definitely a way better choice than sugary drinks, or even diet drinks. The simplicity of drinking water has become complicated by all the rules and regs now attached. “You shouldn’t drink cold water.” “You need to drink in ounces half your body weight of water every day.” Seriously? If you’re weighing in at 250, that puts you doing nothing but drinking water and tinkling all day long. “You need to warm the water and add lemon.” “You need to drink water high in Ph.” Good Lord, there’s even a brand called Smart Water, which leads us all to believe there must be dumb water out there somewhere. When I was coming along, bottles of water did not exist. Now an entire society can’t run to the grocery store without a bottle of water in hand. It’s as if you may expire from dehydration induced from driving to the store five minutes away in an air-conditioned car and having to walk from said car to said store from the closest parking spot available. Surely, we’re the most hydrated people in all of history. Come to think about it, we’re the fattest, too.

Poor carbohydrates. They have become Public Enemy No. 1. They even have titles of their level of complicatedness. There are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Only the simple ones are very complex, and the complex ones are actually quite simple. That’s clears things up, huh? Carbohydrates get a bad rap because sugar—mainly processed—lurks in almost every boxed, canned or bagged grocery product and should actually don the crown as Public Enemy No. 1. Let’s take the potato for instance. It is not processed, yet it contains carbs. I have lost weight and eaten a small potato all in the same day. How? I chose a small potato. Basically, the small red potatoes, which we Lowcountrians put in our Lowcountry Boils, are about the right serving size for a potato. Just. One. Bottom-line: Those gigantic Russets are literally enough for four.

No one thing has to be a villain if used in the right proportion. So gluttony is the true Public Enemy No. 1—the second of the Seven Deadly Sins and the real reason we are an obese society. You can justify it by saying we are over served, because we truly are. Unfortunately, restaurants that serve moderate portion sizes are usually criticized and not perceived well. But we are the ones choosing what we order and how much of it we eat.

Everyone has an opinion. This is especially true when it comes to diets. I won’t say there are a million of them, but I will say there are probably 999,999. If you weren’t already confused enough about how much water to take in, what temperature it should be, or if carbs are going to blow you up like a toady frog and send your blood sugar soaring, you can be sure to be confused over which diet protocol to select. I happen to be a big proponent of your body gives you an A for effort. It is the most complicated machine on earth, and it notices when you tweak things. In other words, pick a diet, it truly doesn’t matter which one (unless you have specific health issues) and stick to it. That’s what makes a diet work—sticking to it. Stringing minutes together to form hours, and hours together to form days, and days together to form months, constitutes progress. If you can do this on ANY diet, you will be successful.

Finally, we come to exercise, where the confusion gets extra heavy. At first we were told to do cardio. Then we were told cardio doesn’t help weight loss, it only helps strengthen your heart, which last time I checked is a good thing. Now we need to do weight-bearing exercises like lift weights, do so many squats we become land owners, and flip giant tractor tires over and over from one place to the other, as if we didn’t learn they roll right after the discovery of fire. A few years ago, I got to the point where I actually enjoyed going to the gym—something I thought was impossible. I went to spin class three to four days a week. I loved it—the music, the people, everything about it. Then my euphoric spinning bubble was burst. “You need to change up your exercise. If all you do is spin class, your body will get used to it, and it won’t help anymore.” So, I changed it up by quitting. Not. A. Good. Solution.

Here’s the deal: Unless exercising is your job, do what the heck you want to do. Again, this is not scientific, or researched in any way. This is my opinion, which you don’t have to adopt, and quite frankly, you probably shouldn’t, BUT, again, I think our bodies gives us an A for effort. AND, if you go back to the “calories in” versus “calorie deficit” theory, ALL exercise burns calories, and those burned calories increase the deficit.

For God’s sake just let me do my spin class and enjoy it. Don’t make me feel like a loser at exercise because I’m not switching things up enough. News flash: I did switch things up because I used to spend that time eating or sitting on the couch. Is that not enough switching up? Must we always live in the land where milk is bad, milk is good, milk is bad, milk is good?

The majority of people quit diets because it’s too hard to sustain. So let’s simplify this (and please talk to your doctor before you do anything): Eat less, move more, stay hydrated. Yep, it’s that simple. If you do these three things on a regular basis, you will start to see your hotness reveal itself. What a great feeling it is when that double chin gets brave enough to go it alone, or when those hips don’t need chips and those thighs are done with fries. Nobody (but Santa) wants her belly to shake like a bowl full of jelly, and Christmas was so last year, anyway. It’s time to K.I.S.S. last year’s bad habits, over indulgences and confusing musings goodbye. What do I mean by K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Sexy!