My Successful Diet Rules:


losing weight by running pic(I don’t think there’s such a thing as “Walker’s High” but that’s OK–I fast-walk, anyway.  This Zumba pic adorns my fridge, reminding me not to be discouraged if I don’t note drop weight immediately.)

  1.  Avoid alcohol…It’s got too much sugar, but more important, it subverts all else…All my will-power…all my self-discipline. Not easy to do in a world where many inbibe.  How do I maintain? I socialize mostly with those who walk a “dry” path.
  2. Identify irritants and avoid them:  That means I steer clear of all places I associate with favorite food abuses:  Translation?  I can’t go to DD for, in the past, I ordered those divine coffee rolls, too (slathered with butter).  Good mantra for people, as well. Avoid high-stressers there, too, if possible.
  3. No ice cream…Not any…Don’t even bring it into the house, for whereas it can be in freezer for months, with my husband, it calls to me every 15 minutes, saying: “You know you want some Butter Pecan, with chocolate sauce and chopped nuts.”  “Come and get it.” This plays over and over ‘til I give in.  Maybe on the 10th. time, I do….
  4. Same goes for potato chips (salty snacks–another big hurdle.)  If I avoid salt, water retention won’t be a problem, either.…
  5. Avoid dining places where I LOVE the rolls or bread:  Gregg’s heated ones are lovely (again, with butter)…Panera’s French bread is good, Campanella’s bread has nice chewy crust with soft interior and their flavored butter is divine…I don’t go there…They’re all on the “Verboten” list. “Know your enemy.”
  6. Specify veggies be steam-cooked. Even simple accompaniments in restaurants taste different.  They add something which makes them waaay more flavorful (read that “fattening.”)  When eating out (which we often do,) I specify “steamed, naked veggies.” Remember, when dieting: One item can sabotage a whole day’s work.
  7. If I feel I might cave to temptation, I take a nap.  Dieting is hard work because it occupies my brain a lot of waking hours…I’m either trying hard to avoid a situation or confronting one. “On a diet’s” like being with an abusive mate.  I must be ever-vigilant.
  8. Steam up a whole supply of vegetables and put them in serving size containers, so they’ll be ready. Or have ready supply of cold veggies, like celery to eat, as snack.
  9. I NEVER give people praise for not-needing-to-diet. For instance, my husband is the same weight he was when he was in his 20’s; he loves jogging (he gets that runner’s rush); he has no food addictions.  He can’t take credit for being trim because he needn’t work at it. For instance, in the summer, when he’s doing yard work, I have to make him take a lunch break. By contrast, I’m always mentally planning my next repast and my day revolves around these. Bottom line?  I don’t give him undeserved praise, just like I don’t beat myself up for gaining…End of story.
  10.  If I’m really starving, I eat a piece of fruit…I’ve rediscovered pink grapefruit (yeah, I know it’s a problem for some on certain meds.) If I cut it into little wedges, it’s even better. I won’t go near cheese and crackers and won’t even bring home Cabot’s extra-sharp cheddar cheese (which I love.)  It’s one more of my Forbidden Foods (this past summer a friend reintroduced me to Triscuits topped off with cheddar cheese, and I fell back in love with something I’d forgotten.  Here’s the problem:  Even the “reduced-fat” variety isn’t, if I eat 50 of them.) I steer clear of potential new food loves.
  11. I stock my freezer with Hungryman meals for husband while I stack Lean Cuisine for me (I know why they’re ‘lean;’ there’s a thimble-full of food in these.)  I figure he can eat these less-than-exciting meals, for me, while I try mightily to winnow myself down.
  12. I kick up the exercise regimen. I fast-walked for 45 years; it’s just that I haven’t gone as far or as often as I used to. I got lazy with advanced age. Then, too, I picked up some bad eating habits.  Now, I need to re-tool my engines and get back to a more acceptable weight.
  13. Compliment myself often, as I count off another day of success:  Like the TV ad where the young woman manages to fight off a cignarette temptation (seeing a fellow driver aside her, light up), I believe each day of success in self-discipline is a cause for personal celebration.
  14. Oh, did I say: “I don’t drink alcohol?” (haven’t in more than a decade) I know if did, I could throw out the other 12 rules…Instead, I drink a perfectly-fine, creatively-healthy substitute (and I think I’ve gotten half the state drinking it)—tall glass of 1/3rd. cranberry juice, 2/3rds. Sparkling water, with a wedge of lime

***And yes, former student and FB pal, Elisabeth Ferrara King, I appreciate your invite of me to drop in on one of your Zumba classes, in Westerly…I’ll do it, too…. as soon as I lose significant weight…And BTW, I have lost lbs., so my regimen is working. I’ll post pix as soon as I’m confident enough but as in other things in my life, for now, it’s  “One day at a time.”

Now, here’s a run-down on all diets (Jenny Craig, Wait Watchers, etc.)

And here’s one for those of you who are detail-oriented, spreadsheet types

What’s your diet?  How do you succeed? Tell us, too, how to avoid the hurdles…

Here’s a great article that warns about how veggies are often doctored to be “fat,” and how to avoid pitfalls in general…

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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