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Monday, October 25, 2004

Plan 'B'

OK people... I tried.

A few days ago I revealed my deepest darkest secret. Sure, I hid it among a bunch of other stuff, but I basically stood up in front of everyone I even remotely know and said:

"Hi, I'm David... and I'm overweight."

I'm a little fuzzy on how these meetings are supposed to work, but aren't you all supposed to say (in unison):

"Hi David!"

Isn't that the clarion call indicating that the healing can officially begin?

I gently indicated that if anyone wanted to join me in my diet... to become a 'diet buddy'... I would welcome the company (isn't that, in fact, what misery loves?).

Well, one of two things is likely behind the resounding silence with which my cry for help was met:

1. You are so exceedingly buff that you regard fatties like me with a kind of polite pity ("Shhh...now sweety, don't stare or point at the nice man ... he can't help the way he looks.").


2. You too are 'husky' but can't go on a diet right now because you are loathe to start a diet/exercise regimen without first consulting with your doctor (and he's on vacation).

I can take a hint, people... it's OK. You see, I have a plan... Plan 'B' as it turns out.

Plan 'B' comes back to the guiding principal behind everything from successful step programs to good government:


Alcoholics and drug addicts don't reveal their problems to everyone they know (not to mention rooms full of strangers) as part of some elaborate self-flagellation! No, my understanding is that they do this to acknowledge the problem, allowing everyone to see where the potential problems lay, and to make sure problematic behavior can't be obscured from view.

We don't elect public officials in the expectations that they will turn out to be crooks, but we demand a great deal of transparency in all their dealings because experience has shown us that opacity tends to encourage otherwise good people to put their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.

Dieting is no different.

My exhaustive research has revealed that there are roughly twice the number of diets as there are human beings in the world. And, every single one of those diets could potentially be successful. So why don't all the people on diets lose weight (and keep it off)?

The answer: A profound lack of transparency

So what exactly does that word, 'transparency' mean?

The dry definition is:

Evolving global standard... requiring open processes according to general rules subject to monitoring; regarded as basis of accountability, diminishing corruption.*

But the key words are 'open', 'monitoring', and 'accountability'

We can all make deals with ourselves... with our spouses... with our friends. We do our exercises and stick to our diets when everyone is watching... But somehow when the [chocolate] chips are down, 2:00AM finds us awash in the harsh light of the freezer, eating Ben & Jerry's right out of the carton with an oversized soup spoon!

Drug and alcohol programs are built around trust... but they also incorporate testing and progress reports to ensure complete transparency.

I have decided that the only way to ensure I stick to my diet and exercise plan is to adapt a completely transparent approach. To do this I'll be placing the only statistics that matter at the end of every post. Don't worry... I'm not turning treppenwitz into a diet blog. If the info in the little box doesn't interest you, don't look. But this way, it won't matter what 'deals' I make regarding diet and exercise... the only important information will be in plain sight for all to see.

Wish me luck... from now on, Plan 'B' boils down to the info in this little box.


* The Globalization Glossary

Posted by David Bogner on October 25, 2004 | Permalink


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I personally don't talk about what I'm eating to anyone that isn't likely to feed me.

That said, I've lost eight and a half pounds on WW's "Core" program, but it's all health food, which definitely isn't everyone's thing. And I recommend the forums at 3fc for moral support. I don't think I've ever seen a man there, so you'll either being a total pariah or very popular.

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 25, 2004 6:05:35 PM

Good luck, and godspeed, David!

I'm also embarking on an endeavor to lose just 10 pounds.

*Just ten pounds* ... what could be easier?

Well, for starters, it would be far easier to GAIN 10 pounds. It would also be easier to sell flood insurance to a Bedouin.

Posted by: Jim | Oct 25, 2004 6:23:05 PM

I love this.
I can also tell you (and Jim) its the last 10 ..or 5 pounds that are the hardest.
A few years ago I lost 40 pounds. I did it the old fashioned way..I starved. Hey, it worked in high school. No really - dieting is all math. Its all calories in and calories burned. That said. I have kept the weight off (except for that last 5!!!) because I have CHANGED by lifestyle. My eating habits are completly different and will always be.
Good luck David.
(oh..and i am currently trying (again) to get the last 5 off)

Posted by: lisa | Oct 25, 2004 7:41:47 PM

I'll eat for all of you. Good luck with the diets and know that there are people like me who will eat those offensive cookies, cakes and donuts to keep you safe. ;)

Posted by: Jack | Oct 25, 2004 7:59:25 PM

Within the last few years watching my weight, I have gone from from 236 to 183. Dieting is not just a change of eating habits, it is a change in how you think about food. I have found that to be successful, you have to couple a moderation in food intake with exercise (I run 3 times a week). Additionally, although some may accuse me of overdoing it, I think it is a good practice to weigh yourself every morning before getting in the shower. This practice really keeps one in check. I hope this helps. Good luck!!

Finally, here is a quote from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov on the subject, "When a person manages to break his desire for food, G-d works miracles through him."

Posted by: A Simple Jew | Oct 25, 2004 8:52:36 PM

Tanya... no, health food and I would probably not be a recipe for success. Thanks for the link, though... I'm probably going to be about as popular as a bratty little brother at your slumber party. :-)

Jim... Thanks. Actually, I'm not too worried about taking off the weight. It's more the backsliding once it is off. Plan 'B' will (hopefully) keep me honest going forward.

Lisa... You're forgetting that I've spent time with you. If you have an extra 5 pounds, you were doing a remarkable job of keeping it out of sight!

Jack... Way to take one for the team!

ASJ... Kol HaKavod (good for you!). Thanks for the advice, and I agree about the need for an entirely new approach to food. Luckily the diet I have chosen allows me to have many of the foods I enjoy.

Posted by: David | Oct 25, 2004 9:32:45 PM


To tell you the truth, after your post on "the diet" I looked up your photo and decided you didn't look all that overweight. Not so much that you would need all that much support, anyway. Now, looking at your statistics, OMG, what have you been waiting for!?!

How's that for a motivator? OK, Maybe I am kidding. But since you have obviously made the decision, it won't be fun, but you will do fine.

I lost 25 lbs the year before I made aliyah. (And I am only 5'3") 2 things kept me going - not eating any carbs, not one carb, before dinner time - then only an hour's worth- and weighing myself every single morning before the shower.

I have kept it off for more than a year now. I still weigh myself every single morning and if I am even one lb over I cut back to no carbs until dinner again until the lb is gone. I know if I start adding a little every week I will never have the strength to lose it again.

You will post a new photo once you get to your goal??

Best of luck! Carol

Posted by: carol | Oct 25, 2004 10:24:07 PM

0200? That's no fun...
I'm of no help at all, I guess. I am loosing weight thanks to bad nerves condition. Nerves <-> stomach....
But from former experience, I have learned that we often fail because we're too nice to stick to our eating principles. A family around the table for meals is nice, but we must learn that the same food may not be good for all at the table. And as for me, I found that I have been raised to always be nice and eat what's offered to me [unless it's totally unacceptable].

So, if crossing my fingers helps a bit, here go mine!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Oct 25, 2004 10:30:10 PM

OK you have put yourself out there. You have made yourself vulnerable. Now we get to stand behind you on the scale and raise our eyebrows as the pounds fall off. Get lots of exercise and stay away from the coffee and soda! Dont even think about buying Ben and Jerrys next time your at the market. If only I could practice what I preach as my own love handles expand. I wish you the best in this diet my friend.

Posted by: Jason | Oct 26, 2004 8:29:44 AM

Carol... Yes, the photos of me over there on the right are pretty good indicators of where I am, weight-wise. Being 6'2" (OK, I've settled a bit over the years, so I'm probably more like 6'1" now), I have been able to carry all that extra bulk around because there is a much bigger playing field on which to distribute it. Now, as you suggested, comes the hard part.

Like you, I have chosen to go the low carb route... not because Weight Watchers or any other diet is not good... but because I know my problems can be attributed exclusively to my love / hate relationship with carbs.

And, yes, I will post a picture when I get closer to my goal.

Mademoiselle a. Are you kidding me? 2:00AM is the hour at which all the junk food in the house is magically given the power of speech... and it uses these evil powers to call me out of bed and into their waiting arms.

As to the whole, 'being nice' issue... no worries. I've already read my family the riot act. They are not to expect me to eat all the things they are eating. I'm on my own.

Jason... Are you saying you can get Ben & Jerry's over there in Iraq? I thought you guys had it tough over there, but now I may have to rethink that opinion! :-)

Seriously, thanks for the encouragement... and, stay safe.

Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2004 8:51:26 AM

Dear David,
I really admire you. I never tell people what I am eating. Usually chocolate beats vegetables - unfortunately.
Maybe I should make transparent the things I am eating. Maybe it would help to live healthier...
Good luck, I will control your weight at least every second day.

Posted by: Sandra | Oct 26, 2004 12:11:54 PM


You should know that last night I did battle with many carbs and as promised here, I consumed them so that they would not reach out to others and ensnare them in their wicked grasp. Boy, that was a long sentence.

It was a long and protracted fight and because my body cannot recuperate as fast as it used to this evening I will spend two hours on the basketball court making amends for my "wicked" ways.

But the good news is that you and others will not have to worry about this particular set of "carb bullies" as I have handled them.

I wish you continued success.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 26, 2004 4:43:18 PM

Hi David,

Hang in there. You are already off to a good start for the sole reason that you are in the right mindset. You have decided to lose the weight and that is a huge first step.

I just lost 57 pounds. 52 was baby weight and I took off another 5 just for good measure -- to be back where I was in high school. (I am 36 now).

Here is what worked for me. Don't think about the total weight you need to lose. Just take it pound-by-pound. Weigh yourself every morning. I looked at each single pound I dropped as a huge victory. And before I knew it, a few pounds would become 10 and then 10 would become 20, etc. It added up and soon the end goal weight wasn't far off.

And if you do need to eat a sweet, then allow yourself to. But only eat a little. For example, one day I would take a bite out of a donut and throw out the rest. Moderation is the key.

My weakness is Coke. I cannot stand Splenda or any of the other "sugar substitutes" in diet sodas. And I knew there was no way I could give up my one can of coke per day. So instead, I started buying the short little 8 oz cans instead of the 12 oz. and I still lost the weight drinking one of those per day.

So anyway, let me say mazel tov on the pound you've lost. You are off to a great start!

Posted by: Stacey | Oct 26, 2004 5:21:58 PM

Sandra... I have to ask, so please don't think I'm making fun:

What did you mean by "Good luck, I will control your weight at least every second day."? I've tried searching the online German dictionaries for different meanings for translations of 'control', but I'm still picturing you somehow doing some long-distance mind trick to reduce my weight! :-)

Jack... You seem like such a nice guy. I'd hate to have to cash in my frequent flier miles and come out there and kill you. Didn't anyone ever tell you not to 'talk' with your mouth full? :-)

Stacy... you're my hero! Not because of the weight loss, but because you gave birth to a 52lb baby! That has to be some kind of record, no? :-)

In all seriousness... I'm going to weigh myself every morning. Otherwise I won't feel in control.

Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2004 10:21:09 PM

Maybe it is just because I was a kid, and I did not care, but I do not remember you being overweight. In any case, I am embarking on an entire lifestyle change thing, stopping things that are bad for me, and starting to do things that are good for me. If you need any moral support or just someone to nag at when the krembo are calling, feel free!

Posted by: Faye | Oct 26, 2004 11:11:33 PM

I've been on every diet and I've lost weight and then I gain it all back. And I've finally come to the conclusion that I have to be ready to lose weight. I have to be unhappy enough with the way I look and feel (and the way my husband feels when he looks at me!) to lose weight and keep it off. My husband has promised me a Chanel suit and even that hasn't done the trick.

I wish you lots of luck and maybe by watching your progress, I'll feel inspired also.

Posted by: Yetta | Oct 26, 2004 11:37:40 PM

Jack... You seem like such a nice guy. I'd hate to have to cash in my frequent flier miles and come out there and kill you.


After you go to the bris for the 52 pound baby you are welcome to come looking for me. I am just as big and far meaner than you are.

I look forward to defending myself by flinging donuts, slices of chocolate cake and buckets of ice cream at you.

And if that doesn't work, consider this an invitation to wrestle in the marshmallow pit. ;) Wow, you didn't expect that out of your blog, did you.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 26, 2004 11:40:35 PM

Good luck, David. It's no small task you are taking on yourself. With such a weighty issue at hand, you'll be super motivated to drop those extra pounds. (All the bad puns were...bad, but heartfelt.)

Please remember one thing, OK maybe two or three things: Everything in moderation (only one regular spoonful of B&J in a 24 hour period-even at 2am). Dieting to lose the weight is only the first part. You also have to relearn how to eat. (It's those bad eating habits you insist on keeping now that you've made aliyah that have you in their grip!) And remember, no mega-noshing with the troops!

Posted by: jennifer | Oct 27, 2004 12:43:39 AM

Faye... You aren't mistaken. I was a lot thinner back then. To give you a point of reference, I was approximately the same height as I am now (6'2") when I got out of the Navy. I weighed 165lbs! Big difference.

Yetta... I've been a cautionary tale for so many people in my life, it would be a pleasure to provide someone with inspiration once in awhile. :-)

Jack... just great! Now anyone searching the web for 'marshmallow wrestling' will end up here! And don't think there aren't people out there right now looking up this very kind of thing!!!

Jennifer... Ouch! Very punny!

I've actually taken all this weight off once before, so I'm doubly angry with myself for slipping back into bad eating habits. Your point about relearning to eat is right on target.

Posted by: David | Oct 27, 2004 8:39:24 AM

Jack... just great! Now anyone searching the web for 'marshmallow wrestling'


I hadn't thought of that, but I was curious so I "Googled" it and found this link:


I am at my office so I don't dare even look at it, but because you brought this up and a I curious lad let's try something.

"Come to Treppenwitz and watch the marshmallow wrestling in the renowned pit of goo."

And now we wait to if Google picks it up. ;)

Keep up the good work and stay disciplined, it is a tough but worthwhile task you have taken on.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 27, 2004 5:14:29 PM

This is my first time posting a comment here. Been reading for a few weeks. Nice blog, David.

I use an excel spreadsheet to record my weight every morning. After a while you can make a graph to show your progress. Its a nice reward to see that downward slope. Sometimes I print up the graph and stick it on the fridge door.

I lost about 8 kg over a period of about 4 months. Then I gained back about 4. But I'm seeing progress fighting this trend.

The trick is to have a diet that's not too strict. Otherwise you won't be able to keep it.

Posted by: Andy | Oct 27, 2004 9:30:10 PM

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