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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Process of Elimination™ Diet Plan (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, July 13, 2018


If you are like me, you love your food. But for indulgent diners, maintaining your fighting weight becomes a never-ending battle.

You like to eat, you eat well and you think you’re making good choices. And you work out, but the pounds continue creeping onto your waistline. What’s a Guy’s Guy or a Gal’s Gal supposed to do to stay trim in the face of our questionable food supply and the plethora of tasty, global cuisines invading our shores?

Anthony Bourdain may be gone, but his legacy of introducing Americans to the delights of world food and cultures lives on. With the sampling of new foods comes new cravings and opportunities to pack on pounds. Is it possible to enjoy life and eat well without ballooning into a Thanksgiving Day float when cruising along Central Park West? I’ve put this notion to the test and the answer is a resounding yes. But it requires some circumspection as to what enjoying life means to you and how you can find bliss without succumbing to the daily food cravings that flood our consciousness.

After achieving short-term successes with a myriad of yo-yo diets, and giving up meat a decade ago, I noticed I was still packing on the pounds. Even after factoring my dedication to fitness and all those long runs and hours on the elliptical trainer, when I stepped on the scales last December I saw an unfamiliar number of pounds and told myself enough was enough. Even with what I considered a reasonably healthy diet combined with hours of cardio, I kept gaining weight. Maybe you’ve been there, too. For a 5’10 Boomer, any weight under two hundred is not considered all that bad. But, I’m a Guy’s Guy. And as the person who began this movement¾where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins, “not bad” simply was not good enough.

I decided to develop a program, determined to create a fresh new diet regime that did not require purchasing prepared special meals, fasting, or monthly cleanses.

I knew that another short-term diet plan could only yield short-term results. And I know that the older you get the more challenging it is to peel off those pounds. That meant my program needed to deliver long-terms results that enhanced wellness and potentially inspired permanent lifestyle changes and resulting food choices. In other words, I wanted to build a diet plan that functioned as a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to help men and women be at their best and win, Guy’s Guy style. After a few weeks of mulling this around, I had an epiphany. 

Eating, and eating well comes down to making choices.

At every meal you choose to consume this or that¾ the tuna or the lamb chops, the beer or the club soda, the bacon cheeseburger or the salad. Over time, the results of those choices¾the bad and good, come to fruition. I asked myself, “what if, a little at a time, I eliminated all my bad choices, or at least as many as possible while still enjoying what I was eating?” What if I eliminated one bad choice per week? Heck, over the course of a year, I could slowly but steadily delete more than fifty bad choices. Spreading out the program across a year would avoid the shock to the system of the familiar short-term diet “fixes” that produced short-term results through pain instead of persistence. I had an idea to potentially achieve significant long-term, life-changing results while allowing my body to slowly and steadily adjust to the changes from making better choices.

I call it The Guys’ Guy’s Process of Elimination Diet Plan. I’ve been doing it since the first week of January 2018. More about that later, but first; here’s how it works. Over the course of the year, you eliminate foods from your diet that you know are not good for you. The POE program has two levels¾monthly and advanced. Let’s begin with the monthly, which is doable for anyone with a little willpower and drive.

Add one new food to cut out from your diet every month.

For example, in January you give up ice cream. That means no ice cream for the entire year. Maybe that isn’t so easy, but you want long-term results. In February, you give up something else for the entire year. Let’s say, bacon. You can’t eat ice cream or bacon for the remainder of the year. When March rolls around you’ll need to choose something else, and so on. By the end of the year you will have given up a dirty dozen of foods you know intuitively are not good for you, your waistline and your health. You make the choices you need to make that are right for you. If you give up something like chewing gum, you’re only kidding yourself. You need to commit yourself emotionally and make those tough choices. That’s it.

I believed that over time, the process of eliminating a different “bad” food from your menu of choices would yield positive results beyond shedding a few pounds.

If you eliminate fattening, processed foods with empty calories and little nutrition you will lose weight. But more importantly, over the long haul, I believed that your slimmer body and positive self-image would also reduce its cravings for the non-healthy foods that caused both physical and emotional distress. You will feel and look better. My theory was that the end of twelve months you probably would not be as interested in digging into a bowl of chocolate swirl ice cream. At least that’s the theory.

To provide empirical evidence for my hypothesis, someone had to put this to test. That's where I came in. However, I wanted to raise the stakes—it needed to be done on a weekly basis. To prove my theory, I needed to complete the advanced program that entailed giving something new up every week of the year. By the end of those fifty-two long weeks, I will have given up fifty-two foods I crave, but know are probably not good for me. This could be a monumental challenge. I didn’t know, but I was determined to find out.

I’m past the halfway mark approaching twenty-eight weeks. And I can honestly report that the program is working exactly as I planned. I’ve lost weight through eliminating twenty-eight foods from my diet, and in almost every case, I have fewer cravings, and if things keeping going well, I am not planning on eating them again, or at least not with the same frequency, zeal and passion as in the past.

On January 1st I weighed 196 pounds. As mentioned, I work out regularly, so there has been no change in that area. I will continue to work out because it’s something I enjoy and believe will enhance the results of the program exponentially mostly because I have more energy and am slowly, but steadily shedding weight.

I started my weekly “advanced” POE diet program by eliminating alcohol on week one. Yikes! This was a tough decision, but I mentally braced myself for this sacrifice during the last weeks of December. As a result, I did consumed a bit of tequila and sparkling wine during those final days of 2017. There is no magic to starting the program at the beginning of the year, beyond it being a twelve-month commitment. Like all New Year’s resolutions, you start at the beginning, although most resolutions are left in the dust after a month or two.

And so it began. Let’s take a break here. I will continue next time with a list of the foods I’ve given up and the results of following the POE program to date. I’ll give you one hint. It’s been wild and worth it. Until next time, amigos…

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