The Gladwyne Diet

I’ve been working on the project of losing my baby weight for 3 months now. In doing so, I’ve discovered a radically simple and effective way to lose weight that I promise will work for you too!

1. I eat less than I want to eat
2. I exercise more than I want to exercise

As result of these revolutionary, breakthrough secrets, I have lost 10 lbs in 3 months, which comes out to 0.75 lb per week.

Boy do I wish there were a faster and more pleasant way. I see why people spend money on books about crash/fad diets. I see why people claim that “diets don’t work.” They do work, they just suck so much that most people won’t keep grinding along, suffering unpleasantness just to measure progress in ounces.

When I read the book Willpower, about the science of self-discipline, a few months ago, I noted that the authors claimed that weight loss is a much harder category to exercise self-discipline in than other things. After all, look at someone like Oprah Winfrey. She’s had the incredible personal strength to rise from an impoverished childhood in segregated Mississippi to billionaire status. And yet she struggles with her weight. That does not bode well for the rest of us. Indeed, while people can develop a great deal of discipline about exercise, exercise alone is often insufficient for weight loss. Weight loss requires eating less than we want, which requires hunger. And the body reacts to hunger as the existential threat it is. Hunger feels bad, physically and psychologically.

About three months ago, when I noticed that my initial fast postpartum weight loss had stalled at a point 17 lbs north of where I wanted to be, I realized I was going to have to do something about it. So I decided to stop eating after dinner. I eat my dinner, I can have one small sweet thing (like a cookie) and then I’m done.

Of course, if you eat at 7, and go to bed at 11:30, you are probably hungry by bed time. I know I am. For the first few weeks, this idea of going to bed hungry was really difficult for me. It makes me cranky. I struggle to put my night owl children to bed, dealing with various whining and stalling techniques, or the baby’s cries (she gets to eat after dinner — and often wants to eat a lot before sleeping). So there has definitely been some feeling sorry for myself. It’s not enough that I work hard all day at my job, then care for three small kids, often on my own, nurse the baby when she wants it, fight the bedtime battles and then go back to work once they’re down. I have to be hungry, too?

But once you recognize that a certain action will require a lot of discipline, you can be a bit more detached about it. Yes, I’m hungry. Yes, it’s unpleasant, but I’ve survived unpleasant things before, and I’ll eat again in the morning. It also helps to realize that being hungry is a completely self-imposed situation, and I can change it if I want. I’m not hungry because I’m a subsistence farmer in rural India and my crops didn’t come up. I’m not hungry because it’s the end of the month and my paycheck and/or food stamp allotment is exhausted. I am fortunate enough to have a full bank account and a full pantry. Furthermore, no one who might have an opinion on the matter — not my doctor, not my husband — actually cares if I weigh 7 lbs more than my wedding weight. I’m losing these pounds solely for me. And so goes the Gladwyne diet. It doesn’t have the same glamour as the Scarsdale diet or the South Beach diet but it does, you know, work. One consolation is that over time it gets easier as the habit takes. It also gets easier as I see for certain that the scale has moved. That produces its own motivation which was lacking those first few weeks when 0.75 lbs of weight loss per week looked like nothing at all.

Have you ever successfully lost weight? How?

(photo courtesy flickr user puuikibeach)

18 thoughts on “The Gladwyne Diet

  1. Having a full stomach helped me lose the baby weight. I wasn’t on a schedule, needed to maintain a supply for twins (lots of fluid) and didn’t need to deal with hunger.

    Two tricks that helped me:
    1) chai tea, specifically two bags of Stash double spice in 14 oz hot water, two packets of artificial sweetener and 2 oz of skim milk.
    2) sliced mushrooms (you don’t know me so I can admit I ate the whole package) microwaved for 10 minutes or so in beef broth. Some sliced green onions are great if you have them around.

    Granted, these aren’t ZERO calories, but they are very filling for the calories they contain and include lots of fluid for good milk supply.

    1. @Twin mom- I probably drink more coffee than I should in the AM for precisely this reason. It’s like snacking, but with fluid. I may have to try the beef and mushroom broth idea. Soup in general is good…

  2. This article made me laugh! I love your “radically simple” weight loss tips, and sympathize with the cranky feeling.
    I am a physician, so I probably know enough about how to lose weight, but I still find it hard. And I dislike exercising. I packed on about 5 lbs over Christmas and it looks like they have come to stay.
    My favorite low-cal treat is a dill pickle ( or sometimes 2 or 3, even though they have incredible amts of salt). And they have to be kosher. I am not Jewish but I think the kosher ones taste better.
    It sounds like you are doing everything you can. Good luck!

    1. @Sarah – thanks… yes, I am doing what I can, but it is slow. I see why, psychologically, people like diets that promise quick weight loss at the beginning. Even if it is water weight, you desperately want to see that scale move to be a payoff for feeling lousy.

  3. Thanks for this post! I’ve come to realize that night time eating is probably my main food issue, yours is an inspiring take on how to beat it.

    I don’t mind being hungry that much when awake, the reason I get into trouble is that I am nearly phobic about trying to fall asleep while hungry–somehow I’ve convinced myself that it’s impossible. Did you have that worry at first?

    1. @LGL – Glad you liked the post! I’ve not had trouble falling asleep. I’m pretty much exhausted by the end of the day. So I fall asleep even if I’m slightly hungry (slightly — if one were really ravenous it might be harder. But we are talking four hours without eating, not like 12).

  4. Good luck !
    It is tough work but worth it to achieve a goal. I also think some folks have more food issues than others. Some people emotionally eat or don’t eat when emotional more than others. But everything can be made better with a goal and hard work. Another great way to loose weight is to just not buy the foods that make folks overweight. Seems simple but most people can’t do it b/c we live in a culture of such easy excess when it comes to food. Thanks for the post. Some other great tricks are writing down what you eat, and weighing yourself regularly. I weigh myself once a week at the exact same time of day.

    1. @Cara – good ideas. I weigh myself close to every day as part of tracking my weight loss. And yes, I have found that not having certain foods in the house makes it easier not to eat them. Maybe some day I can have them again, but right now is not the right time.

  5. So simple and effective, if slow. Your post’s common sense attitude is encouraging to me–I’m going to refer back to it when I’m hungry after dinner!! It’s so true that at first it’s hard, but once you get into a routine it gets somewhat easier

    I also drink hot tea at night–something slightly sweet like chai, vanilla chai, peppermint, etc. Since it’s hot, I have to drink it slowly, and the sweetness makes it seem sort of dessert-y.

  6. One thing I learned while living in France is to eat until you are no longer hungry, but no so much that you are full or stuffed. The feeling of not being hungry will occur much before the feeling of being full. If you find that you require additional food later, then it’s okay to have it, so long as you employ the same gauge as to when to stop eating. I lost seven pounds when I was in France (which sounds counterintuitive) and continued to lose about 8-9 more when I returned by keeping up the same eating philosophy. I don’t feel that I have deprived myself at all. Best wishes to you!

  7. When I told my doctor that I lost 70 pounds by eating less and exercising more, he didn’t believe me. When I told that to someone who teaches English in Japan that’s what I did, I also said that it is simple, but not easy. He said he was going to use that as an example to teach the difference between the words ‘simple’ and ‘easy.’

    I do think, for me, it’s less about willpower and more about strategy. I made rules for myself (no eating in the car, no eating anything purchased at a drug store or gas station). I made goals and track them (minutes of exercise each month, eat a salad every day). I plan the food I’m going to eat the night before, but I’m very forgiving of imperfection in following that plan.

    1. @Joy- 70 lbs is amazing. Wow. Yes, there is a big difference between “simple” and “easy.” Eat less, exercise more is simple but sticking with it for a year-plus is hard.

  8. The Gladwyne Diet is the only way to go. Good for you Laura! I also lost 35 pounds following this method although I didn’t have a name for it. I wonder what would happen to the monolithic diet industry if this program became widely known and accepted?

    1. @Beth – oh, people know about eating less and exercising more. It’s just hard to have the patience and no one can make a buck off it!

  9. Laura, many of the points you make here hold true for me, although not about losing weight per se. I just completed a Bikram yoga 30-day challenge. Going into the process knowing that it was going to be one of the toughest things I’ve done in a while made it a lot easier to bear. Ditto for acknowledging that this was something I was doing 100% for me. I think the finite time frame of my challenge also helped, and I’ll bet that this is something that could apply more specifically to weight loss itself. (ie: I will do x unpleasant thing for x period of time). Interestingly, now that my 30 days are done, part of me wants to keep going anyway!! –Why not? I’ve already carved out the space and solidified the habit….

    1. @Susan – good for you for completing your Bikram yoga challenge! Acknowledging ahead of time that something is going to be rotten does make it more bearable. Hunger just has a slightly different feel of unpleasantness vs. things I’d experienced before. I was not particularly happy when my husband came home from a steak dinner he’d had with a client last night and started describing the meal!

  10. Unfortunately I have a big problem with being able to fall asleep when I’m hungry. I will toss and turn for hours and then end up needing to eat something anyway. So I just try to make sure and eat a healthy, small snack before bed that will stick and keep me satisfied. I wish it worked for me to skip it, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *