There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world of small business right now: the new tax law, changes in the way web-based businesses are regulated, Amazon taking over the world.
But let’s be honest. Right now, all anyone is thinking about is losing weight — the No. 1 New Year’s resolution of all time.
Just as there is no shortage of small business advice, there is no shortage of advice on how to lose weight. But losing weight is simple. A former internist of mine once summarized the weight-loss process in two words: “eat less.”
In a 1963 animated cartoon based on the Beetle Bailey comic strip (youtube.com/watch?v=w5H7YFvEXNA), perpetually overweight Sgt. Snorkel buys a diet book that has three simple rules:
Rule 1: Don’t eat.
Rule 2: Don’t eat.
Rule 3: When not eating … don’t eat.
OK, but while losing weight is simple (to understand), it is not at all easy (to do). For any diet to succeed, two things are required:
Self-discipline: Whatever program you’re on, you have to stick to it, and for long periods of time without holidays or cheating. U.S. Marines and Buddhist monks have no trouble with diets.
Saying no to nice people: As in so many areas of life, the people who stand between you and success are the people who love you, the people whose judgment you care about, the people who congratulate you on your New Year’s weight-loss resolution but then suggest you order out for pizza. If you are serious about losing weight, accept that you are going to be a miserable, nasty killjoy for a while, and you may lose some friends and loved ones along with the excess tonnage. Most of us can’t do it.
(When faced with well-meaning people who tempted him to go off his many diets, my late father had a perfect strategy: He would put on a sad-clown face, look the person straight in the eye and say, “The people who love me are trying to kill me.” Most folks got the message, not wanting to be branded a murderer.)
What people need are diet plans that really work and don’t require either discipline or saying no to loved ones.
Here are three weight-loss plans that have been tested in the real world and actually work.
The “No Smell, No Taste” Diet. In early 2017, I came down with some sort of bronchial-asthma-sinus congestion nastiness that lasted for several weeks. My internist, the ear, nose and throat specialist I was referred to and I never figured out exactly what it was, but among other things it knocked out my senses of smell and taste for over a month.
It wasn’t fun, but in that time I lost almost 30 pounds without even trying. No kidding.
Let me tell you something: When you can’t taste what you eat, you stop caring about food — completely.
You don’t even think about the wonderful, expensive high-carb stuff in your refrigerator, or the amazing wines and liquors in your cellar, because what’s the use if you can’t taste them? You focus instead on simple dishes that don’t have much taste to them anyway — mine was bread with a dab of peanut butter — because that way you know you’re not missing much.
You cancel dinner dates, because you really don’t feel like company when your sinuses are plugged. You start forgetting mealtimes and actually have to remind yourself to eat regularly to keep up your strength.
For people who lack self-discipline, the “no smell, no taste” diet works like a charm.
Don’t want to give yourself the disease I had? Simple: Get a friend or loved one to smack you in the nose with a baseball bat (for those who may need help with their technique, watch Robert de Niro’s 1993 movie “A Bronx Tale”). That should do it. At the end of five weeks, repeat as necessary.
The Root Canal Diet. A friend of mine needed an emergency root canal the day before Thanksgiving last year. She didn’t take the antibiotics her dental surgeon recommended, and her gums became infected. She was in such pain she didn’t care about food and lost 10 pounds — (SET ITAL) during thanksgiving week (END ITAL)!
Don’t need a root canal? Have one done anyway, preferably without anesthesia. Hey, they’re all going to rot eventually anyway, right? Consider it preventive medicine.
The 1,000-Calorie Diet. Unlike the previous two plans, this one needs a little discipline. Eat less than 1,000 calories a day — just about what your cat consumes — for six months. The first two to three weeks your weight will drop like a stone. Then you will hit a plateau, where your weight will remain stable while your body adjusts to your regimen. After that, you will lose two to three pounds a week like clockwork until you reach your goal.
Trust me, it works. Just have a chew toy ready when you smell food. And try not to gnaw on the office furniture.
Cliff Ennico (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series “Money Hunt.” This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.