Better health

Feed by measure and defy the physician.

—John Heywood, Proverbs, 1546

Even if excess weight doesn't shorten your life, you're far more likely to suffer a variety of medical problems that will make the years you live less enjoyable. These range from really big annoyances like heart attacks to lesser maladies such as habitual shortness of breath and muscle aches and pains. A few years ago I went through a couple of weeks where I'd haul a 75 pound computer printer home, use it for a day or so, have it break, haul it to the shop, pick it up, and so on. As I recall, I ended up hauling the sucker back and forth about six times before I finally junked it. Every time I wrestled that beast into the car and out again, I woke up the next day with my muscles screaming for mercy. And yet for years, I walked around with the equivalent of that printer strapped around my middle, day in and day out. No wonder I felt awful! You can get accustomed to almost anything. If you've been overweight for a long time, it's hard to know what it's costing you not just in terms of potential health problems down the road, but in how you feel every day. The only way to find out how great you'll feel without the excess ballast is to see the diet through and experience its happy conclusion for yourself.

If a bad day comes a month or two into the diet, think back to the beginning. Think beyond the hunger to how you feel physically and what you've accomplished so far. And remember that your present situation pales before how much you'll enjoy finally achieving the goal.

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