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More Than One Way to Skin a Cat?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spoke to my brother on the phone yesterday -- for the first time in a few weeks. He's 5 1/2 years my junior, 3 1/2 inches shorter (before my recent shrinkage), more muscle per inch and less overweight than I was. (He also suffers, or has suffered from most of the physical maladies I have, including torn rotator cuff, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis, and blood clotting factors).

About a year ago, he got interested in my weight loss, and began a program of his own. He's lost, at last count, about 70 pounds. He used Jenny Craig, as he has done in the past. When I mentioned to him why I don't like plans like Jenny Craig, namely, that they don't foster the right habits, and require you to deal with your natural social/food environment, he said something interesting, that I had not heard, before.

'I eat at least half my meals off plan.' JC, is just to provide me with "fast food", when I don't have the time to deal with food prep and measurement. That was something he told me months, ago.

Yesterday, he mentioned that he's been going to Overeaters, Anonymous (OEA) meetings. He told me that one of the things they do at the meetings is discuss the issues that lead each to overeat. He said that some of the background stories are truly most moving and sorrowful. When, it came his turn to give his background, he replied (in his inimitable fashion) "I'm just a big fat guy that eats too much." Everyone, of course, laughed.

My brother's educational/career background is very different from mine. He was never into science or technology. In one form, or another, he's always been a trader. Before he began his Internet businesses, he sold his financial assets trading company to Ameritrade. One thing, however, has always distinguished his approaches to trading and business. He's very empirically oriented. He understands the value of observation, measurement, and data tracking. In the case of calories, he knows that someone has to measure the amounts and kinds of food in order to measure the implicit calories. If he's not going to measure them himself, he's going to pay someone to measure them for him. One way or another, they have to be measured.

WRT OEA, he also knows that motivation and tracking are not the only issues, habit plays a (THE!) major role. OEA is one way that he's dealing with habits.

While there may be more than one way, the cat still needs to be skinned. The three factors remain:

* Habit
* Measurement & Tracking
* Motivation

If you take care of the first two, the third takes care of itself. If you focus only on the third, the usual result is stagnation.

Lee emoticon
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