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How Do You Eat an Elephant?

How do you EAT an elephant?

Hi, I’m Dr. Craig Primack from Scottsdale Weight Loss Center. Today, I’m going to bring you a new Medical Minute that the topic is, how do I lose weight? I’m going to start by talking about an old saying. And the old saying is,

“How do you eat an elephant?”

If you’ve never heard this before, there’s a simple answer. There’s only one of them.

It’s one bite at a time.

And the answer to how do I lose weight is the same thing.

It’s one pound at a time.

Many people. When they come in to see us or see me in the clinic at the beginning of their weight loss journey, they may have 20 pounds or 30 pounds, 50 pounds, even 100 or more pounds to lose. They say, “I want to be 70 pounds down,” and they give me a date, which is great.

But the real answer is, you need to lose a pound first, and then you need to lose another pound, and another pound, and another pound.

Now, I don’t ask most people to check the scale too frequently. So you may not see when you lose a week of four or five pounds. You may not see each pound come off, but each pound does come off one after another.

Half Marathons

I have been a runner most of my life. Half marathons. I’ve probably done “many” of them.

Well, first of all, you don’t run half marathons truly to lose weight. You do it because you feel good. You do it because it does help a little bit in the weight loss process, but it is a lot of exercise. But when you run a half marathon, 13.1 miles, you don’t all of a sudden go out and say, “Go,” and then you run 13.1 miles and you say, “I’m done.” You run a mile. It’s like, “Ooh. One down. I’m going to run another mile.” You run another mile. When you get to three mile and you say, “Hm, I’m about a quarter of the way done.”

When you get the six miles, you go to yourself. “Ooh. I’m about halfway done.” When you get to 10 miles, you say to yourself, “Okay, I only have a 5K. I only have three more miles to go.” And when you’re at 12.1, you say to yourself, “I have one more mile to go. You don’t run it all at once. You run in multiple little chunks.

In dieting, I like to call these pounds bite-sized pieces. One bite size piece at a time. So the summary to today is very simple, figure out how to lose one pound. Some kind of small dietary change, maybe a little more exercise, maybe cutting out the dessert, maybe taking a medicine, maybe getting a little more sleep. What are those things for you that’s going to help you lose one pound? When you lose one pound, do it again, and do it again, and do it again, and so forth.

A Sustainable Plan

If you started out with techniques or things that you’re doing in your diet, that you can’t be doing in three days, that you can’t be doing in a month, that you can’t be doing in two or three months. Now, longer than that, we will probably course correct along the way. We will modify your plan as needed. We will take medicines that you weren’t taking. Maybe put them in. We’ll add foods that we really restricted in the beginning and bring some of them in if we can do them controlled and safely.

But the big piece is, pick the diet plan that works for you. Lose a pound and then do it again, and do it again. And so, at the end of the day, bite sized pieces for weight loss.

Lose a pound and then more,

Remember how you eat an elephant…

and chew that elephant just one bite at a time.

Thanks. I’ll see you next week.


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