Diet Like You Mean It – Interview
RW: Why did you decide to create “Diet Like You Mean It”?
EM: I’ve worked as a therapist and a coach for thirty years and the folks I see are often burdened by weight challenges in addition to all the other challenge they face. I wanted to create a program that was practical in nature, offering simple, smart ideas about eating habits and the psychology of eating, but that did something else as well, that connected weight loss to fundamental ideas about our life purpose choices and our meaning needs. Losing weight and keeping it off are hard propositions when the motivation isn’t there and I wanted to provide some useful guidance about how to generate real and sufficient motivation to make dieting work.
RW: How is this diet special?
EM: Most folks have never stopped to identify their life purposes and therefore aren’t really living their life purposes in a daily way. Indeed, the very idea of multiple life purposes, rather than the more common idea of “a life purpose,” may be a new idea for some. It’s a very important idea, however, because it means that we can hold as “very important” different aspects of life—our relationships, service, creativity, activism, careers, and so on, but also our efforts like weight loss, exercise, healthy eating, and similar life purpose choices. By putting weight loss in the context of a life lived intentionally, there is much greater motivation to actually keep to one’s weight loss intentions. This diet isn’t about calorie counting, it’s about the bedrock motivation that makes it possible to lose weight and keep it off.
RW: Is it an easy diet to follow?
EM: It’s super-easy because there’s nothing to follow. When you make meaning and live your life purposes there’s no laundry list of do’s and don’ts to follow but rather your daily intention to live your life in ways that make you proud. One day that might mean a lovely dinner out with your mate, celebrating your relationship, the next day that might mean a very quiet eating day as you attend to and keep busy with your other life purpose choices, the day after it might mean a bit of treat and a bit of a celebration because you lived your life that day in a brilliantly intentional way. Yes, you must make daily decisions about eating; but there are no hard or hard-and-fast rules to follow.
RW: Is this diet safe for everyone?
EM: Certainly, because it takes no position on what you ought to be eating and makes no demands, extreme or otherwise. Rather, it helps you find the motivation to lose weight and keep motivated over the long haul. There are zero commands like “eat only grapefruits” or “eat like a caveman.” What you eat is up to you, as is how much you eat, when you eat, where you eat, and all other details. Indeed, part of the power of this program is providing you with the meaning opportunity to create eating habits that are both exactly right for you and most meaningful to you.
RW: Have you ever struggled with weight issues?
EM: I have indeed. I was a heavy child and I carried thirty extra pounds even in the Army through basic training and advanced infantry training. I carried it well but I definitely carried it. I’m not sure that using oneself as an example is a great policy, but I’ve lost 30+ pounds in the last year using the principles and practices in the program, going from 180 pounds to 148 pounds today. So that’s probably a bit of an endorsement of the program <smile>.
RW: What was the biggest surprise you experienced in creating this program?
EM: That people got so much out of it. Hundreds of study subjects volunteered to try out the principles and practices of the program. It was startling to see how big a difference it made to them to begin putting their weight loss efforts into the bigger context of their meaning needs and their life purpose choices. Folks are hungry to have weight loss be about more than calorie-counting, discipline and deprivation. They want it to matter differently in their lives—and Diet Like You Mean It! helps them make the shift from the drudgery of dieting to the excitement of personal meaning-making.