May 14, 2009

How To Lose Weight, Method #394

P.S. If you can't tell, this has only very little to do with losing weight.

Strategy: after every single meal or snack-- anything at all-- floss and then brush your teeth.  Both.

Why it works:
Self discipline often fails because it is counter to your impulses.  Telling yourself not to eat that snack is pitting what you want now against a different thing you want for incomparable reasons that occurs later on.  Good luck. 

A better strategy is to exert self-discipline over something with no real opposition, a positive action.  It takes much less self-discipline to force yourself to do something you don't want to do (e.g. flossing), then it does to not do something you want.  (Furthermore, flossing and brushing, while not fun, have a reward in their completion.) 

It's 9pm.  You've already flossed and brushed after dinner, and now you see a cookie. You could easily eat that cookie, but... ahh, forget it.

Make it part of your life: after any food, floss and brush.  Make the feeling of unbrushed teeth be unusual, uncomfortable-- not you.

Don't try to stop being something (a snacker); try to start being something else (a person who flosses and brushes a lot.)




Comments

Making all your food from s... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 12:55 PM | Posted by Carol: | Reply

Making all your food from scratch helps too. (I'm on a specific diet for crohns which basically makes eating out impossible.)

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Not a bad idea. Flossing a... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Posted by Health Insurance Guy: | Reply

Not a bad idea. Flossing and brushing are time consuming and a pain. If you know you have to do them, then you might eat less.

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Grats Carol and HIG for com... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 3:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Grats Carol and HIG for completely missing the actual point of the post. =)

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I am wise to your marketing... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 7:24 PM | Posted by Brandon Thomson: | Reply

I am wise to your marketing tricks, Colgate!

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Orthogonal to this post, bu... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 7:35 PM | Posted by Diego Navarro: | Reply

Orthogonal to this post, but related to your general theme of narcissism:

http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/googlife

It's not my blog or anything. I just randomly stumbled on it.

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Good guideline overall. How... (Below threshold)

May 14, 2009 9:02 PM | Posted by Sasha: | Reply

Good guideline overall. However one needs to pick a new self which would in fact be a better self, not a worse one. In this example, brushing your teeth very often might cause more damage to the teeth than being over-weight. Also, frequent meals is something beneficial to weight loss.

In principle, you suggest a good substitution. But the devil is in details.

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When I used to write down a... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 2:42 AM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

When I used to write down all of my calories, anything at all that I put in my mouth, I had to write down and then figure out the caloric break down . . . I ate less, not because I restricted myself, but because I didn't want to write it down!

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I don't get it. ... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 5:40 AM | Posted by Grace: | Reply

I don't get it.

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Neat idea. I love thinking... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 5:41 AM | Posted by JuliePratt: | Reply

Neat idea. I love thinking about the power of the mind with respect to health and weight loss issues. This is a perfect example.

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I recall working wit... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 7:00 AM | Posted by Mark Tyrrell: | Reply


I recall working with a woman who wanted to lose weight. I told her to continue snacking but to not bulk buy her empty carbs. She could only bulk buy food that was part of her 'healthy diet'.

She could have anything she wanted but she'd have to promise to walk to the local store to pick up her snacks one at a time. A couple of times she walked there and actually returned without the fatty snacks.

But mostly she found she couldn't be bothered to go to the store or just didn't have the time. It’s a great psychotherapeutic technique to 'loosen' the problem by altering the pattern rather than going for all out one step change or leaving the person feeling deprived.

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If you brush that often you... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 8:58 AM | Posted by nohope: | Reply

If you brush that often you might make your gums recede or brush the enamel clean off...

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Makes sense. It's a lot eas... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 12:19 PM | Posted by Joseph Bergevin: | Reply

Makes sense. It's a lot easier to avoid caving into something if you've taken action before the situation arises. I'll have to fire the guy I pay to ring me at lunch and tell me I'm a fatty fat loser.

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Brush and floss though I ma... (Below threshold)

May 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Posted by Jennifer Riley: | Reply

Brush and floss though I may, I still eat candy in bed. Clean teeth feel great, but once you're asleep, it doesn't matter...That sounds so much more logical when you have a bag of Nibs in your hand.

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See his recent post on prio... (Below threshold)

May 16, 2009 5:06 PM | Posted by Charlotte: | Reply

See his recent post on prior authorization...

Instead of telling people they can't do A, tell them they can do A but they must also do B, where B is any minor annoying activity. They will do less of A, or fewer of them will do A.

Applies to prior authorization, applications for welfare or other government benefits, etc. Also known as "jumping through hoops". Or covert rationing.

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So you were just wandering ... (Below threshold)

May 17, 2009 8:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Diego Navarro's comment, by Jack: | Reply

So you were just wandering through the Internet and then stumbled over it? You gotta actively LOOK for anything on the internet.

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Ehm, no?I came acr... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack's comment, by ATraveller: | Reply

Ehm, no?

I came across this page originally via my stumble button. It is a feature in firefox and highly addictive one at that. I have 50+ blogs bookmarked, and I came across over half of them via stumble.

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Yes, large organizations of... (Below threshold)

May 19, 2009 8:51 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

Yes, large organizations often use this. The reason for making people get management authorization for doing X is often not that the manager will ever have reason to say no, but that the hassle of asking permission will be so great that people don't bother.

You can have levels of this too, e.g. your own manager can authorize X, but if you want to do Y you need permission from the Vice President (which will be much more hassle).

It works even better in the corporate case than in dieting. In the diet case, I benefit from eating the food but suffer from having to brush my teeth. In the corporate case, I suffer from having to do the paper work to get permission to do X, but if I don't do X (e.g. if I know I can save the company $1000 in travel costs by staying at a budget hotel rather than the company-approved 5-star hotel, but staying at an alternative hotel requires management authorization) the loss is the company's, not mine, so I have little incentive to bother. (Unless my failure to bother to do X is significant enough that it gets reflected in my performance review).

Done right, this can all be OK: the employee, who is in the loop on the details, can make a judgment call on whether it's worth the hassle.

But it can go horribly wrong if the incentives aren't aligned. (e.g. the person who put the policy in place didn't understand that this would cause lots of employees to not do X, and that their failure to do X would cost money. or even worse: the person who put the policy in place did realise it would cost someone money, but it wasn't *their* money).

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So basically, since this po... (Below threshold)

May 25, 2009 11:59 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So basically, since this post distressed at least some of the people reading it, it is a depressant and a drug in need of FDA control? After all, it's the effect, not the mechanism of delivery, right?

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It is not always easy to do... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2009 6:18 PM | Posted by Todd29: | Reply

It is not always easy to do, but eat to live don’t live to eat. Some type of daily regimen is needed by everyone and brushing and flossing after each snack sounds like a good idea; but stop dieting, your body needs nourishment. Diets and diet aids do not help anyone! The only way to successfully lose weight and get the body that you deserve is by using the right information. This information is in the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps which can be ordered through the website www.bbotw.com Everyone who has gotten a copy of this book has lost weight and become healthier.

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I've tried various low-carb... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2010 10:39 PM | Posted by Lucy: | Reply

I've tried various low-carb, low-calorie, and low-fat diets for the past couple of years. Although the Atkins diet is very popular, it made me feel somewhat unhealthy.

The diet plan I'm on right now is the Medifast Diet. The caloric intake is roughly 800-1000 calories. However, it doesn't make my body feel weak. It is a bit of a pricey diet, but there are plenty of coupons available on the internet.http://www.swoopup.com/stores/deals/Medifast-Diet

.You should never pay full price.

My advice is just choose a diet plan which your body reacts positively to. No one knows your body better than you do!

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It's kind of hilarious that... (Below threshold)

February 14, 2010 8:21 AM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

It's kind of hilarious that the diet pimps show up promoting commercial diets (pretending to be satisfied customers) when the content of the blog is about how one eats and thinks about eating. Losing and keeping weight isn't about being a dieter, it's about being someone who eats healthily all the time and engages in physical activity. Pre-packaged diets don't teach anyone how to eat (or cook or shop or live well) and they set up the person for failure because of this.

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A Mitch Hedberg fan, I see.... (Below threshold)

February 11, 2012 7:43 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

A Mitch Hedberg fan, I see...

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Another way to lose weight ... (Below threshold)

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FORSKOLIN is a scientifical... (Below threshold)

September 30, 2014 10:01 AM | Posted by Forskolin Diet: | Reply

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