Read an Excerpt
A BALANCED DIET (THAT INCLUDES FOODWE LIKE)
This book is for people who love to eat. This book is for people who appreciate diet, exercise, and nutrition books but have a deep-rooted problem with their humanity. This book is for people who want to be healthy but are not willing to give up their lives.
This book is for people who are willing to improve, but it’s got to be easy.
It’s for people who like to smile. It’s for people who are okay with looking the way they look while also aiming to improve their health and appearance. It’s for people who eat ice cream in the dark. It’s for people who sneak a Venti Mocha Frappuccino and then do penance for three days.
It’s for people who live in perpetual guilt–or at least should live in perpetual guilt.
Okay, I’ve been munching on my room-service lunch as I’ve been writing, and now I am so full I can hardly sit up. Good thing it’s an on-target day for me.
I wasn’t kidding about loving Jelly Bellies and french fries. Of course I know if I eat those things in any way proportional to my affection for them, I won’t feel very good. And they may kill me. I might even stop enjoying them so much, and I would really hate that.
So I’ve discovered a balance. I’ve discovered a way to enjoy life, enjoy food, be reasonable about my health, and at the same time maintain my work schedule and an energetic family and social life.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ME: DIETS WORK, I DON’T
I am not overweight, but I could be. Both my parents were well beyond a healthy weight. My dad died of a heart attack when he was fifty-eight. When my mom died, she had diabetes, arthritis, and numerous other diseases exacerbated by her obesity. If I want to improve my chances of keeping my health and living my full life span, I have to pay attention. But I’m weak. I’m undisciplined. I’m not the perfect man on the cover of Men’s Health. I don’t have time to live at the gym.
But after implementing the Jerusalem Diet, I’m not out of shape. According to my doctor, I’m a picture of health. Given my love of food, my enjoyment of sleep, and my fondness for lazy Saturdays lounging in pajamas all day, I could easily be in trouble. Without the ideas you’ll find in this book, I might be obese.
I need a diet that is doable, not for some highly motivated guy who cares about the microbiology of digestion, but for me–an average guy wanting to live a good life. I need a plan I don’t have to think about all the time. I need a plan I won’t quit just because I drive past a Wendy’s.
I was on the Atkins diet for a year–every day until noon. Why? Because I have many business lunches and meals with friends. It’s too hard for a guy like me to ditch 90 percent of the carbs. I like bread. I also like pasta. I can live without them, but I can’t live well without them.
I also failed at Atkins because of bedtime snacks. I’m like a ten-year-old– I have to snack before bedtime. Usually it’s just a bowl of cereal, but sometimes I like yogurt or a toasted cheese sandwich or a plate of beanie weenies with bread and butter and a cold glass of milk. This really messes up the Atkins plan.
Atkins works. I don’t.
South Beach works. I don’t.
The Maker’s Diet works. I don’t.
When I hear the health-food crowd talk about tofu burgers and puréed yam soup and whole wheat udon, it makes my taste buds hide. I start thinking that an early death really might not be that bad after all. My taste buds scream, “We want pleasure!” And my intestines cry out, “We want to be clean but not that clean!”
I know all about making and breaking resolutions. I have an advanced education concerning commitment and failure. I’m a pastor. I teach people that the ancient scriptures tell them to be kind to one another, and they nod in agreement. Then, within a month, two of those who nodded are in my office talking about suing one another. I tell people that life will go better for them if they’ll get up every morning and pray, and they are all for it. Some of them will actually do it, some never will, and most will try and stop and try and stop and try and stop. People are people. We are the problem.
It’s the same with diet and health. We are the problem. Throw a rock and you’ll hit a diet book that would really help you. Spend ten minutes on Google, and you’ll have a wealth of nutrition information to help shape your eating habits. You can get the facts, but you might not be able to apply them. Those red Jelly Bellies taste too good. (Who makes Jelly Bellies, anyway? They should win a Nobel Prize for making a product that good ! ) Or, if Jelly Bellies don’t do it for you, name your weakness. Ice cream? Soda? French fries? Caramel corn? Chocolate?
Yeah, thanks to loads of diet-and-nutrition guides, we know how to solve the problem of our eating habits. But we probably won’t. Most of the solutions are too dramatic. Surgery might help, but it hurts. Ow! And for me, most diets ask too much. They change our lifestyles 100 percent too quickly, and we don’t have the time, patience, or willpower for 100 percent change. So we lose weight and gain weight; we exercise every day and then don’t hit the gym for a month; we eat proteins and veggies and then buy stock in Häagen-Dazs.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? I have a solution.
From the Hardcover edition.