The E L M M Diet

I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with the bombardment of diet ads out there. I know each new year brings inspiration for losing weight and getting fit. I get that. This year, however, it’s gotten out of hand.

From the Rachael Ray Show and Dr. Oz (which I think should now be called The Diet Show), to ads on TV, to magazines, to Barnes and Noble, where ‘everybody” has a diet book — Shred, The Virgin Diet, The Green Drink Diet, Practical Paleo, Wheat Belly, the 17-Day Diet — it’s overwhelming, and annoying. And confusing.

Last week I was told by one guy on one show that you should mix it up and eat different foods every meal, every day. And then on another show,  a self-proclaimed diet expert espoused the virtues of eating the same foods at the same time every day, as often as possible. Which is it, People?




Now, I’ll be the first to tell you what I’m not. I’m not a nutritionist, or a dietician. I’m not a physician. (Actually, I suck at all-things Science.)  I’m definitely not  thin. And I ‘m not, unfortunately, Joy Bauer, that darling, fit and trim, knowledgeable Today Show nutrition guru.

But…I am an expert at one thing: My body. We’ve been together for 55 years, through thick and thin, my body and me. We’ve gone a lot of wonderful places, seen a lot of beautiful sights, done a lot of extraordinary things, and eaten a lot of yummy foods.  And we’ve tried a lot of diets — The Grapefruit Diet, The Atkins, The Pritikin. (If you’re too young to have even heard of these, you’re a brat.)

About 10 years ago, I came up with a non-scientific, tried-and-tested, common-sensical, easy and inexpensive diet, that works! The ELMM Diet.  As in  Eat   Less   Move   More. 

To prove to you how much I believe in the ELMM, here’s a pic of the dog-eared, weathered and worn sign that’s been hanging on our garage fridge for at least the last seven years:

photo (23)


EAT LESS:  I’ve been guilty of convincing myself that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” Which is so not true. Some calories burn off more slowly than others, so that when you MOVE MORE, it’s kinda futile.

So eat real  food. If it came out of the ground (UNembellished with sauces, dressings or that god-awful mayonnaise), or it’s from an animal that ate what came out of our God-given ground or ocean, you’re good! And if you think you can’t get enough of a good thing, you’re wrong. Do not overeat!

And by the way, you can’t do one without the other.

You must also MOVE MORE. And don’t kid yourself. Parking as far away from the grocery store entrance three days a week does not qualify as moving more. Nor does walking your dog to the mailbox and back every day.  You know exactly what you need to do. Perceived exertion is important: Did I get my heart rate up? Did I sweat? Did I give it my all?

If you consume all those healthy, real food calories, and then MOVE MORE, you will burn them off.  And for those who aren’t really into the exercise thing (yet!), you’ll soon find that the MORE you MOVE, the MORE you MOVE. Honestly.

I promise you that if you do, indeed, EAT LESS and MOVE MORE, as a way of life, you will start losing those l-b’s —  slowly, surely and healthfully. Seriously.

Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Make sure your plate is colorful. No overabundance of pale, anemic-colored foods allowed.
  • Act like a cow. Graze on mini meals throughout your day. Ix-nay the three-square-meals-a-day thing.
  • Do the best with what God gave you. If you have over-achieving thighs or the gene pool from a-loaf-of-bread-shaped Grandma Maggie, put your big-girl panties on and deal with it.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you have a power-lounging, multi-slacking, over-indulging kinda day. Sometimes it’s good for the soul. You can press the Reset button tomorrow morning.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store — where all the real foods are.
  • If you must enter the inner sanctum of the store to buy packaged, processed foods, beware! The less ingredients listed, the better.
  • If you can’t pronounce more than 50% of the ingredients listed on pre-packaged foods, run!
  • Scales-Schmales! So unnecessary.  Look down. Look up. Look down again. How are those thighs looking? Put on your skinny-day jeans. How do they look on you? How do you feel in them? Can you breathe? You don’t need scales to tell you that you haven’t lost any weight.
  • Drink lots and lots of water.
  • Be HONEST. Just because you told the world, “Yeah, I had a great workout this morning,” doesn’t mean you did.  And demurely picking at your plate in front of others doesn’t cancel out the fact that you finished off that bag of Pepperidge Farm Soft-Baked Chocolate Chip

    Cookies behind closed doors. Only you know the truth.  And I know you know, that I know, that you know what you know.

  • Watch your Carbs! (See bullet #1)
  • Don’t mess up your metabolism — like I did in 1983 when I “starved myself,” lost a lot of weight, looked what I thought was great…until I started eating like a normal person, at which time I gained it all back, and then some.
  • Do cardio at least five times and weight-bearing at least three times a week. Come on — you can find the time!
  • Carrots, raw almonds, bananas and rice cakes are delicious, filling and quick snacks on the run.
  • And don’t even think about eating after 7:00 p.m.

Now go forth and ELMM. Enjoy. And good luck! :)





One Response to The E L M M Diet
  1. Diane Bertsch
    February 4, 2013 | 4:24 pm

    Great reminder and perfect timing. And I’m sorta done with Dr. Oz. He’s run out of stuff to talk about between all the diet guests and how to stay young shows. B-o-r-i-n-g. Age with grace, all things in moderation (except Chardonnay) and ELMM! Thanks, Jode.

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It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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