Your Own Habits & Routines are the Key to Weight Control

He’s not in the news much lately so you probably haven’t been aware that Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore has dropped a lot of weight.

Michael Moore weight loss

Apparently the only place this is getting talked about is on Moore’s Facebook page where he described how this came to be:

I am now in Week 42 of my walks. Each day, 30 minutes, that’s it. Thousands of you have joined me since that Sunday night on March 18 when, as a joke, I said I was going for a walk. I had read that morning in the paper that there were now more people in the U.S. on anti-depressants than those who go to the movies. I tweeted out that maybe that’s the problem — perhaps if people got out and went to the movies more they might feel better. This unleashed a lively conversation about mood-aletering drugs, the lousy movies these days in theaters, the rip-off prices for 3D films, etc. Finally, someone wrote: “Sometimes I think what I need is just a brisk walk.” I tweeted, “Hey, there’s an idea! I’m putting my shoes on right now.” I went out and came back home after 30 minutes — and a few hundred of you had amazingly joined me where you live. So I went walking the next night, probably out of some sort of obligation because so many had written to say “please let’s do it again tonight!” So I did. And the night after that. By the end of the week it was hard to determine how many thousands were now going out with me on these “virtual walks” in hundreds of cities and towns, but it had taken off like a rocket and so we all went walking every night from that point on. Now it’s 250 days later. What a simple, great idea that person had! Some have asked, “Why are we walking?” “What’s the cause?” There is no cause other than to go for a walk. We do it just because it feels good.

Moore did something once and then again and again until it was his new normal to go for a walk every day. And here’s the really amazing part—he has gone on to describe that the daily walk made him feel generally better all day which made him want to eat cleaner and simpler. After awhile he found that he wanted to get out for a second walk some days. He felt more thirsty and wanted to drink more water. He decided he wanted to try a little basic weightlifting. And without any particular plan, without trying to follow any specific “diet” or regimen, little by little Michael Moore’s life began to change, day by day. That brief daily walk turned out to be the Domino Habit that triggered a chain of change that extended into some pretty darn serious weight control.

I love that he doesn’t even know how much weight he’s lost and he says he doesn’t care. He just cares that he feels great. I think he sums up my own philosophy very well even in my suggestion that when unwanted food cravings enter your mind, go find something else to do:

But the truth is, exercise does not work, diets do not work, feeling crummy does not work. Nothing works. My advice: Quit trying to be something you’re not, be happy with the life you’ve been given, and just go for a pleasant walk outside…Going for a walk every day will change your thinking and have a ripple effect. You’ll find yourself only eating when you’re truly hungry. And if you’re not hungry, go clean your room, or have sex, or call a friend on the phone. Without knowing it, you’ll starting eating like the French (there is no French word for “fast-food”)—and you will feel better. You do not feel better admonishing yourself or beating yourself up or setting up a bunch of unrealistic rules and goals with all the do’s and dont’s that are just begging to be broken.

Two things Moore says really stand out for me “Quit trying to be something you’re not.” and pointing to those “dos and don’ts that are just begging to be broken.” This is where we all have failed. We tried to think like a thin person but our brains aren’t wired like that. We tried to eat in a way we couldn’t possibly sustain so we fell back into familiar patterns. We tried to do physical activities that kicked our asses so we quit doing them. Everything we’re told we’re “supposed” to do to be in control of our own bodies and minds and our weight DID NOT WORK because it DID NOT WORK FOR US.

I can remember interviews going back years of Michael Moore talking about being on some goofy diet, eating “heavy” food he thought would sit in his stomach or not eating anything white. I remember reading that he discussed weight and dieting with Roger Ebert. I’m very happy that he finally figured out something that really works because it works well for him.

Everyone is looking for the real key to lifelong weight control. What our own minds and our own bodies tell us is all we need to work with if we can learn to listen and respond.



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    • cat on November 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    amen, amen. I decided to quit beating myself up, dress for the body I have not the body I had/want, and start exercising. I’m only on week 3, but have been doing it 4-5 days a week. And, guess what? I don’t want to drink as much, I like working out, I feel better mentally and physically. I’m getting to the point that I miss working out when I don’t! So, he and you are exactly right. Start with small changes, realize that Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your body. As they say, just do it.

    1. You hit on a very important factor that I discuss in my book—You’ve GOT to start feeling a benefit or you won’t keep going!! That’s where all those diets and programs fail. They’re such a struggle and people can’t wait to get OFF them! If something isn’t working for you, it’s just not the right fit. Try something else!

      Your post makes me think of another very important point that I have discussed in recent posts. A lot of people heavily invest weight loss with fantasy and goals. They imagine all these fabulous results but they’re setting themselves up for a mighty big let-down. So many people use motivational and inspirational images and goals to get through some kind of weight loss regimen. But you probably won’t end up with the perfect body and the perfect life and all your problems magically fixed. You CAN start feeling better every day. You can start sleeping better. You can see medical issues improve. Anything else is really going to be a bonus.

      Thanks for coming by!!!

    • JoAnn on November 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    You do see more immediate benefit from exercise. That was true in my case. With a bit of help I saw tremendous improvement in as little as a month and gained a coach who showed great belief in me. Those benefits made me keep going and adding good habits.

    BTW Batteries have been removed from the scale.

    1. HAHA, good strategy, my friend! Stay away from that scale!!!

      I believe that you CAN feel a benefit from even very little exercise if you’re extremely deconditioned. Just getting a habit started is the key and feeling a difference keeps you going!

      I remember when I dreaded exercise and I’ve had trainers who seemed to want to break me down and treat me like they were my drill sergeant who could boss me around. As a trainer myself now, I just want to get folks started in a way that they will keep going!

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