Miller Time
30 Pounds In 30 Days: Leaving The Plate
By Grady Miller
Sep 29, 2013 - 12:24:02 AM

Jack Benny really knew how to stick to his diet.
—When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Set designated mealtimes, and stick to these times faithfully. Otherwise, you’ll be doing something else. Do not eat unless it is mealtime. It’s that simple. And do not eat within three hours before bedtime.  That practice is set in stone.  Do I do it? Not always; but if you seek to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you better be aiming for always.


I’ll show you what I mean by sticking faithfully to mealtimes. To have a piece of fruit, say a fresh juicy peach, during a non-designated eating time is still a transgression. No two ways about it. And transgressions in the Grady Diet are punishable by forgiving yourself and then doing it the right way next time: waiting for your established mealtime to roll around to eat the delicious peach.


Here’s a technique to reinforce the conclusion of mealtime and successfully push the plate away. It’s so basic. It’s having something to do to get you away from the table and replace thoughts of food with something interesting and compelling to engage you.


If you’re at work that’s easy—leave the lunchroom and you go back to work, and the non-eating times are cut out for you. Often you will need to do your part to have an engaging activity already planned. This is where both the dignity and value of all human endeavors are evident: it can be clinching a real estate deal, talking to a friend, giving a yoga class or washing windows. It’s all good, performing activities your body was intended to perform and protecting you from eating between meals. The ability to stop eating and get lost in a new activity will also help reinforce your designated mealtimes.


What’s more, these activities, pulling you away from the table and into the thick of things, will both speed and enhance your getting into improved shape. So it behooves you spend time planning and looking forward to your activities--be it a walk around the block or cleaning the bathtub grout. (Come on over and scrub mine!)

In strengthening mealtimes, making them set rituals and also highly anticipated moments we touch on a seldom-discussed reality: the social dimension and how interacting with real people can easily upset the best laid diet and nutrition plans.


If somebody in the household is marching to there own drummer and not eating when you want to eat, you have the choice of aligning your mealtimes. But say they’re really off schedule and your own stomach begins to growl. Your prerogative is to stick to your own mealtime, and later join the other household member and have a cup of tea, say, or nothing at all. You have the right to sit there, share the time and eat nothing at all.


Those who want get in shape and maintain it must develop an ability to ignore the usual blandishments, too, such as Mom’s classic: Aren’t you going to have anything? This recalls a great Jack Benny story which demonstrates a gracious way to say no.


Jack Benny saw Don Rickles perform in Vegas and they met up afterward. Rickles invited Jack for dinner at the hotel restaurant. You can imagine this is way after midnight.


Rickles orders a big thick steak and asks Jack Benny what he wants. “Go ahead,” Rickles says, “Order anything you want.  A New York Steak, pastrami sandwich, lobster Thermodore. Jack Benny asks for a poached egg. “Jack,” says Rickles,”Is that all you're going to have? A poached egg?”


Jack replies: ”Yes. I don’t mean to disappoint you and this place is delightful. But nothing makes me happier than a poached egg on toast.”


Who among us can match that disciplined moderation? I can say Benny was down with the Grady Diet, eating the minimum late night in a sea of Las Vegas temptation.  Maybe it boils down to Jack Benny respecting himself and knowing what would settle well on his stomach.


At the table, we’ve got to defend our own ways to achieve and keep enjoying the bodies we desire. A cardinal practice is to adhere to strict mealtimes and learn to deal with those who would question our practices as Jack Benny did. He chose happiness by asking for a poached egg on toast.


Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” available on Kindle.  He can be reached at

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