UNITED STATES—As we get ready to say sayonara to the plan to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, I am reminded of the two Buddhas. There is the thoughtful, serene Tibetan Buddha, rather blank faced, slender and androgynous, and there is also the plump, laughing Buddha, without shame for his bulging belly. Imagine the old, jolly Buddha who has shared enlightenment to the last drop, and moved on. He is laughing. Laughter is a supreme act of lightening up, a reconciliation of what is and what ought to be but isn’t. Maybe the old plump Buddha has left behind his meditation and moderation for a joyful, gleefully shameless acceptance of himself.


A diet from diet-induced shame can benefit us all. Where shame flowers, expect to find a ton of self dislike and anguish. And where dislike festers, there is distraction and weakness. A compelling argument for sticking to the core tenets of our no dairy, mostly fruit-and-veggie plan is this: a minor amount of off-plan behavior can produce a major amount of shame, which creates malaise which in turn spawns greater and more lasting transgressions. In short, everything we seek to avoid we fall prey to. Old fat Buddha might laugh it off, but we who want to be as the young, slender Buddha, become distraught.


It comes down to who you really want to be. Do you want to stop dreaming and start being the person you truly dream of being? Or do you want to put up with toxic levels of shame because of your food recidivism?


Be it milk or vodka—what matters most is how a person feels inside once the hangover wears off. Considerations for the general welfare aside, it is truly conceivable that a man who guzzles vodka may be better off mentally than one who abuses milk, depending on the amount of shame each mete out for indulging their ‘poison.’ It’s O’Ding on shame that we need to be fearful of.


On the one hand, if some eating rules are perpetually tripping us up, cultivate being placid in the face of shame. Reduce the shame and you can resume feeling OK with yourself. If, on the other hand, a rule keeps tripping us up over a long period of time, well maybe it’s time we changed that rule. We decide what our diet code is; by the same token, the code should be malleable, and we can decide to change it.


Meditation is a big new secret I let you in on lightening up 30 pounds in 30 days. Meditation helps reinforce not eating between meals. Done optimally, meditation should take place at least three hours after having eaten last, because blood rushes to your stomach right after eating and during those hours the blood is concentrated around the digesting gut. Only afterward do the brain and whole body have the blood’s undivided attention and its oxygen.


Well, guess what? I know what’s good for me, but my experimental nature dares me to live dangerously and sometimes taste a day without meditation. It tests my embrace on the guiltless state; it tests how well I can tame the shame arising from all the dumb things I do when I don’t meditate. So yes, we can be malleable and flexible. Up to a point. There’s one thing you should never, ever, ever give up, however: pre-breakfast stretches and breathing. That will not only make you slender but align you with contentment. Stay true to morning exercises as you get ready to graduate from the 30-day plan and segue into a more lenient foodstyle.


Finally, learn to brush off the shame regarding your diet missteps. Fret not. At the end of your days, if you were asked what you had done on earth, the last thing in the world to be taken into account would be if you had stuck to your diet. Trust me on this. So let’s put things in perspective and keep them there as we embark on a lifetime path of health and lasting fitness.


Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” now on Amazon Kindle. He can be reached at grady.miller@canyon-news.com.