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I didn't pick up "Change or Die," Alan Deutschman's 2007 book, for any reasons related to my food or sustainability interests. It was recommended, somewhat forcefully, by Sid Falthzik, who is helping to mentor me in the Fast Track Speaker Academy put on the New England Chapter of the National Speaker Association. But as I've observed before, it's all one thing, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see problem-eating content.

Deutschman's book investigates real change and gives concrete keys and psychological concepts to achieve it, but he includes a couple of personal anecdotes among his case studies. One of them is his story of becoming overweight: Here's a key quote:

"When you realize that change is based on relationships, then you can seek a "change agent" much as you do any other important, emotionally charged relationship with a person or community, whether it's seeking a lover or spouse, or joining a church or spiritual group, or hiring colleagues for your company. It's a hit-or-miss endeavor that takes time, energy, frustration, and resilience. But when you find the right relationship, anything is possible."

His analysis comes amid his relating that he had a Mr. America as a personal trainer at one of the most exclusive gym in New York City but didn't find success, but did with someone less illustrious after he'd moved to the West Coast. Especially his emphasis on relationships dovetails with this post. (Recap, if you prefer not to click over: Rather than worrying about which food plan, find relationships that will help you sustain your progress.)

Here's another passage germane to recent and persistent threads of this blog:

"Change is a paradoxical process, and trying to change your own life means opening yourself up to new ideas and practices that may seem illogical or even insane to you, at least until you've experienced them for long enough to develop a new understanding."

This guy is so smart! (Read: "We agree.")! Literally legions of people would say, "Give up flour and refined sugar? Are you nuts? I would rather die!" My contention has long been that if these people were willing to experience life without these substances, many would choose not to go back because they'd prefer life without them, even if they still thought that, say, donuts taste good.

That has been my experience: I went kicking and screaming, after long bouts of holding my breath until I'd turn blue, into some of the best changes I've experienced. These include stable, long-term weight loss, but also (more) happiness and serenity.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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