The Promise Diet – A Radical Approach to Permanent Weight Loss and Lifestyle Change

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Reid Wilson has literally promised away his food vices one at a time, and in doing so he's lost 120 pounds from his all-time high. He's now set up a website and blog to help and encourage others to do the same.

On October 23, 2002, after much internal debate, Reid Wilson drank a bottle of Pepsi, cut the label up to make a card, and with that card made a promise to his daughter for her 6th birthday that he would never drink pop again.

That wasn't as bad as he had expected it to be, so on March 26, 2003, after more internal debate, at a birthday celebration at McDonalds with his family, Wilson ate a super-sized order of french fries and then promised his two-year-old that he would never eat french fries or onion rings or fried potato chips or Fritos or Doritos or other fried chips, ever again.

He didn't know it then, but these promises would lead to what Wilson now calls The Promise Diet. Through a series of food promises over two years -- what he now calls PUBIMO Promises -- he's learned how to short-circuit the need for discipline. As a result he currently weighs 120 pounds less than his all-time high and he's still losing, with only 20 pounds left to achieve his personal goal. “I continue to love and enjoy food”, Wilson says. “These promises have won me victory, not made me miserable.”

Wilson has realized that The Promise Diet is an approach to permanent weight loss that can benefit the many millions of obese adults in the U.S. and around the world. Because of this, he's created a new website/blog called “The Promise Diet: A Radical Approach To Permanent Lifestyle Change”, which can be found at

The Promise Diet involves two main ideas:

1. Gain a solid understanding of proper nutrition and fitness.

2. Based on that understanding and an examination of your personal food vices – what is keeping you overweight, that is – make (and keep) promises to loved ones that reduce or even eliminate those vices from your life

Wilson actually started making these promises over a year before reading Walter Willett's Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy (Free Press, 2002, 2005), but this book finally convinced and motivated him to start truly eating right. “My wife had been the health food nut in our home and had been encouraging me to read it for quite some time. I finally started it and quickly got hooked, learning for the first time WHY veggies and whole grains are good for my body from a scientific and medical perspective, not just THAT they were. Now I'm the nut, and our family's outings to Golden Corral are an opportunity for me to get extra veggies and for her and the kids to let their hair down a bit.” A significant section of The Promise Diet website is dedicated to help spread this message: Eat right, eat less, and exercise more.

In many ways The Promise Diet is the perfect complement to many of the diets people use today, as it provides the means to overcome the need for discipline and willpower and to successfully implement the advice they receive.

“My real concern is that people are going to make stupid promises that they won't or can't keep, saying 'I'm never going to eat another carb again!' in a fit of clueless passion”, Wilson adds. “Because of this, I've come up with the acronym PUBIMO, which outlines what makes a good promise.” To Wilson, a good promise needs to be:

P -- Personalized

“My food vices are different than yours; promise them away accordingly.”

U -- Uncontested

Would medical experts unanimously agree that this is a good promise to make concerning your health? (Related to “I” below.) Corollary: Don't make stupid promises!

B -- Bold

Life is short. Seize the day. (But also see “M”.)

I -- Informed

A prerequisite to making uncontested promises is the knowledge of what healthful eating really is.

M -- Momentum-Building

“Baby step” promises are worthwhile as long as they lead to future promises which will lead to additional change. That is, “I won't ____ on Monday mornings” -- or even “Monday morning” -- is a great start if that's all you're up for at first. Even small steps bring benefits as long as “P” and “I” are fulfilled.

O -- Other-focused

“I'm not losing weight to look better. I want to be around for my kids as they grow up and I want my grandchildren to have me for a grandpa.”

Wilson continues, “I'm convinced that The Promise Diet is a message many are waiting for, that it is a message that can radically transform the lives of many obese people, just as it has transformed me from a 326-pound caffeine-addicted happy but undisciplined junk food junkie and lover of food to a 206-pound -- and still dropping -- happy but undisciplined lover of food. My hope is that the new Promise Diet website will be a resource to help bring about that kind of change for people.”

In addition to information regarding current medical thinking on nutrition, weight loss, and fitness, The Promise Diet website (found at gives practical instruction and encouragement in how to successfully apply The Promise Diet to one's life. Wilson posts new entries to the site almost daily and offers a free email newsletter as well.

Sidebar: The eating promises Wilson has made

See also

October 23, 2002 -- I will never drink pop again (Pepsi, Coke, Diet Coke, etc.).

March 26, 2003 – I will never eat french fries or fried potato chips again (or onion rings or Fritos or Doritos or other fried chips).

Late spring, 2003 – I will never drink chocolate milk made with Quik again.

August 13, 2003 – I will never eat pre-packaged sweet things that come in a wrapper again. (Specific target: the honey buns and candy bars in the vending machine at work!)

April 13, 2004 – I promise to never eat more than 2,500 calories on any given day, and to ensure this happens, I will write down everything I eat and keep track of the calories. (This one is actually more specific than that, with some exceptions on special days and an eventual end goal which frees him from having to write everything down.)

August 21, 2004 – I will never eat non-homemade sweet things at home, at work, or in our car.


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