Don Hyatt's Diet

At the Finalist's Institute of the 1988 SuperQuest competition, the four teacher/coaches were asked to have their pictures taken in our team T-shirts. The shirts for TJ were yellow with a green emblem across the front. Having been overweight for most of my life, I usually tried avoid reality by not having my picture taken. As they lined us up for those publicity photos, I tried to suck in my gut but it did no good. I looked like the "Great Lemon". When our team eventually won the grand prize, an ETA10-P supercomputer, that picture of me was released to the press and appeared around the country. I had been shamed! I realized then I needed to change my lifestyle.

I had tried diets before, but I was never very successful at counting calories. However, I finally did change my lifestyle. All I needed to do was learn to count to 5 (five). My 5-point plan is at the bottom of the page. It is simple to follow and judge for yourself. The weight came off, and I've kept it off. I feel much better and people say I look better. This simple plan has worked for me, and I don't think I'll ever be fat again.

August 1988     at SuperQuest

    Age 41     Height 5' 10"
    Weight 240 lbs
    Chest 40", Waist 42", Hips 48"


(in the same Yellow Shirt)

August 1996


August 1998

August 1999

Sixty Pounds

I've gained 4 pounds
in the past two years.

I'm now up 10
pounds. Dropped
off the diet as
I worked on my
ThinkQuest site
and then I ate too
much greasy food
and NO vegetables
while I was in

No pictures right now.
    Age 49    Height 5' 10"
    Weight 180 lbs
    Chest 44", Waist 32", Hips 39"
    Age 51    Height 5' 10"
    Weight 184 lbs
    Chest 45", Waist 32", Hips 39"

The Portly Gentleman Story

Before I tell you about my diet, I should share with you one of those final motivating moments that pushed me over the edge to do something about my weight.

One day, I overheard a very polite student referring to me as "that portly gentleman in the Computer Lab." Sure, I knew I was overweight, but somehow I had never personally connected with the term "portly gentleman". It was terrifying. The reality of that phrase cut to the bone. There I was, fat and old, the image of W.C. Fields. Although that certainly was not how I envisioned myself, it apparently was how others saw me. So, I decided I didn't want to be a Portly Gentleman anymore and this is how I lost my weight.

Don Hyatt's Count-to-Five Diet

  1. I try to eat 5 servings of fresh vegetables every day. I don't like vegetables that much, but I realized that healthy people seem to eat them. While caring for my mother who was terminally ill with cancer, I noticed that she would often take the medicines the doctor prescribed, but then seemed to be too full to eat nutritious meals. So I decided to treat vegetables as though they were my medicine. Get those down first, and enjoy the meal later. I find it much easier now to eat vegetables, and I actually have learned to like some things. I also try to eat something really healthy each day, like raw broccoli. I have sometimes counted the tomato sauce on pizza as one vegetable, but ONLY one, no matter how much pizza I eat. I had to save room for four more servings of veggies before I can polished off that pizza.
  2. I try to eat 3 to 5 servings of fruit each day. I like fruit better than veggies, so I usually end up eating five servings of these too, but I really only strive for three. I will usually have a glass of orange juice in the morning for that essential Vitamin C, and perhaps some more fruit on my cereal, and then a banana and/or pear at lunch.
  3. I try to drink plenty of fluids, about 5 glasses of water (12 ounce) or other appropriate liquids every day. Part of this is in the form of low fat milk that I use on my oat bran cereal each morning. Oat bran is a good source of fiber, and the milk is an important source of calcium. Coffee or caffeinated drinks don't count since caffeine acts as a diuretic.
  4. I try to do 5 types of exercise each day. The casual morning jog of 1.5 miles with the dog counts as one exercise, so then I have to find four more things to do during the day. I typically do some kind of light resistance exercises with free weights for part of it. The key is not much weight, but lots of repetitions. I also try to do the standard things to move my own body weight, such as pushups or pullups. At first I couldn't do a single pullup, but now I usually do 25 or more pullups along with several other exercises before I head out for the aerobic jog with the dog in the morning.
  5. Once I've done the above four things, I am free to do (or eat) anything else I want. However, I do try to err on the side of low fat. The key is that by the time I eat and drink all that healty stuff, there is not much room to do significant damage. The exercise builds muscle which increases the metabolic rate, so the fat comes off more quickly. On the other hand, starvation diets slow down metabolism since the body is trying to survive difficult times. Such diets never worked for me or many others who have tried that approach.
Final Thoughts:
Having been fat for most of my life but now over 50 and feeling fit, I have to say that it is really worth the extra effort to lose that fat. I've gained back four pounds in the past two years, but it has been mostly muscle and not fat. That means I can probably eat 200 more calories a day... if I were counting calories.
The Key:
Did you know that a pound of body fat burns only 2 to 3 Calories a day, whereas a pound of muscle burns about 50 calories a day even without exercising?
Think about it!

Don't count calories, but just count to five. See if it will work for you.

Back to my home page...
Copyright © Donald W. Hyatt