While weight seems to be the principle thing people want to lose when they go on diets at the beginning of the year – not that everyone knows what they need to know about making resolutions stick – (that’s okay) – there are plenty of diets that have nothing to do with physical weight that people try and tackle. Not all of them are as well known as others. Let’s look at a few and maybe pick one for ourselves, shall we?

The Possesion Diet aka Stuff Diet
A lot of people start with their clothing. Look in your closet. Does it look just a little bit full to you? It probably looks that way because it is that way. A lot of people cling on to clothing with the thought that they will wear the article of clothing one day, even if said clothing doesn’t even come close to fitting anymore. The justification given for this is that the person thinks that they will one day fit into the clothing again – or, in the case of larger clothing, they are concerned that they will one day have no choice but to fit into the clothing again.

While it is certainly admirable to have clothing one can look forward to wearing it is certainly not necessary to have half a closet full of motivational clothing. Conversely, it’s actually a bit unhealthy to have a closet half full of so-called ‘fat’ clothes – clothing that you own “just in case” you gain weight. By owning clothing that you will wear ‘in case’ you gain weight, you are setting yourself up to gain the weight. The difference is between having the confidence to know that you’re not going to gain the weight back and not having confidence.

It’s a bit like if you have a teacup full of tea in front of you – you filled it up a bit too much when you added soy milk (or whatever you might have added) and you don’t want it to spill. You pick up the cup and carefully (and very slowly) bring it up to your lips. Invariably the tea will spill. The person sitting next to you has filled it up just as much and without a care picks up the cup and brings it up to their lips for their first sip. How? By not thinking about it and just being confident in the person’s ability to drink their tea, the person was able to easily do so.

Then there is just clothing that you have not worn in so long that you really know inside that you’re never going to wear – yet you don’t want to get rid of the clothing. The easiest and yet most painful way to get rid of such clothing is to just sort it – everything that you have worn in the last year stays and everything else goes. Seems easy, doesn’t it? Yet if you were to really look at each article and think about if you wanted it or not, there would be plenty of arguments for keeping each and every article of clothing.

The Soul Diet
The Soul Diet is based on the book by the same name by Rabbi Yitzchak Goldman – I can give you some of the more important details but to properly follow the diet you actually need the book itself. The first thing that I have to say about the diet is that it is absolutely not for the majority of people. By this I mean that most people, at least in the United States, would not be able to endure the rigors of the Soul Diet. Why this is will be quite evident in the next statement.

The diet starts with a complete media fast – that is to say that for a complete time period of two weeks the person on the diet is completely forbidden to “watch any television, go to movies, read newspapers or magazines, listen to talk-show radio and browse the Internet.” The diet then continues with such steps as schedule slimming, controlling ones speech, anger, goals – the book also tackles physical wellbeing and the way one can find proper intimacies in this jumbled crazy world in which we live.

I can honestly tell you that I have attempted the diet myself and found it to be completely overwhelming. I just don’t at this point in my life have what it takes to complete the soul diet – or at least I don’t think that I have what it takes. Perhaps 2008 is going to be the year that I am going to finally be able to take on the media fast challenge – and then perhaps I will realize how I don’t really need certain pleasures of the internet (twitter being one of them) and so many things that I think that I really need online are only wants.

The Time Diet
The last diet I want to put in your mind as an alternative to traditional weight loss is the time diet. I think most people that I know have told me at one point or another that there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything they want to do. Alternatively, a lot of people say that they wish that there were thirty six hours in a day, or even more, so that they would be able to do everything they would want to do in a day.

I want to offer the following challenge for you. During a typical work week, write down absolutely everything that you do, no matter how minute the thing may be. Example : Made cup of tea – four minutes. Don’t look at the things you have written down. The best way to do this would be to put it into a spreadsheet with one column representing the name of the activity and the second column representing how long the activity takes.

Spreadsheets usually offer a nice feature that automatically fill in the same text if you have already entered it in a cell above so that makes it even easier. After you are done with the week sort the two columns by the name of the activity and it will be easy to add up each different kind of activity. “Wow,” you may find yourself saying, “did I really spend ten hours playing video games this week? How did I spend that much time playing video games when I had so much important work to do?”

By doing this you will quickly see that you really spend a lot more time doing things that suck up your time but do not add anything significant to your life. Alternatively, you may end up being one of the rare people who perfectly take advantage of all of your time. If you are one such person I commend you.

There really is more change we can make in this world that has absolutely nothing to do with fitting into a smaller pair of trousers. Some of these diets may end up making us better people – if we allow ourselves the possibility of change, that is.