A Diet for Appraisers?

Okay, okay, so maybe it wasn’t invented for appraisers specifically, but it sure seems to work well for the lifestyles we have chosen for ourselves.

I am your average, American, middle-aged male.  I’ve been active most my life, but as I have gotten older, it has been increasingly more difficult to keep that spare tire from hanging out around my waist.  It has become particularly more noticeable to me as I have had more opportunities to speak in front of groups of appraisers lately.  I guess my vanity gets the best of me in those environments.

Like you, my schedule keeps me in two places a majority of the time; I am either in the car driving to appointments or behind a desk doing write-ups.  Those are two places where exercise is difficult to come by. Sometimes measuring a house in 4 feet of snow gives me a workout, but… Oh, I run in the mornings a couple of times a week, but that is hardly enough to stem off the evil fat deposits.

For several years now, I have been searching for the right diet for me.  Due to my crazy life as a real estate appraiser, that search has not been easy.  My criteria has been somewhat stringent:

1. It cannot be a ‘fad’ diet that is here today and gone tomorrow.

2. It must be something that can be a lifestyle and not just a temporary fix.  I have had too many friends do the yo-yo diet thing and I wanted whatever I chose to be long-term.

3.  It must be simple to understand and to follow.

4.  It must fit my schedule and lifestyle without too much undo stress.

Easier said than done.  The fact is, we appraisers are typically so busy and our schedules are so unpredictable that finding a healthy way of eating and taking care of our bodies is not simple.  We do not usually know where we will be at lunchtime.  Eating for me, ypically consists of the closest drive-thru between appointments or whatever is nearest to the office.  Calorie counting is not simple with that lifestyle.  My guess is, you may be experiencing some of the same.   My other problem is that I like to eat….a lot (and by that, I mean a like it a lot and also that I tend to eat a lot).

Enter Brad Pilon and Eat-Stop-Eat.  First of all, you should know that I do not work for nor do I even know Mr. Pilon.  I do not get any financial compensation for endorsing his products.  Furthermore, I am not a nutritionist and his information could be a bunch of bunk for all I know.  Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, let me tell you what I do know.

I was introduced to the Eat-Stop-Eat lifestyle (I call it a lifestyle because it is not really a diet in my mind) by a good friend and mentor who belongs to my local Mastermind Group.  In all honesty, I trust this guy, but when he first started telling me about fasting as a way to lose weight, I nearly started laughing.  I can come up with a fad diet to; it’s called STARVING YOURSELF!  The more I learned however, the more I liked what I was hearing.  Here are the basics (My apologies to Brad if I get some of this wrong as I am no expert on his program.  This is just how I understand it from my perspective.):

  • All diets (way to lose excess fat) are based on the fact that you must burn more calories than you take in.
  • Most diets help you to do this by reducing the number of calories you intake per week or controlling the types of calories your take in.  Eat-Stop-Eat reduces the number of calories you take in per week.
  • On this program, you fast (24 hours) two days per week until you get to your optimal weight.  After that, you fast periodically to maintain.
  • During the fast, you drink…a lot…of water.
  • On the days you are not fasting, you eat normally (notice I said, ‘normally’ not indulgently).
  • Weight lifting is good as well (though I have not started this yet).

So, in a nutshell, that is it.  Sure, there is a bunch of science and knowledge behind it, but you get the gist of it.  The concept is based on the idea that humans are designed to be hunters/gatherers.  Historically, we starved for a few days until we found a berry tree or killed a buffalo.  We would then eat a lot at a time and the cycle continued.  For those of you screaming “Blood-Sugar Levels!,” or “What about losing muscle mass?,” I would recommend Brad’s audiobook which can be found here:  www.eatstopeat.com  He puts a lot of misinformation to bed.

Again, I am not endorsing.  I am simply offering some information.  Here is the bottom line for me; most diets fail to work because the participants fail to keep on them.  They get bored.  They get lazy.  They get busy and forget to count calories.  Their schedules change and the diet does not fit anymore. Etc. Etc. Etc.  This one works because it can be followed…whatever your schedule.

That is why I like this program for appraisers.  My (and probably your) schedule is perfect for this lifestyle.  I currently do two, 24 hour fasts per week.  I eat dinner and do not eat again until dinner the following evening.  On the days I am doing a lot of inspections, it works.  On the days I am in the office more, it works.  On the days I am traveling the country, it does not work so well, but I just change the fasting days for that week.  For example, I was in Vegas last week for the Valuation Expo 2011.  I still got my two, 24-hour fasts in and none of them fell on the Expo days.  I should add the note that, despite the buffets and good food in Vegas, I still lost a pound!  On the days I am fasting, I take a lot of water with me.  If I am not in an inspection, I am drinking.  I actually find that on my fasting days I have more energy and I do not have to worry about working my lunch into my busy schedule.  The only drawback is that what goes in also has to come out.  I now know where every public restroom is in my inspection territories.  Sorry to be so blunt, but I just call ’em as I see ’em.

I have been doing this ‘diet’ for three weeks now.  I am down 15 lbs.  My goal is 30 lbs and then I will maintain.  The last 15 will probably not come off as quickly as the first 15 did, but that does not concern me.  This is a ‘lifestyle’ I have embraced because is fits with my lifestyle as a real estate appraiser.  I am in it for the long haul.

Now, go create some value!


Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he made his fortune as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and mentor. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach (www.theappraisercoach.com) where he personally consults and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth.  He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office (www.yourappraisaloffice.com) which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up time for real estate business owners.   He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. This article may be reproduced and distributed only in its entirety without permission from the author.




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