Tag Archives: fad diets

Food Is Not The Enemy.

5 Nov

Please go and read this link, then come on back: http://www.healthzone.ca/health/dietfitness/diet/article/885393–wanna-lose-weight-don-t-diet

This is one of the few times I’ve come across a health article that DIDN’T preach eating specific types of food for weight loss. I have long been a proponent of healthy eating, not diets. As far as I’m concerned, diets set you up to fail and some remove most personal responsibility. The moment you stop eating according to a calorie-restrictive diet, you gain weight. Sometimes more weight than you initially lost. I am all for a system, a lifestyle change, that is actually achievable for the average person. How many people do you know that eat macrobiotically? Gwynnie and Madonna. Excellent. Just your average megastars.

There is a plethora of testimonials and evidence that those who diet often gain the weight back when they cease the diet. To me the problem is that it’s strictly a temporary measure, not a lifelong plan. Specifically because one chooses to eat only certain foods for a short- or long-term goal, one is almost bound to fail at keeping the weight off.  I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious but diets almost always fail. They fail because most diets are based on full-scale deprivation: you can’t have red meat and/or carbs and/or sugar. Take your pick.  I’m hardly saying that all anyone should eat is sugar and red meat: what I’m saying is that eating in a healthy way shouldn’t be so exclusive.

What the woman in the article above has done, I think, is fantastic. She chose one “unhealthy” thing – just one – to stop eating. She didn’t deprive herself of the rest of the foods that most health experts would agree are not healthy. A month later, after seeing positive results that were achieved relatively easily, she tried something else. Then she added in exercise. And what did she see? Success. She felt better by implementing a lifestyle change*  on her own terms, at her own speed. She didn’t deprive herself of an entire food group.

Most weight loss clinics and plans make me a little crazy. OK. A lot crazy. I am certainly no angel when it comes to maintaining a perfectly healthy diet: I love cheese, alcohol, bacon and sugar. (If I can get them all in one meal, I am a happy, bloated camper.) However, I also feel groggy and less energetic when I don’t get my fruits and veggies. I am fortunate enough to be able to consume most of the food I love, having only a lack-of-gallbladder to consider when it comes to diet. (So, McD’s ain’t never gon’ happen, but I don’t need to avoid gluten or lactose.) I also am fortunate to have an exercise partner and a supportive husband who offers to bring home more fruit and less chocolate and go for walks after dinner when I feel like I’m at the high end of what my weight-spectrum. But I defy anyone to tell me that if I eat nothing but meat or grapefruit or soup I will have lasting, positive results.

I’m rambling. I know. But this stuff really hits a nerve with me. I mean, even shows like Bulging Brides and Last 10 Pounds don’t advocate crash diets or food group deprivation. Yes, the people on the show go on fairly low-calorie diets, but they’re also trying to lose a specific amount of  weight in a very short time frame. They preach healthy habits.

So, please. Remember: balance is your friend. Eat your veggies and get your Omega 3’s. Eat a bowl of sour cream and onion chips while lying on the couch when it’s crappy outside. Have an apple at breakfast and maybe some fish during the week. Go for a bike ride or a swim. Enjoy that glass of wine at dinner. If you’re concerned about your food intake, I suggest keeping a food diary to see what you’re actually consuming during a week. You might be surprised at what you find.

But for goodness sake: be reasonable.

*I really, really hate that term. Can we please come up with something aside from  “lifestyle change?” It’s a little too close to “synergy” or “let’s parking lot that idea.” Blech.

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