Diets Don’t Work. However, Diet Does
Happy New Year! Let’s get right to it, shall we? How many of you made a New Year’s Resolution to go on a diet? I don’t want to be a nay-sayer, and you’ve heard this before, but Diets Don’t Work.
However, diet does.
What do I mean? Simple. “Diets” have a name – sometimes they’re named for a food, like the Cabbage Soup Diet. Sometimes they’re named for the place they originated, like the currently popular South Beach Diet. These diets have rules, telling you exactly what to eat, in what quantities, sometimes even specifying what food to eat each day of the week.
Some of these diets are fine – I have no quarrel with the South Beach Diet – and some of them, like the Cabbage Soup Diet, definitely are not. But even with reasonable programs, there’s a big glitch.
The problem with “going on a diet” is that it implies you will eventually go off the diet.
You “go on a diet” to knock off the holiday weight, or before your high school reunion, or whatever the looming goal is. But in the back of your mind you assume that when you’ve reached your goal you’ll go back to eating the way you always have.
This is a sure-fire recipe for failure. Whatever you do to lose weight you must continue to do for the rest of your life to keep it off. So going on a diet, followed by going off a diet, is simply doomed.
“Wait a minute!” you say, “You’re on a low carbohydrate diet!” Yep, for fourteen years now, and I’ll be on it for the rest of my life. This is simply my way of eating: taking carbs and blood sugar impact into account with all my food choices, because carbs make me fat, tired, and hungry. This isn’t A Diet, it’s just my diet – what I put into my body every day.
The Definition of “Diet”
The first definition of “diet” in my big dictionary is “food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health.” Now there’s a road to wellness. That’s what I do – I consider the quality, composition, and effect on my health of everything I put in my mouth. If you will do this, your life will change, I promise.
So instead of crash dieting, inevitably ending in a return to your old eating habits, start thinking about the quality and the effects of what you eat. If you want to change everything at once, more power to you — that’s what I did, and the results were so wonderful that I’m still at it fourteen years later. But if you prefer to do things gradually, here are four changes to get you started. Try one, make it a habit, then add another:
- Eat a high protein, low glycemic load breakfast every day. This is clinically demonstrated to dramatically reduce hunger all day. Skip cereal, bagels, muffins, pastries, or sugary canned diet shakes. Have a couple of eggs, a scoop of cottage cheese, a couple of sticks of string cheese, a hamburger patty or a couple sausage patties, plain yogurt doctored with Splenda, fruit, and a handful of chopped nuts – just get some protein down you. One slice of toasted low carb bread, if you must, but I skip it. If it’s not breakfast without something fruity, eat whole, fresh fruit instead of drinking juice – berries or cantaloupe are your lowest sugar choices. And no sugary beverages!
- Drop sugared drinks. I’m not a fan of diet soda, but it’s better than the sugary stuff. Don’t switch to juices, they’re full of natural sugars. Try tea, hot or iced, or coffee, ditto. Both have valuable antioxidants. Sweeten them, if you like, with Splenda, saccharine, or stevia (herbal sweetener) or one of the new stevia blends. If you’re into those coffeehouse flavors, assemble a modest collection of sugar-free syrups. Real cream or half-and-half, not “creamer.” This simple change will save you tons of carbs and calories, both, and prevent blood sugar crashes – and the cravings they create.
- Read the ingredient and nutrition labels on everything you eat. Consciousness is a powerful tool.
- Eat real food. Fresh meat, poultry, or fish instead of luncheon meats, bologna, hot dogs, or frozen entrees. Salads or home-cooked vegetables instead of packaged side dishes. Fresh fruit instead of fruit leather or juice. Olive oil and vinegar instead of the spicy corn syrup that is most fat-free dressings. Butter instead of margarine. Nothing “enriched” – a sign the original vitamins were removed.
You can make a real-food supper in twenty minutes!
Latin American Sloppy Joes!
- 1 1/2 pounds ground round
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup sliced stuffed olives
- 2 teaspoons capers, drained
- 14 ounces canned tomatoes with green chiles
- 3 tablespoons currants
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Start the ground round browning in your big skillet, over medium-high heat. Chop your onion, smash your garlic, and slice your olives.
When a little fat has cooked out of the meat, add the onion and the garlic. Keep frying and crumbling your meat until it’s done through. Now stir in everything else but the cilantro, turn the burner to low, and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, and serve.
5 Servings: 370 Calories; 24g Fat; 27g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Fiber; 10g usable carbs.
© Dana Carpender. Used by kind permission of one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. Happy New Year Dana! What do you think? Please send Dana your comments or New Years’ greeting to Dana Carpender.
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