If you look up the word “diet” in the dictionary you will find two definitions. One as a verb: Restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight; and the second as a noun: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize the latter meaning as easily as the first.
When I speak of “my diet” in a conversation or post, please know that I am referring to it as a noun, or as the food I normally eat on a daily basis.
As soon as you state “I am going on a diet” the brain will automatically remind you of all the foods you are going to have to give up. But then you rationalize to yourself that it will only be for a short period of time – until you lose x amount of pounds. Now you really have a problem. Because you have just given yourself permission to revert back to your old eating habits just as soon as you’ve gotten to your goal weight.
This is one of the reasons why I don’t like diets. You set yourself up for failure. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 2/3 of all people will regain all lost weight, PLUS additional weight as soon as they “go off” their diets.
I’m sure that everyone has, or known someone that has, tried a fad diet. They have been around for ages. Usually they offer quick results in a small amount of time – however the results are also usually for a “small amount” of time because as soon as you start eating regularly again, you usually gain back the weight.
You may remember some of these:
- Cabbage Soup Diet – cabbage soup for 7 days
- Banana Diet – you eat 4 meals, but breakfast consists of bananas only
- 7 Day All You Can Eat Diet – each day you pick 1 or 2 foods and eat all you want of that food only
- Some others include the Blood Type Diet (really), Carb Restriction, No Fat diets, 3 Day Diet
All of these diets restrict calories and deprive the body of much needed nutrients. The best way to “diet” (if you must call it that) is to begin making healthier food choices. You don’t have to give up all your favorite foods, just find better ways to prepare them. For example, I love Chili’s Southwestern Egg Rolls, but good grief, they are a heart attack waiting to happen. So I came home and developed my own recipe – you can find it here.
I have found that if you limit your fast food, pizza, soda and other processed foods and eat more whole foods, and watch your portion sizes, weight is easier to lose and you won’t feel deprived.
Some other helpful tips:
• Read your food labels. If the words “hydrogenated oil” is in the ingredient list, put it back on the shelf. Hydrogenated oil is the source for trans-fats. If the label reads “0 trans-fat” but has hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list – guess what – it has trans-fat. FDA does not require Tran’s fats to be listed if they are .5 or less in amount.
• Eat less processed foods and more whole foods. For example, instead of fruit bars, have a piece of fruit. Instead of boxed mac and cheese, use some whole wheat or brown rice noodles, real cheese and milk and make your own.
• Watch your portions. Get an inexpensive scale to weigh out your food. You will be amazed at what 4 ounces of chicken really looks like. Fill the rest of your plate up with lots of veggies.
Have you ever tried any fad diets?