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Sunday, 5 October 2008

What IS a diet anyway? You must understand this before you embark on yet another one!!

The minute someone tells me they are going on 'a diet' to lose weight, I immediately ask them "So, what's your diet now?" More often, people say "Oh, no, I'm not on a diet now -- I eat everything and anything." or they tell me what newfangled 'diet' they've been following with no results or first great results and then they put the weight all back on within a month, etc., etc. PLEASE -- STOP!!!!

The word diet simply refers to the food we/you eat. It really shouldn't mean some pattern of food intake meant to be followed temporarily for a certain purpose, be it weight loss or to control cholesterol, fat intake, or foods you can't tolerate, or for whatever reason. One does, frequently, have to be on a modified diet to control symptoms from a certain disease or condition and/or damage to the body. For example, people who must follow a gluten-restricted/free diet, people on a simple-sugar restricted diet because they are diabetic (Type 1), children with PKU who MUST follow a phenylalanine-restricted diet, etc. But, even these folks have to follow this way of eating for life. It's not something one goes on and off. It's a part of their lives that they follow without giving it a second thought -- well, if they DO eat against it, they could have severe problems, like excruciating pain, hyperglycemia and diabetic coma, mental impairment, and death.

Likewise -- eating a certain way to lose weight MUST be a lifetime pattern and a diet that can be followed and sustained. Otherwise, it's just a band-aid to a sore that will never go away, in fact, it will get WORSE. A balanced, sensible diet is THE magic bullet to getting weight off and KEEPING it off -- FOR GOOD. The point is -- you STAY on it for life because you WANT TO -- you like what you're eating, you get joy from eating and food and so you should. Food is a wonderful gift and blessing. Eating is fantastic!!!

 I certainly LOVE to eat, but I LOVE eating healthy. THIS is the win-win, my friends. Learning to love healthy foods -- actually CRAVING healthy foods just as much as you crave that donut or those chips or that beer and pizza or that double-fudge brownie. When consumers start DEMANDING health, industry and the media and restaurants will start kow-towing and SUPPLY us with tasty, lovely, BUT HEALTHY foods. It's already starting, but we truly have to keep at it, folks. You want to be healthy and gorgeous -- well, make your diet make it happen! Go for fresh fruits -- crispy tasty apples and pears at this time of year. Bake a fruit cobbler made with an oats/walnut-based crunch topping over the fruit and then dollop some low-fat yogurt on the side to serve. Make vegetables tasty by adding tomatoes and a bit of parmesean cheese to them or season them with spices. Roast potatoes whole with just a spray of olive-oil on them with some crushed rock-salt and tyme sprinkled over them. Meat with natural juices are much tastier than with heavy gravies on them. Eat more legumes like peas, beans, chick-peas -- make a bean-based big pot of chili this week made with fresh cilantro leaves broken in during the last few minutes while it simmers. Serve with low-fat corn muffins. There are SO many great recipes today that emphasize high-fiber, low-fat versions of the traditionally fattening things like muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. TRY these recipes -- you'll be SURPRISED how tasty they are.

Don't fool yourself by going on and off temporary crazy diet plans. Make YOUR diet the plan for life!! Contact me for more tips -- I can help you!!


Endlesssummer711 said...

For me, a diet always means eating as little as possible. This almost always results in me allowing myself to eat small amounts of very fattening or sugary things because I tell myself "well You're not eating much anyways, this is fine you need to fill up your 2000 calorie diet with something!".

How can I realistically break this pattern? What are filling things which are healthy, and trying to steer clear of starchy things at the same time to keep my calorie count low.

goal: Low calorie count, very filling diet without the starchiness.

any help would be nice, thanks!

MJ said...

Dear ES711, you THINK you're eating little, but if you eat high-fat, sugary things -- you end up calorically eating probably more than 2000 calories/day WITHOUT any other nutritional value to your foods. Furthermore, you deny yourself the joy and pleasure of chewing, feeling satisfied, and feeling like --'Hey, I've eaten'!
You have to reach for things that are low-fat, but high COMPLEX carbohydrate and fiber and/or, alternatively, lean proteins. For example -- look for some of the tasty crunchy snack bars out there now -- Special K Bliss bars from Kellogg's come in raspberry, mint, orange flavors with a chocolate coating and are 90 calories each. Make a nice cup of herbal tea or coffee with one. Low-fat frozen yogurts and ice creams are also good -- like Ben & Jerry's chocolate-brownie or Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. If you need something of a big, but healthy 'meal' break, boil up some WHOLE-WHEAT (has to be this!) pasta and cook al-dente. Add a can of a reduced-fat lentil or brown-bean or tomato-based soup with enough water added only to make it 'saucy' not 'soupy. Simmer this over the pasta. Right before you take it off the heat, add two big dollops of FAT-FREE yogurt and mix through till the whole mixture is creamy. Sprinkle a bit of parmesean cheese and sit down and tuck in! "Starchiness is FINE AS LONG AS it's the high-fiber, low-fat varieties. Also, look for frozen soy beans or edamame. Microwave or boil just until tender to the bite. Drain and add salt. Nosh on these as a salty snack. They are really satisfying, healthy, and low-fat. Keep some roasted cooked chicken in your fridge and nibble on slices of this when you feel hungry. Look out for seasonal fruits which are bursting with flavor and just nibble on these -- freeze grapes,blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and bananas -- these fruits take on an interesting consistency after they are frozen and are like eating ice-cream or candies. Find some low-fat (and I mean < 2%, preferably 1%) cottage cheese and add some sweetener and fruit of your choice and snack on a bowl of this. These are just a few ideas to get you started. When you STOP eating high-fat, sugary foods so much, you will eventually lose the taste for them and the craving because your body's physiology changes to prime you to WANT healthier foods -- that's when the win-win kicks in. Let me know how you get on! MJ