Diets & Dieting




            We have biggie-sized everything to the point that we are now biggie-sized. Who came up with the “all you can eat” buffet anyway?

            Sorry to say this, but there is no magic pill or magic diet plan. There’s only prevention, exercise and diet. Oh yeah, and common sense; can’t teach that one. To be successful at weight loss you have to first understand how you became overweight. It’s not simply a case of overeating; although for most of us, that is what causes it. It involves reviewing what I have always called the “who, what, when, why, where, and how” you eat. Is eating a hobby, an alternate form of love, a reprieve from boredom, or the way in which you deal with stress? Is it simply (or not so simple) a lack of will power? Does the food taste so good and you have long ago turned off your body’s satiety signal, so that you eat more than your system can assimilate?

            It does come down to the laws of supply and demand: if you take in more calories than you consume in energy expenditure, then you don’t lose weight.

            There are so many diet plans and fad diets out there that it is impossible to address them all here. They all involve a promise of easy success in a way that for most of the diets out there can sometimes produce what appear to be results. But without the lesson, the subject is not learned. Unless you change what got you fat to begin with, no fad diet plan will be successful long term. I’m not talking about plans like weight watchers. This plan attempts to teach lifestyle change with point counting, and uses self-accountability.

            In over 20 years in medicine, I have never seen diet pills create meaningful or long term change. And they can be dangerous.

            Most of us can start with portion control. Learn what the portions of standard size servings are. Did you know that for meat, that means 4 ounces, or roughly the size of a deck of cards? And for fish, it’s 6 ounces? For those of you accustomed to eating multiple courses that fill the plate to the rim and piled high, start by cutting back to a third of what is on the plate. Make desserts a special treat for occasional consumption. Remember that just because it is on the salad bar doesn’t make it healthy or low-fat. The body needs all of the food groups, so diets that have you living on grapefruit or protein are unhealthy and could be unsafe.

            Now let’s talk about the other part of weight loss that no one wants to hear about. EXERCISE.  You have to do it, so make it something that you can do and will do. The less exercise your body gets, the more prone you are to injuring yourself. That’s because if your muscles, tissues and joints aren’t used to being used, they get loose and weak.

            There are as many recommendations about how much exercise and how often as there are excuses for not exercising. I don’t care what kind you do or how often. I care that you do it, and once you start to exercise by doing something that you can and will do, then you will simply “do it” as NIKE says.