Wednesday, February 2, 2011

They Wrote My Diet Book!!

I lost 40 pounds in 2007 and I've kept 30 of those pounds off for over 3 years now, which means I'm beating the odds. 95% of people who lose weight regain it all within 2 years so I'm in the elite 5%. I did it because I figured out something I've finally seen confirmed in a diet book- it's not about fad diets, low carb, no carb, low fat, or grapefruits, it's about nutrients.

My first inkling about this occurred when I read a really negative book several years ago about how you'll fail if you diet so you might as well get used to the size you are and get over it, only I didn't believe it. There was one study in particular that was written about in the book but I disagreed with the conclusions drawn from the results of the study. It was a military study about calorie restriction. A bunch of soldiers were put on diets and lost weight to the point that they were below optimum weight. They studied the reactions of the men and found that they became obsessed with food. They talked about food constantly and even exchanged recipes. The book author said that meant they were going to pig out as soon as possible and regain all the weight. (Which they probably did.) I drew a different conclusion. They were obsessed with food because their bodies were looking for the NUTRIENTS they needed to be healthy.

I think that's what happens to us and why, as a nation, we are so overweight. We have become addicted to the empty calories that are so readily and abundantly available all around us. Our bodies get used to having to eat and eat and eat to extract even a minimal portion of the nutrients needed for health and survival. Our bodies get used to making us crave large quantities of food out of desperation. I don't think it's because our bodies want useless empty calories, but because our bodies panic since the good stuff isn't there in that McBurger. So then we must need to eat lots and lots and lots. We get used to that so when we do start to eat healthfully, our bodies don't trust us for the longest time. It's hard to reset our appetites. If we go about making every calorie count, nutritionally speaking, then our bodies will eventually calm down and adjust, and quit panicking. We'll be able to eat the appropriate amount to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

That's what I did, although I still have a few areas where I could improve my eating habits. I'm not perfect but I eat far healthier than the majority of Americans. I still include too much pasta and white bread in my diet, although I try to control portions when I indulge. I eat veggies including greens like collards, spinach, and romaine lettuce, broccoli, carrots, and lots and lots of tomatoes and tomato products. We eat a lot of beans and whole grain rice. I eat at least one small serving of nuts daily and I love, love, love fruit. I hardly ever eat desserts or sweets.

I also continue to read everything I can find about nutrition that strikes me as taking a healthy approach. I turn my nose up at anything fad-ish. I don't go for restricting food groups, although low fat makes sense to me. (Not no-fat; I love my EVOO.) When I was in Whole Foods I saw a little booklet on sale at the register and I picked it up, and now that I'm reading it I'm finding it is the diet book I would have written. Everything in it makes sense. What is this miracle booklet, you ask? It's the Eat Right America Nutritarian Handbook by Joel Furhman, MD. It says EXACTLY what I believe about health and eating right. If you have any interest in losing weight and/or getting healthy, get this book. There's also an interactive website but I haven't checked it out yet.

Give up processed food, make healthy choices about what goes into your body, get some exercise to the best of your ability, then live long and prosper.

No comments: