Thursday, November 20, 2008

The best diet

I'm currently reading a fantastic book called Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, PhD. I've read a lot of articles and research authored by Dr. Wansink, so I am thrilled about his book! He has this quote that I absolutely love...."The best diet is the one you don't know you're on". I 100% agree! Unfortunately, there so many diet supplements, products, books, programs, and more out there for weight loss that it's often hard for me to keep up. In fact, a recent stat I read says that Americans spend $100+ BILLION on diet-nutrition related products and services annually. WOW! At the same time, we unfortunately still have rising rates of overweight/obesity (66+% of American adults are overweight/obese.)

I just had a conversation with one of my students the other day about diets. She'd told me how she had tried a couple of diets temporarily just to see what they were like so that she could be more personally informed on how they 'feel'. One of my great friends has done the same with the Atkins diet. (By the way, she only lasted 1 day after feeling so dreadful on it.). I had to admit that I haven't ever been on a diet before. I guess I could say that I've been and am on that diet that you don't know you're on! I must tell you that it's the greatest. It's really just eating. That's it, plain and simple. In fact, I looked up the word diet on Wikipedia, and here's what I found: the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group OR Webster's: food and drink regularly provided or consumed or I love this one: habitual nourishment. It doesn't sound so bad when we see it described like this, huh?

I enjoy eating. I eat a variety of foods....vegetables, fruits, whole grains AND chocolate, ice cream, pizza, FRIES! Oh no, I hope the food police don't get me! Because I allow myself to eat (not cheat) a variety of foods, including those that are especially yummy, I feel zero guilt and zero deprivation about my eating. I love it! Do I throw nutrition out the window? Of course not. I always make sure I include a variety of foods that promote health and optimal nutrition daily AND I enjoy other foods that have a little of that added sugar or fat in them. Plus, I throw in that physical activity thing, too. Balance, variety, moderation, adequacy...these are four pillars of optimal nutrition NOT guilt, deprivation, shame, which would probably be the definition of most "diets" in my book. Yes, you may need some basic information on sound nutrition (i.e., from a Registered Dietitian like moi) or maybe you need some info on specifics like lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. So, I guess what I'm saying here is that diets are not the answer to losing weight. However, when it comes to diets, all these do is provide an external force (outside the body) telling OUR body what, when, and how much to eat. I personally think one of the best approaches to eating is to listen to the owner's manual...YOU!


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