Archive for the ‘Diets’ Category

You Scream, I scream

May 11, 2011

Spring for me doesn’t just mean warmer weather and days spent enjoying the outdoors.  It also means ice cream.  This is going to sound crazy, but there’s something about sunny days that makes me want ice cream.  Doesn’t matter the flavor or whether it’s hard or soft serve, full fat or low-fat, I just desire a big bowl of it everyday.   Yes, folks, ice cream is my Achilles heel.

Sure I could buy the low-fat or sugar-free kind and eat a 1/2 cup serving each day, but the problem is, if there’s a container of it in my freezer, I rarely ever can stop after one scoop.  It draws me back one spoonful at a time and before I know it, it’s all gone.  And this cycle happens every time I buy it.  I try to convince myself that “This time I make it last,” but it never does.  And there’s no way I’m quitting it, so here’s the solution I’ve come up with that seems to work.

Instead of buying a pint or half-gallon, I buy single serving products.  I find I can more easily turn down a second or third serving if things are packaged separately.  Must be some kind of weird mental thing, but it works.  It also doesn’t hurt that those single servings cost more and so I’m more inclined to make them last.

You know what?  I think it’s time for some ice cream!  Right now I’m loving the Starbucks Ice Cream Bars…mmmmmm!

Eat this, not that, except when…

February 9, 2011

Lord knows there’s no shortage of dieting advice out there.   I mean we are talking about a $40 billion industry here.  All that information is bound to get confusing at times, which is why we turn to so-called health experts to sift through the clutter and tell us what to do, right?  But what happens when the people we rely on are bewildered themselves?

Let’s get back to those health magazines.  If you subscribe to any of them for a prolonged period of time you notice it’s just the same content recycled over and over again.  Not only that, a lot of what they’re telling you to do seems to contradict what they told you to do in a previous issue.  I draw your attention to exhibit A:

I was on a popular website when this headline caught my eye: “Diet Rules That Don’t Suck”.  Catchy,  no?  So naturally, I clicked through and found a list of “rules” that women should follow if they don’t want to miserable as they lose weight.  One suggestion is to eat less meat.  The thinking behind that one is that you’re cranky because you’re spending so much money on “healthy” foods, but not shedding pounds.  Ok, fine.  Not the strongest argument for going meat-less, but we can debate the pros/cons of cutting down on animal protein at a later time.

Now, two tips later, the article suggests another way to make your diet less sucky is to make sure you’re losing fat, not muscle.  The way to do this, we’re told, is to lift weights and eat a lot of protein.  Um, what?  Didn’t you just tell me to limit the amount of protein I should be eating?  Now you’re telling me I should be eating 2-3 ounces of lean meat every day?  What gives?

No wonder people are confused and can’t stick to a healthy eating program!  They’re told to do one thing and then told to do something else that completely contradicts the first.  And sadly, I’m not sure this is a problem that’s easily solved.  With all the money to be made, constantly bombarding  consumers with the latest “advice” which keeps them always looking for the next great weight loss “thing” is probably good for business.  I’m just not sure it’s so good for us.

But are the dieting industry and media really to blame?  You can’t deny the genius of those who tap into our insecurities about our weight to sell us a magic little pill or diet program that’ll melt away all our pounds easily.  But it’s not their fault that we’re so gullible and so overweight.  Let’s face it people, we didn’t get fat overnight and we sure as heck aren’t going to get thin that way.  We’re overweight cause we eat too  much and move to little.  I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s simple math…eat less, burn more.  Diets aren’t quick fixes.  They’re actually the first step you can take towards an overall lifestyle change.  But, boy, is that first step a doozy!

Eat breakfast like a king and you’ll end up like Henry VIII

January 26, 2011

Now that's a king-sized breakfast!

How many times have you heard that you shouldn’t skip breakfast if you want to lose weight?  And how about the one that the first meal of the day should also be the biggest because it’ll help you eat less throughout the day?  Turns out eating breakfast like a king could lead to a king-sized belly.

German researchers are out with a new study that reveals people who eat a big breakfast don’t  actually eat less calories throughout the course of the day.  In fact, those who ate a 400 calorie breakfast ate 400 calories more in a day than those who just had a normal breakfast.

  I can’t say that I’m surprised.  People love to eat, give them a reason to eat more disguised as a diet tip and you can be sure they’ll take it.  We’re on the diet in the first place because we don’t know how to eat less, so no wonder our caloric intake doesn’t change.

But the study isn’t all bad news. 

The researchers found that those who ate breakfast, as opposed to those who skipped it, made healthier food choices during the day.

Watching your weight just got more complicated

December 7, 2010

Just when I was finally memorizing all the point values of my foods, Weight Watchers has gone and upended its entire points system.  And I’m not talking a few changes here and there.  Nope, it’s an across the board overhaul.  Major tweaks include:

  • All fruits and most vegetables are now worth 0 points.  That’s right, nothing.  Those foods you’ll still have to count include starchy veggies like potatoes, corn and peas.
  • Certain processed foods and alcohol now have higher point values.  For example, a Thomas light English muffin jumps from 1 point to 3 and 3 glasses of wine will set you back 11 instead of 6.
  • There’s now a higher, minimum points level and dieters are given more “flex” points per week.

Weight Watchers says the point (pun intended) of the overhaul is to focus more on wholesome, good for you foods.  Under the old system, with all foods assigned a point value, you could technically lose weight while eating junk food, so long as you stayed within your daily/weekly point allotment.  With this new system, Weight Watchers is trying to bring the focus to eating healthier.

I, for one, applaud them for the effort.  But that doesn’t mean I’ll be trading in the old system for the new one anytime soon.

For starters, I already eat a diet compromised of mostly fresh/wholesome foods.  I really wouldn’t be changing my diet all that much following the new system. 

Second, I don’t see the need to run out and buy new books when I’ve been doing just fine (i.e. losing weight) with the old system.  Like they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

And a warning to those who think this gives them carte blanche to stuff themselves silly with fruits and vegetables: eating too much of anything will eventually lead to weight gain (not to mention a massive stomach ache!)

Diet Doomsday is coming

November 24, 2010

Tomorrow is Doomsday if you’ve been trying to watch your weight.

Not to get all apocolyptic on you, but chew on this:  The average person consumes around 3,250 calories at the Thanksgiving table.  The FDA recommended intake is 2,000.  You need to be eating less if you’re trying to lose weight.  And let us also not forget that Thanksgiving marks the start of the month long eating binge known as the holiday season.

But Thanksgiving (and Christmas and all those holiday parties and New Years) doesn’t have to be a diet wrecker.  Wouldn’t you like to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal without the extra helping of guilt that usually accompanies it? 

Here’s how:  moderation.

Sure it’s not the easiest thing to do (Lord knows, I struggle at every big meal), but it works. 

Have a little bit of everything and instead of having second helpings of everything, help yourself to only those things you really, truly enjoy eating.  I personally like to go back and have those things I only eat at Thanksgiving, like the stuffing.  Sure you can swear off the carbs and pull the skin off the turkey, but odds are you’re going to be miserable and stuff yourself silly when dessert rolls around.  If you enjoy what you’re eating when you’re eating it, you’re going to be more satisfied and therefore less hungry. 

And remember moderation applies to exercise as well, so after the dishes have been cleared, take a short walk.  You’ll feel better about yourself and won’t second guess having pie for dessert.

Above all, just remember to relax, enjoy the time spent with family and give thanks for your good health.  On Friday, you can get back to the regular grind.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mr. Potato Head diet

October 1, 2010

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

The head of the Washington State Potato Commission (believe it or not there is such a thing) is so upset over people claiming potatoes are junk food that he’s vowing to eat only potatoes for the next 60 days.

No chips or fries for this guy.  Nope…he plans on eating 20 plain (no cheese or bacon bits) potatoes the entire time.

He claims he’ll be fine since the spuds are packed with protein, potassium, fiber and Vitamin C.

I don’t think he’ll last that long, but if  you’d like to follow his progress, you can at

Unfashionable Diet

September 10, 2010

Fashion week started yesterday.  In addition to the mounds of coverage about what’s going to be hot for the spring, there’s bound to be some ink devoted to physique of the runway models.  Someone will say they’re too thin and they will counter that they’re naturally that way and aren’t starving themselves.  Enter the Fashionista Cleanse.

According to the New York Post, the cleanse is an all liquid diet that promises to help you lose some weight.  For either 3 or 5 days…you drink nothing but a variety of fruit and veggie juices at each of your meals.  Those juices range from chlorophyll (the same stuff plants make) to a concoction of lemon, carrot, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley and beet which the reporter says looks like a red velvet cupcake, but tastes anything butt but.

One of the juices you'll be drinking on the All Organic Avenue Fashionista Cleanse

Not sure you’ll drop weight on the diet, but your wallet will be thinner.  The Cleanse costs $350 for a 5 day regime and $280 for three days.

Obviously drinking only liquids for days at a time isn’t good for you.  The reporter test driving it suffered from headaches and lack of concentration, not to mention extreme hunger.  AND YET…no where do they consult a doctor or a nutritionist to support the fact that this diet is not a good idea. 

Sure there are  the cute puns about the awfulness of the diet, but they don’t come right out and say it.  They even go so far as to tell people how they can order the diet for themselves!  This seems like completely reckless journalism to me.  Read the article for yourself and tell me what you think.

Water, Water Everywhere and you’ll shrink

August 26, 2010

Losing weight is apparently as simple as drinking two to three glasses of water before every meal.  And I’m sure you know the reason why.  Downing water before eating fills you up, meaning you’ll have less room for food.  This (not really new) discovery comes out of Virginia where scientists tested the theory on 48 middle agaed adults over a 12 week span. 

What they found was that the dieters who drank two glasses of water before a low calorie meal lost an average of about 5 pounds more than those who just stuck to eating less calories. 

So simple…yet effective. 

The study was released this past Monday at the American Chemical Society conference in Boston, Mass.

Doorstep Diets

May 11, 2010

If you’re contemplating signing up for one of those diet delivery services, but aren’t sure which one tastes best or which is worth the price (and they’re not cheap), check out this post from the New York Times Wellness Blog.

Alzheimer’s disease and your diet

April 13, 2010

There’s more research showing eating a Mediterranean style diet is good for your health. 

This time, according to a report appearing in the “Archives of Neurology,” people who eat more salad dressing, nuts, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of mental decline, affecting more than 4.5 million Americans.

In addition to recommending eating the above foods, the study also suggests avoiding high fat dairy products, red meat and organ meats.  (See the chart below)

Naturally, loading up on nuts doesn’t mean you won’t develop Alzheimer’s.  There are other factors at play like whether you smoke and drink and family history.  

Nevertheless, tweaking your diet to include those “good” foods is a good idea as other research has shown this type of diet can play a role in preventing many other illnesses, including heart disease, many forms of cancer, and stroke.