Where are you with your diet?

Just about the time you think there's no hope to slim down, something new comes along to spurn your interest. A new weight loss program-- or back to the old one that seemed to work. A new pill or herbal formula-- possibly a fad diet that your friends all seem to be using successfully. It makes you crazy that you can't seem to put it together for yourself. Other people seem to loose the weight and then keep it off, why can't I?

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect the outcome to be different. America, wake up! We're being sold a bill of goods. Even the drug companies are getting in on the act with high powered-- sometimes dangerous-- drugs that produce temporary weight loss. The key operative word here being temporary.

So, why not throw out some of your old worn out ideas about weight and start over. Let's look first at how the body works with foods. First, we as humans evolved eating grains, roots, tubers, berries, vegetables and occasionally, (emphasis on the occasionally) some fish and meat. For eons we simply didn't have the tools to hunt successfully. Even when we did begin to make spears with stone arrow heads it took a lot of skill, dumb luck and shear guts to face animals like the woolly mammoth. It would be enough to make anyone into a vegetarian.

Secondly, the body wants balance between carbohydrates, (starches), proteins (not necessarily animal) and fat-- yes fat. Being the efficient machine (I use the term machine loosely) it will salvage, or save what we starve or deprive it of. Go on a high protein low carbohydrate diet and it will save carbohydrates, go on an extremely low fat diet it will save fat. This is why all these diets have their end points. As dieters like to call them, ''plateaus.'' Their weight just sits there-- not moving; they become discouraged and, bingo, back to the ''see food'' diet!

If you want your body to lose weight, eat foods from all the food groups, including fats, in smaller proportions; eat quality foods, not junk; drink plenty of water and you will lose weight. Unfortunately, this still feels like rocket science to some people for a lot of reasons-- mainly because of how we use food and our poor education about food.

I'm fortunate enough to not have suffered with obesity in this life but that is not to say I haven't been on strict diets for health related reasons, I have. I understand how difficult it can be to resist food. Which brings us around to the real issue: our belief that we cannot change. I had a counselor tell me one time-- when I made reference to our inability to change-- that I was in her office hoping to bring about change, that she was in the business of helping people change and if I didn't believe that, well, ''what was I doing there?'' I had to admit, she had a very valid point.

If you are reading this because the title caught your eye, hoping for a miracle, your miracle lies within yourself and your ability to change! The questions you need to ask yourself will be difficult; the answers may be even harder. But, what the heck, if I have your attention, let's see if I can stir the pot.

Food is incredibly comforting; it's always there; it never talks back and temporarily may relieve emotional hurts. What drives you to eat? Let's face it, most of the time it's not hunger. If it were, we would stop eating when our hunger was satiated, not 15, 20, 50 pounds later.

In reality, most diets based in sound nutrition do work. It's our attitude we bring with us that keeps us stuck. If you're currently overweight and cannot seem to find what works for you, don't give up. What works for a friend may not work for you, so keep trying. Don't beat up on yourself. Change comes slowly but it does come. When you're ready, you can have the weight you want.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online August 3, 1999

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