DIET DETECTIVE: I Tried, I Lost, I Gained


By Laurel House

As a fitness writer (and once body-obsessed chick), I have tried my share of diets. Many of which definitely worked for a short, and I mean short period of time. I slurped bowls of cabbage soup, went raw, created perfectly portioned Macrobiotic meals, tried the Every Other Day idea, and of course gorged on just burger patties with Atkins.

Sure, I did try most of these diets for the sake of magazine articles for which I was the guinea pig. And while they were all different, there was one consistent theme: with each diet, after a while, I wasn’t able to maintain the weight loss. In fact, I ended up gaining all the weight back and more- no joke.

The Pros?

-Yes, to be honest, I did love “banana day” on the cabbage soup diet (I made myself probably 10 banana smoothies).
-The unbaked pizza on the raw diet was shockingly crave-worthy. I mean, I’ve actually eaten it several times since, just as a healthy component to my current diet- which is not a diet at all, but a healthy way of eating.
-I really enjoyed the holistic approach to macrobiotic eating, and in fact liked the food a lot too.
Every Other Day was great because I never felt like I was restricting myself.
-And Atkins, well let’s just say I ate about a dozen McDonalds cheeseburger patties topped with those oddly tasty pickles and ketchup- no bun or fries- and loved every diet-abiding bite!

But that was the positive side.

The Negatives?

Cabbage soup got really old really fast.
Raw left me with an allergy to walnuts (walnuts are a primary source of protein in the diet) and for the first 3 days I had such an intense headache I felt like my brain was in a vice.
Macrobiotic was too incredibly labor intensive to prepare.
Every Other Day really sucked when I had a dinner party or event to go to on one of the “other” days of less food.
-On Atkins I became seriously obsessed with chocolate croissants. I mean, I literally would have dreams about them- kind of like when you wake up in the middle of the night after an evening of drinking and you realize that you have been dreaming about drinking water!

In the end, the problem with each and every one of the above diets was that they didn’t teach me how to eat in normal, daily life situations. I didn’t learn about portion control, carb/protein/fat ratios, calories, or nutrition. Translation: The diets weren’t sustainable. But I did eventually learn a lesson- once I went off the diets, I gained weight, then lost that excess weight by going back to my healthy, balanced food and fitness mentality. The lesson learned was Moderation. That’s it. Obviously I didn’t learn moderation from the diets themselves, but rather from the aftermath and recovery from the diets.

Note To Self: Sustainable Slimming
-Your Favorite Foods
-Snack-size Baggies
Now portion away!
Note It:
-What’s a dieting technique you use that you KNOW isn’t good for you (skipping dinner? Fasting every other day?)?
-Where is your problem area with eating (too big dinners? Ice cream every night?)?
Starting Sentence:
I wouldn’t have to use my dieting technique that I KNOW isn’t good for me if I made these adjustments____________________________________________.

If you want to lose weight, don’t diet. I mean, don’t diet in the conventional “I’m on a diet” sense- the kind that makes it so that you can’t enjoy a cookie here and there, and that you deprive yourself of certain foods, or even food groups. If you want to lose weight, eat a healthy diet and:

Eat the foods you like.
Substitute lower fat alternatives where possible.
Exercise every day.

Remember: sometimes a splurge is okay. Just try to squeeze in an extra 30-minute workout if you can. Food is a pleasure in life. Just balance it out by also including exercise as another pleasure and you’ll be just fine.


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