Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

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bitch session

Yesterday I read some articles on a health site, I think Discovery Health. They were about weight loss.

Sometimes things are repeated so often they become accepted and people believe them to be true. Some of the advice on this site seemed to me to be worth critical attention. For example:

There was a list of "fad diets", followed by the recommendation to make healthy permanent changes rather than try rapid weight-loss diets, which usually lead to rapid weight gain. I agree that when you lose weight quickly you are very likely to regain it. I think the reason is that our bodies are used to a certain weight and they need to adjust to each new level. Getting them to adjust takes time, and if you try to jump the gun chances are your body will react unfavorably. I have certainly had this experience myself.

However, some of the diets on this "fad diet" list were not quick-weight-loss schemes. The Pritikin Diet, for example, asks people to make drastic changes in their diets (assuming they eat the "standard American diet" to begin with), but asks for these changes to be permanent. In other words, it is a new way of eating, period. If you happen to lose weight quickly at the beginning that's to be expected, but that's not the goal of the diet. Over time you are eating in a healthier manner and your weight will reflect the change (not to mention your heart health). The Pritikin plan also includes exercise, of course. Most dieticians will agree that no weight loss plan is going to be permanently successful without exercise.

I think the reason this particular diet was called a "fad diet" is that it is radically different from the standard fare and different from the official recommendations of our government. These official recommendations are a compromise, not necessarily what is best for each of us individually. Also, most people would have to make large changes to be on this plan. It appears that medical professionals believe that Americans are incapable of making large changes in their lives. I disagree. I think we can be given a lot more credit for our ability to change.

The other thing. The site included a recommendation not to exclude tempting foods altogether, but limit your intake. So you can have a candy bar now and then if you crave it, but don't give in to that craving every day. I certainly agree with this. But the follow-up: it said if you give in three times in a row you have fallen off the plan, it's all over, you are back where you started.

Such bullshit! The most important thing we can learn is that we can start over. Even if we fall prey to our own desires again and again we can start over again. We can go from where we are and not feel like failures. This kind of advice is NOT helpful.

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