Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Non-Diet Diet

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The Non-Diet Diet

Diets don't work. If they did the U.S. of A. would be the thinnest, trimmest nation in the world, with over 40 million Americans spending billions each year on weight loss products. In fact, the opposite is true. The Center for Disease Control claims that at least 65% of adults are overweight or obese. With the growing list of woes associated with obesity, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, the weight problem in America has become a serious concern. Yet we continue to look to fad diets as the answer to this serious problem - as if living on bacon and eggs, cabbage soup, or low-calorie meal replacement drinks could ever be construed as a healthy solution.

A review of popular diet programs conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, stated that most weight loss programs offered little or no proof that participants were successful in loosing weight or keeping weight off in the long run. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has stated that of the millions of people that diet, less than 5% of those who actually loose weight will be able to keep it off in the years to come. It has been surmised that a dieter may shed approximately 100 pounds in the course of a lifetime, but gain back 120 lbs. One benefit of weight loss organizations, however, was group support. Dieters who joined support groups appeared to loose more weight than those who decided to go it alone.

Fad diets themselves bring with them a plethora of health concerns. Restrictive low calorie diets can be self-defeating. The body's metabolism slows moving the system into energy conservation mode and holding on to every calorie for future use instead of burning it. Precious muscle mass is broken down, and low lethargy occurs. Low carbohydrate diets can result in dehydration and constipation. The risk of heart disease is escalated due to the increase of bad cholesterol found in animal fats. When nutritional integrity of the body is threatened due to the elimination of a particular food group, the dieter is at risk for many health problems including osteoporosis, certain types of cancers, immune system issues, electrolyte imbalances, and eating disorders. And with diets, as opposed to permanent lifestyle changes, the probability of gaining back what you have lost, and then some, is high.

In a culture obsessed with physical perfection perhaps we must evaluate how we think about weight in general. Are we dieting to be healthy, or just thin? If the later is the objective, then further investigation into dieting motivation may be necessary, but if health is the ultimate goal, then looking at lifestyle changes may the place to start. Are you an emotional eater, have a compulsive sweet tooth, or someone who eats out of boredom? Do you eat fresh foods or only things that come in a box, bag, or through a drive-up window? What is the overall condition of your health? Is your lifestyle sedentary or active? What type of physical activities do you enjoy? Questions like these help you build the foundation for creating a customized Non-Diet Diet - a common sense plan for living that will result weight loss, elevated energy levels, and improved health and well-being.

Quick fixes usually result in long term failures, and while the answer to America's weight problem may not come in the form of a magic diet, it need not be extremely complicated either. Maintaining a sensible meal plan, including complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, good fats, fruit and vegetables, and sweets in moderation, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy attitude regarding the weight/health connection may be the simple answer you've been looking for.

Deborah Martin is a writer, life coach, and co-founder of The Woman Project. For more information regarding her Non-Diet Diet and other programs visit her website at .

Related Links:

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Some Straight Talk About Low-Carbohydrates and Your Health

Atkins Diet -- The Final Verdict

Low Carb Intelligence vs. Low Carb Stupidity

The Hidden Truth About Diets

Diet Resource Site

Diet Articles

The Hidden Truth About Diets

Quick, what's the first thought that pops into your head when you hear the word "diet?" Probably that when you're on one, you feel like you're going to "d-i-e" right?!


Most people believe that a diet is something that involves pain, suffering, and giving up foods we enjoy. Some of the symptoms of "being on a diet" usually include being hungry and cranky all the time. But this is not really the true meaning of the word and if you get hung up on all the negative stuff, you'll miss the entire concept.

Webster's dictionary defines a "Diet" as:

a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed;
b: habitual nourishment;
c: the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person for a special reason.

In other words, it's what we regularly or habitually eat and drink to nourish our bodies. That's not so bad. But here's the hidden truth that will turn your understanding of diets on its head and practically guarantee that you'll reach whatever weight goal you desire: Being "on a diet" really means having a plan for your eating instead of eating according to any spur-of-the-moment mood or habit. That's it!

This is so simple. But then most basic truths are. However, it's extremely powerful if you take the time to think about it and fully understand what it means. Let me say it again so that you don't miss it: Being on a diet really means having what you eat controlled by a PLAN instead of by your moods or habits.


The reason most diets don't work is because of the extreme measures most of them require. Some force you to give up everything except cabbage soup, or everything except meat and meat products, or everything except salads. This is not only monotonous, it's also pretty harsh -- not only harsh to stick with, but harsh on your physical wellbeing as well.

True, a monotonous diet is often effective at losing weight over the short term (ie: the Atkins Diet) but you have to wonder if you aren't giving up a part of your health in the process (ie: ketosis, acidosis, etc). Many conventional diets put the body in a highly acidic state which can create a number of health problems.

Our bodies are designed to absorb vitamins, nutrients, and minerals from a wide variety of foods and a monotonous diet runs directly counter to that. It simply isn't natural, and is the main reason most conventional diets just don't work in the long run.


The right way to diet is to think of dieting as a system of correct eating. Your diet should include a balanced plan for a variety of foods, taken in moderate amounts, and in the proper combination. Eat when you're hungry, not when the clock says it's lunch or dinner time.

So forget the fad diets that don't work and get started on planning a diet that you can stick with over the long term. This is the balanced approach to good health and nutrition, and it's an approach that you can live with for the rest of your life.

Hiram Perez has made good health a lifelong study. Find other simple and common sense techniques to improve your health by signing up for a free 5-part email mini-course at the Balance Your Health website.

Related Links:

Avoid These Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes

You Are What You Eat

Why Many Fat Free Diets Do Not Work

Vegetable Diets: Facts For Fitness