Thursday, January 10, 2008

Article: How dieting stacks up

I thought about reading a diet book or two for this blog. I was sent a slew of them in relation to that article I wrote about self help books, and I piece I just wrapped up for Oxygen magazine. But I don't have the patience, nor the time. Besides, Marilynn Marter of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a great round up herself, which you can read here.

Like self help books, some diet books are good, but a lot are crap, especially those that promise a Jessica Biel body on six minutes a day. It's just not possible -- well, without major surgery.

Aside from books, I write a lot about health an fitness, and I got into it because Inside magazine assigned me to take a six week boot camp through Body Physics Fitness in Haddonfield, NJ and write about it. That was September 2005. I still use the outline of their meal plan, though I've had to add in more carbs since, as a distance runner, I'm working out much more than one hour for three mornings a week.

Even over 2+ down the healthy lifestyle track, I can say this about 'dieting': it's not easy, and it never gets easy. Why? Because of everything out there that you could eat, and it tastes so darn good. I hit a big snag over the holidays, not only because of all the wonderful food put in front of me, but also because I sprained my ankle, which took me off the road, and treadmill. How to get back on track? By doing what I've been doing for the last 2+ years: work out, and eat sensibly by steering clear of processed foods and instead loading up on fruits and vegetables (which do taste good if you give them a chance -- can you think of nothing better to eat on a hot summer day than a ripe peach?) Switching to everything no fat isn't going to help either. There's a reasons nuts are fatty, as is a lot of fish. Fat is a fuel, and one we need, especially if you're working out four days a week. Without that resource, you get hungry and dive right back into the M&Ms.

Now, I'm not perfect. I cheat all the time. Yesterday, for example, was a very stressful day in a series of stressful days, so I treated myself to takeout. And I enjoyed every single bite. But I was back at the gym today, and eating a sensible breakfast, small snack, lunch and second small snack after that. It's all about moderation. If I told myself I couldn't have that takeout because I needed to lose 5, 10, 15 pounds, I would have gotten pissed off. And that's no way to love your meal plan, is it?

So a diet book that promises Hollywood results with as little work as possible? Pass. Pass on the Hollywood figure in general unless you have a nutritionist, trainer and possibly cook. And if you do, would you care to share?

If you're looking for a great food/nutrition/workout blog, check out Fit in Real Life by Dara Chadwick. She was Shape's Weight Loss Diarist for 2007, and still going strong.

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Omar Cruz said...
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Jimmy Clark said...

Does anyone recommend a good body fat scale that is accurate? I saw a post on that was comparing body fat scales to calipers and it said they weren't as accurate… is that true?