Julia Ross's revised and updated edition of “The Diet Cure” came up today during my nutrition educator training. My fellow nutrition educators were raving about it. My initial thought was, “Ugh, not another diet book.” I have spent so much money on diet books in my life lived with fat, only for them to present such a narrow and incomplete picture of what it takes to lose weight for the long term.
Despite my reservations, I bought a copy, opened to the first page and read this:
“This is not going to be like any diet book you have ever read. I won't mention calories except to forbid you to eat too few! I won't tell you to tune in to your “real” appetite because I know that if you could have you would have long ago. I won't tell you to discipline yourself because I know that your weight and eating habits are not the result of laziness, gluttony, or weak willpower.
You are trapped inside a body that is malfunctioning, and that body needs help. Years of dieting, psychotherapy, and the best pep talks about fitness can't help much when what you really need is a biochemical overhaul.” –Julia Ross, The Diet Cure
I almost cried. “What if I had read this statement when the book came out in 1999?” I asked myself. I couldn't help but think that I could have started to get good information about the real, biochemical reasons for my obesity (I topped out at 270 lbs) a full decade earlier than I did. Would my weight have gotten so out of control had I known about this book? All the time I spent beating myself up over my weak will, would I have felt differently about why I was obese?
I highly recommend this book to you as you start or continue on your weight loss journey. It answers so many of the “whys” of compulsive eating and weight gain. It also includes an awesome section called, “Depleted Brain Chemistry: The Real Cause of 'Emotional' Eating.” I have always thought that the concept of “emotional eating” is code for “you're fat because you can't control yourself and you are weak willed.” Ross clearly outlines why will and emotion have nothing to do with compulsive eating.
Have you read the book? Let me know what you found helpful!
I am taking a brief 2-3 week hiatus from weekly blogging. I need to recharge and refocus my efforts (I am dealing with a stubborn 10 pounds, and need some fresh thoughts about how to think about it). While I am gone though, I will be taking lots of food pictures so I can do more posts about what I eat (mostly to keep me honest!).
So have a great, healthy holiday. Feel free to comment if you need some extra words of encouragement during this typically rough time for those of us who struggle with our weight.
- Unless you have interfering aunts, or an overly-watchful mother, no one really notices what you're putting on your plate. Don't put anything on your plate to satisfy someone else (easier said than done, I know). For the interfering relatives, you can but out the old fashioned, “I'm watching my figure!” Works every time.
- I typically double up on turkey, take a small amount of mashed potatoes, and load up on green veggies. I do have cranberries with my turkey. If I stick to this, I don't have the normal bloated, tired feeling after the meal.
- Dessert is a mine field. I love pie, and there are usually five different kinds to choose from. I leave it to the day to decide if I will have a small piece. I gauge how I am feeling and whether or not I will feel too deprived if I pass on it. Usually, if I can get a nice cup of coffee with real whipping cream I am fine. Otherwise, I go for it. I just insist on a pie made with butter and not hydrogenated oils.
Have a favorite tip for eating during the holidays? Leave a comment.
I am a little late to the party commenting on these Blue Cross Minnesota ads that address the obesity epidemic. First, a couple of statistics:
- By 2019 obesity will become the leading cause of death.
- By 2030 50% of Minnesotans will be obese.
In the face of these terrifying numbers, you can see how it seems like a good idea to highlight food choices and how these choices look to our kids. These ads have been roundly criticized for being too shaming and down right mean. See for yourself.
I think the ads would be appropriate if we had a consistent and coherent message about what people need to do to lose weight; if the people in the commercials knew better, they could do better. But we don’t have these consistent messages. We live in the land of “calories in, calories out,” “Move more!” and other overly simplistic maxims about how to lose weight. We also live in a land where heavily-subsidized foods (corn, soy) are promoted as healthy, but they are making us fat.
It’s all about cravings
Anyone who reads this blog, and who is trying lose weight differently (something other than a one-size-fits-all diet), knows that losing weight takes more than this overly simplistic advice leads us to believe. If we truly want to help people, like the ones in these ads, make better choices, we need to shake off the overly simplistic advice and get real about what it takes to lose weight for the LONG TERM. Until we address the issue of people’s biochemical cravings for the bad stuff, people cannot lose weight. If we are relying on people’s will power to lose weight, which much of the advice does, they will fail over and over like I did for 30 years. No number of ads will change that.
What are your thoughts on the ads? Leave a comment.
I get many questions from people about how I maintain my 90-pound weight loss, and even better, lose weight. It's pretty simple and a bit boring–I plan, plan, plan, then cook, cook, cook. The key to my having healthy carbs, fats, and proteins at the ready is my weekly two-hour cooking session. Here's what I made today.
I will use the food from these recipes to make: meals for my family, my son's lunches, my husband's snacks, and my ample snacks and meals (remember, I eat 5-6 times a day to keep my blood sugar balanced–the best way to lose weight for the long term).
How I make it fun and easy: apps, podcasts, music
Seems like a tall order–making food prep and cooking a fun activity and not a chore–since I have a long list of things I'd rather do. I use Paprika, an iPad/iPhone recipe manager app, to help me keep my recipes organized and easy to follow. I enter recipes into the app or load them from the browser, and then when I'm ready to shop I simply add the recipe to my grocery list. The app is also on my iPhone, which I use to shop and track what I buy.
I like to listen to nutrition podcasts while I cook (yes, I'm that much of a nutrition nerd). I use Downcast to download them and keep them all organized. If I'm in more of a music mood, I turn on the 70's station on Spotify.
Food planning is self care
This is what it all comes down to. When you make food that nourishes your body, you are caring for yourself and your family. I've found that unless it's fun, or at least enjoyable, I won't do it.
I hope you can use these tips and apps to inspire your self-care cooking session!
Have a favorite app that helps you plan? Share a comment now.
For over 25 years, I searched for a quick fix to my weight problem. I chased so many different diet plans and pills that promised quick and effortless weight loss: the cabbage soup diet, appetite suppressants, herbal supplements, etc. My plan of choice for many of those years, Weight Watchers, trained me to expect predictable and steady weight loss with very few ups and downs (side note: A shout out to all Weight Watcher alums–remember the look you would get from the weigher lady when you would lose weight, as opposed to the look you would get when you either stayed the same or gained? I do. I would open my little weight tracking book with a pit in my stomach every time. Yuck!)
What did I get for the 25-year, quick-fix chase? An extra 110 pounds and a sense of hopelessness about the problem.
In my last post, I talk about Dr. Amr Barrada’s sage guidance around processing the emotions around weight loss. He taught me to be very wary of the quick fix. He also taught me a way to think about weight loss that, when paired with a great approach to nutrition, led to my losing 90 pounds. So, by choosing a slower more mindful approach, as opposed to the “lose 30 pounds by summer” approach, I lost 90 pounds in 2 1/2 years. That’s a much better result than the quick-fix chase I was on for 25 years.
Here are five of the items Dr. Barrada taught me about how to approach weight loss differently:
- Set out on a course to lose weight in a quiet, gentle way. Take an easy going approach and try to accept imperfection. As opposed to the high-effort, all-consuming plans that yield poor results (Slimgenics, Jenny Craig, etc.).
- Have low, reasonable expectations. Maybe you will only lose small amounts of weight, but over time those losses will add up.
- Try to accept your current weight and like yourself as you are. This will take time and practice.
- Try to be okay with uncertainty with your weight loss. Tell yourself to “see how it goes.”
- Listen to your body and try to accept the rhythm of slow weight loss. Losing weight slowing definitely has its own rhythm. It is not a straight line down, but more of a wavy line of small weight losses and gains with a downward trend.
I have more of these ideas and will continue to keep this conversation going. I hope this new way of thinking about weight loss helps you find your own way.