Diets don't work. I’ve been saying that for my entire career because it's true. Just thinking about dieting automatically makes most of us feel deprived. Even the word diet misleads us into believing that eating high- quality, delicious, and naturally low-fat foods is a temporary activity, rather than the way we're supposed to be eating all the time. What you can learn to do is rethink the way you eat, learn what it is your body needs, and satisfy its true hunger.
According to the American Calorie Control Council, however, forty-eight million adult Americans are dieting. Thirty-one million of these adults are women. Studies have shown that as much as two-thirds of the weight lost through dieting is regained within one year, and nearly all the weight is regained within five years. We're only supposed to be getting 20 to 30 percent of our calories from fat, yet the typical American eats nearly double that. We eat far too much sugar, sodium (salt), and fat, especially saturated fat. We don't eat enough complex carbohydrates. That's why only 15 percent of American adults aged forty to forty-nine fall within the recommended weight range.
The first weight you're going to lose is the excess baggage of a dieter's mentality. Many of us don't eat because our bodies tell us they're "hungry" and need fuel to keep going. We eat because we're unhappy, bored, frustrated ... because it tastes good ... because we're so used to it we don't know where to begin to stop . .. because it gives us (at least temporarily) some form of comfort and stress reduction.
Eating is a complex and emotionally loaded issue, tied into childhood feelings of nurturing and dependence. Do you eat to satisfy an unmet emotional need? Does it make you feel better when you're stressed and anxious? Are you nutritionally "empty" because you've eaten such poor-quality food? You deserve to eat the best foods to fuel your body and satisfy your hunger, don't you?
Food is often used to control behavior, as a punishment or reward. We learn how food "should" taste from our families. If we grew up in a house that put butter on everything before even tasting it, it's hard to eat an ear of corn that's not dripping in butter. But you can retrain your tastebuds to "like" healthier foods, just as you can train your body to do Callanetics.
On top of the emotional issues, finding truly healthy foods is a challenge, especially when we simply don't have time to cook or even think about cooking. Our bodies need more than forty different nutrients for optimal health, and no one single food supplies them all. It's impossible to control the calories of food we don't prepare ourselves. And when we're hungry or bored or exhausted, practically every commercial seems to be for some lusciously fattening calorie-laden yummie. Remember, advertisers are in the business of selling products, not in the business of trying to keep you healthy.
What I'd like to see you do is pay as much attention to your nourishment as you would to a newborn infant. Women aim to give a baby the best-quality food available, breast milk or specially balanced formula to help it grow healthy and strong. No sane woman would give her baby milk it cannot digest. And they also give their babies love and a peaceful, comforting environment while they eat.
This is exactly what we should be doing for ourselves. Successfully thin people may have as many unmet emotional needs as overweight people. The difference is that they don't use food to satisfy feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or boredom.
There is no such thing as a "bad" food: our favorite foods aren't bad in small doses. It's the amount we eat of them that's the problem. Once you learn to stop depriving yourself of what you think is "bad," you'll no longer be so sorely tempted to binge or constantly eat foods that aren't so healthy.
From the book CALLANETICS FIT FOREVER by Callan Pinckney