Picking on diets

I don’t like the word diet. It has such a temporary connotation, as if we have no intention of making a long term commitment to healthy eating. And worse? Diets often have little to do with good health, and everything to do with vanity. Who cares how healthy it is, as long as we get skinny? Remember the cabbage soup diet, or the claims that you could lose ten to fifteen pounds in a week?

Check out this bit from a web site extolling the virtues of cabbage:

Cons: Some people find the soup bland. Some people have reported feeling light-headed, weak, and have suffered from decreased concentration (although some who have been affected in this way felt it was well worth it, since it was only for a week and they had lost considerable weight).

Or there’s this little nugget (figuratively speaking ;-) they left out: it makes your intestines eligible for hazard pay.

By learning a few basic surgery techniques you could lose that ten to fifteen pounds in a matter of hours, not days. Heck, it might be closer to twenty. (You’d have to learn to hop though.)

Wow, when you put it like that, it’s *like* totally worth it.

When I hear my wife, a family member or a friend mention the word diet, I immediately ask myself, “why not aspire to more?” Ah, but sometimes I live for being the silent (cowardly) contrarian.

Unfortunately, I’m right in the middle of another failed attempt at lifestyle change. My problem isn’t carbs, fats or sweets (or all three at a fast food joint)… it’s much harder to avoid. I’m addicted to calories. If it doesn’t come from a cow and it’s got calories, chances are I like to eat it – and in large quantities. I’ve got a database on my Palm for counting the calories I eat during the day, and that usually keeps me on the straight and narrow for a few weeks. It doesn’t help me to starve myself like the Cabbage patch kids, but it helps keeps me honest on the portions. Unfortunately, it’s not enough.

There’s something everywhere I go. I refill my water bottle at work and there’s a box of donuts sitting on the table. I go to my in-laws for dinner and they’ve got a coconut creme pie that must asexually reproduce in their refrigerator. Or worst of all, I go to the wine store and see my diet’s yellow kryptonite on the teaser rack at the checkout isle – a white chocolate concoction made by the evil geniuses at Lindt that has enough calories to sustain a family of four for a week.

Well, no… not really, but it was a fun sentence to write.

If the best way to avoid eating poorly is to avoid temptation, yet temptations are everywhere, what do you do? Judging by the increasing rates of obesity in this country, maybe the answer is you don’t.

Boy, that’s depressing.

Give the gift of words.