Totie Fields once quipped “I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is 2 weeks.” If you’ve ever been on a diet, you can probably relate.
Personally, I hate the word “diet”. I try to avoid it as much as possible when I speak with patients. Mostly because I don’t believe in the concept. Diet’s don’t work.
There. I've said it.
I have seen so many different diet ideas being exalted. And I’ve tried a lot of them to be more knowledgeable about what my patients were doing. I’ve been on the Banana Diet (lasted 3 days), the Grapefruit Diet (5 days), the Cabbage Soup Diet (almost fainted day 4 and dealt with lots of gas), followed “Eat Yourself Slim” – the original glycemic index monitoring diet, did the Fat Flush Plan (did well for a while until I got sick of the psyllium), was a supportive companion of my husband’s Atkins kick (I’m not sure I can ever eat bacon again!), did Southbeach…but regardless of which diet I was following, in the end it got either too boring or too restrictive. And ultimately I think that’s why diets fail – they are radical departures from our normal routines and they all result in some sense of deprivation – and with deprivation comes want and obsession.
Somewhere along the way, we managed to lose our healthy relationship to food. Food has gone from being what it should be - a necessity and a pleasure - to being something it shouldn’t be - an enemy and a punishment. We are either guilt ridden if we enjoy eating something “bad”, or try to punish ourselves through deprivation. The balance is gone.
None of us should be dieting. We should simply be eating more foods that help promote health and fewer foods that help promote disease. Everything else would then just take care of itself.
When I set out to create Step One Foods, weight loss was not the primary goal of the program. The primary goal was to create an exceptionally nutritious line of products that promoted cardiovascular health by delivering specific levels of key nutrients from whole food ingredients.
And, as evidenced by cholesterol responses, the foods do just that. But many people also began reporting weight loss. It wasn’t that they were dieting. They were simply eating more foods that helped promote health. Everything else was simply taking care of itself.
It’s not about weight. It’s about health.
So let’s please stop with the Keto and the Paleo and the Cookie diets. Instead, let’s do what actually works for health and weight - eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.
Elizabeth Klodas MD, FACC