Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Omar Cruz said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jimmy Clark said…
Does anyone recommend a good body fat scale that is accurate? I saw a post on thedailyskinny.com that was comparing body fat scales to calipers and it said they weren't as accurate… is that true?

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome Back to Book a Week with Jen!

Hello hello! Yes, the rumors (that I started) are true. On New Year's Day, I fired up the old Book a Week with Jen blog, gave it a new domain, and I'm going to be writing about my reading habits once again. If you don't know me, my name is Jen A. Miller , and I'm a freelance writer and author. I've been freelancing now for 17 years, and in that time, have written hundreds of articles, three books ( two about the Jersey Shore and one about running ), and two ebooks ( both about freelance writing ). If you're not new around here, wow a lot has changed. I wrote a memoir , picked up a regular running column for the New York Times , and put that back down again. I ran a lot of marathons, and got into ultra marathoning, which lead me to run my first 24 hour race on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day 2020/2021 . My first dog, Emily, died in 2017 . I sold my first home, lived out of my car for a year traveling the country , scooped up a scruffy cattle dog mix in Ida

Book 5 of 52: Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen

I don't always try to match my reading to what I'm doing, but when I go to Florida, I try to pack at least one Florida weird book. There was no better novel to bring with me to read on a ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park , than Carl Hiaasen's Stormy Weather . Hiaasen was writing about #floridaman before #floridaman was a thing (and when this - # - was the pound sign).  Stormy Weather is set in 1992 in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which is still the most destructive hurricane to have ever hit Florida, and only one of four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. still at Category 5 strength. According to the Miami Herald , Hurricane Andrew destroyed 63,000 homes and damaged another 101,241. Such disasters bring out the best in humanity but also the worst. F raud flowed into South Florida in Andrew's wake . That's where  Stormy Weather comes in. From an advertising executive who yanks his new wife away from their Walt Disney World honeymoon to r

Book 11 of 52: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In my travels, I've accumulated photos in what I call the "Plants Where They Shouldn't Be" series. They're of weeds, flowers and trees growing in places that look uncomfortable: poking out of lava that's OK to walk on but warm enough to generate steam, growing around a mile marker on the road, sprouting on the back of a parking sign - that kind of thing. On the cheesy side, they're reminders that we can flourish in the most unlikely circumstances. On a more realistic end, they show that humans are constantly battling back nature, and that someday we'll probably lose the fight. I thought about those photos when I read  book 8 of 52 Station Eleven  (and watched  the HBO Max adaptation ), which show a world without 99.99 percent of our current human population. The story focuses on people, of course, but set them in a world where the things humans have created - electricity, internet, buildings, bridges, roads - are being taken back by nature. A Jersey Sh