Strange Brouhaha

Friday, December 31, 2004

"no diet"

Ordinarily, I like the magazine "real simple." But then I saw the February issue, which promised its readers the "no-diet diet." In other words, the "let's-restrict-calories-and-call-it-not-dieting" diet. The arrogance of this camp, which is one of the Big Three (cut fat/cut calories/cut carbs), is mindboggling. "Just be *sensible*!" they write, in what one can only hear as a snotty tone of voice. "Weight control is *simple*! Just *eat moderate portions* and *exercize*! There's *nothing else to it*!" Right, which is why the nation is getting fatter each year.

It boggled my mind to read this article. "This is not a diet. Here's our food pyramid and our portion guide." If you're cutting your steak to make sure it's about the size of a deck of cards, I've got news for you: you're dieting. If you're thinking, "Have I eaten my six cup-your-hands-together portions of whole grains today?", you're dieting. Not dieting looks like this: you eat. What you want. When you want. In blissful ignorance of what portion size it is and what function it serves in rounding out your nutritional intake. Paying attention to your hunger signals, drinking water at meals, and keeping count of cookies, with the vague intention of not eating "too many" (which you determine largely by instinct), is allowed. But that's about it.

Is it simple? Well. Ask the women of Ireland and Italy, traditionally poor countries where traditionally people walked everywhere and worked hard, where the women traditionally were fat by middle age. Ask them how "simple" weight control is.

Non-overweight people who strut around talking about how "simple" it is to "eat sensibly" are like rich people: by and large, they are totally blind to the advantages they've had (like killer genes). So they look down on everyone else, assuming that, but for a little know-how and willpower, they too could be sleek and/or upscale (and funny how those two tend to go together). Grrrr.


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