Your Diet Strategy for 2010: Eat in Moderation
To Americans, the idea of eating in moderation is a hard pill to swallow. It is boring, painstaking, slow, and hard to figure out.
As a result, when we decide to lose weight, we prefer the aggressive diets that limit food intake to a single ingredient or a limited number of food choices. Think about all the crazy diets that have cropped up in the last couple of years: grapefruit diets, the Atkins diet, cookie diets, low carb, no carb, low fat, no fat. Heck, we even have fast food chain diets: the Subway diet and the new Taco Bell drive-thru diet. Throw in the detox diets, and there is no end to the diet plans one can follow.
And we follow them with gusto, despite the fact that they leave us starving and obsessed with food, give us bad breath, and promote terrible gas. My husband's whole office went on a detox diet last year that called for over a week of drinking a mixture of cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Yum!
How do such intelligent people lose their minds? Why even contemplate following one of these diets?
However crazy, there is certain appeal to these diets. For one, people who are looking to lose weight want help. They don't know what to eat, so following a diet that consists of one food item makes things pretty easy and thoughtless. And, of course, Americans want things quickly. While quick is not always bad, when it comes to weight loss, quick is never accomplished in healthy ways.
So what is a girl who wants to improve her diet to do?
If you want to improve your diet, the single most important thing you can do is eat in moderation. Fads come and go, even in nutrition. First we thought that the low fat was the nutritional answer to our obesity epidemic, then we thought high protein was. The people who take all the diet advice to heart and dive into the latest fad get burned and jaded in the long run. My advice? Follow the latest nutritional advice and research, but keep it in perspective and don't ever assume that the latest finding is the "single bullet" you've been looking for. Nutrition is a young and imperfect science that is still evolving.
Eat as many "real" foods as you can and keep your diet varied. Add in walnuts and salmon, for example, to get your Omega 3's. Skip all the crap that claims to be infused with Omega 3's. Keep it simple, informed, moderate, and delicious. That is a diet strategy that you can stick to.