Ending 100 Years of Dieting Dead Ends

By Martin Brown

weird-dietThe January 2013 issue of Health, which focuses on, no surprise, weight loss; has a wonderful guide to diet advice over the past 100 years. The cigarette brand, Lucky Strike, for example, suggested in 1925 that you reach for a Lucky every time you’re tempted to reach for a sweet. Good idea to the extent that cigarettes are non-caloric; bad idea, because as we came to learn, cigarettes will kill you, chocolates, on other hand, will not.

In the early 1950s the “Cabbage Soup Diet,” promised followers that they could lose ten or more pounds a week by making a bowl of cabbage soup a part of their daily diet. In 1975 the nation took up the idea of a Florida doctor who introduced the “Cookie Diet.” A special blend of cookies blended with amino acids that became a Hollywood rage until one year later when something else came along.

And their is always something else, from a slender Jane Fonda in leg warmers doing her “No pain, no gain,” aerobic exercise program, to 1983’s Jazzercise craze, to Dr. Atkins 1992 “Diet Resolution,” followed by another low-carb craze in 2003 called the South Beach diet, this colorful map of dieting history from the founding of Weight Watchers in 1963 to the crazy HCG Diet of 2011 only proves what serious-minded doctors and researchers have said for decades, if you consume fewer calories, or burn more calories than you ingest, you will lose weight. Whether it’s reaching for a cigarette, instead of a candy, making one more bowl of cabbage soup or burning calories like a demon that one truth remains unchanged.

Don’t be fooled by this nonsense and a whole lot more. You don’t need a magical diet plan, or an exotic workout schedule. What you need is to use the common sense that  you have had all your life.

Start by knowing your own weaknesses. All of us have certain foods that we are more likely to over consume. For some of us that’s fatty products like ice cream, and cake. For others it’s salty products like chips and dips. Humans are highly susceptible to the lure of fat, sugar, and salt. Know your own weak spots and make a conscious effort to avoid them.

Did you know that 80 percent of the calories you consume most like come out of your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator? What you don’t bring into the house, you most likely won’t eat. And when you do overeat, say on that night out at the Cheesecake Factory,  it won’t have  that significant a hold on your overall weight because it’s far less than an everyday indulgence.

In my book, The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution Diet, I talk only about common sense solutions. Exotic diet and exercise plans make for great conversation starters at cocktail parties but they never provide you with what you truly need, the tools and the knowledge to manage your own food consumption and exercise program.

A century worth of “diet miracles” and we’re much heavier today on average than anyone would have thought possible in 1913. Step away from the noise, and the hype, and choose a path that will sustain you for a lifetime. There’s no better time to start than right now!


UNYRDMartin Brown
 is the Heath Channel Editor for SingleMindedWomen.com, and author of The Ultimate New Years Resolution Diet

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