Deprivation diet? Not for me…

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I really don’t do well on deprivation. How about you?

All of the diet crazes out there are mind baffling to me.  Sure I would like to shed a few of these pounds I’ve adopted. So I figured I’d dig in a little deeper to the latest diet claims. The low carb trend has managed to stick around the longest. Hey, you can eat as much bacon as you want! Certainly there is some science to back up weight loss with reduced carbohydrate intake. However anyone I know on an Atkins-type diet is miserable. The only thing they can think about is a baked potato or a croissant. Who can forget the years of existing on grapefruit, followed by the cabbage soup diet and of course the assortment of liquid shakes. The latest craze seems to be the ‘fat burning’ diets.

Recently I went to listen to someone extoll the benefits of ‘fat burning’ diets. It was quite an earful.  From what I have learned various forms are out there but all claim to have you shedding a pound a day by turning on your bodies ‘fat burner’. These are mostly all marketed as ‘medical weight loss’ although the person I was speaking with didn’t have any medical degree nor offer any blood or hormone testing. The fact that they checked my blood pressure didn’t give me much comfort in the ‘medical’ part of this program. This fellow was a ‘salesman’, period. ( some of these programs are offered through licensed medical doctors) Various options exist with these ‘fat burning’ programs. Some involve hormone shots, others a series of electrolytes, vitamins and appetite suppressants. Others nothing more than the diet itself. But the real kicker is, it is an extremely restricted diet. The more generous plans allow up to 800-900 calories a day, the restrictive ones a mere 500 calories. A big claim is that you will not need to engage in an exercise program as your body will simply be burning fat all on it’s own. Well, duh, on 500 calories a day I wouldn’t have the energy to get out of my chair, much less go for a two mile walk on the beach or a yoga class. Food options are very limited and apparently timing is also crucial.  On this particular plan, you are allowed 3-4 oz of lean chicken or fish with a green twice a day. That’s it. I was reminded that ‘you wont be hungry because your body will be satisfied with your fat stores it will be consuming’.  I felt compelled to interject around this time, “you do understand I own a gourmet food business?”  Okay, yes, you will loose weight this way. But I’m pretty sure your body will be convinced you are trying to kill it. I also can’t imagine the amount of discipline required to keep the rest of your household from putting a pillow over your face because you are not going to be fun to live with. Oh, did I mention these plans start at around $700 and go UP from there. So now, your hungry and your bank account is a skinny as your waistline is promised to be.

So the ‘salesman’ I was speaking to went on to  explain that following this ‘deprivation diet’ you are to transition into a paleo-type diet. I’ve read up on the basics of the Paleo diet and of course know friends who are convinced it’s the only healthy choice. (they probably did the grapefruit thing too) Yea for them. This fellow went on for several more  minutes of extolling the benefits of eating as the paleo man did. Feasting  on fresh meats, and all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Things the paleo man/ caveman could hunt and gather. It was further explained, the paleo man did not consume  things such as grains, dairy or legumes. (Side note, the includes beer and wine but distilled spirits are okaying moderation). The consumption of these ingredients cause havoc to your digestive system and must be avoided. This is where I just can’t follow.

Hmmm, there are whole sections of civilization who have managed to sustain their culture by eating little more than grains and legumes. Dairy? Cheese has been a protein to sustain many a community through frozen winters.  There are valid arguments that we are the only species that consumes the milk of another species. We are also the only species to have gone to the moon. So wow, all I can say is “Pass the cheese, please”. Granted, some people are allergic to all dairy, some are allergic just to the lactose, others only certain animals milk. There are also people who absolutely can not tolerate any form of gluten. Others who react violently to soybeans, corn, peanuts and other things. If that’s you, stay away from what makes you ill.  You will indeed be much happier and healthier by avoiding these items in your diet. Be thankful you know the source of your issues and enjoy the things which you can eat. But for the rest of us…I’m convinced moderation and a varied diet is the key. (and  a grilled cheese sandwich is thing of glory. Just go for that nice long walk afterwards.)

I just know that for me, depravation diets  do not produce good results. After hearing this plan all I wanted to do was go home, make a batch of black lentil and Farro salad and have a plate full of the cheesiest, creamiest truffle mac and cheese ever and wash it down with a glass of Cabernet!

Now if you are happy and satisfied on your paleo lifestyle by all means ‘bless you!”, but if you really want to stay in the paleolithic period you might want to consider giving up your iPhone.

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