So many people throw common sense out the window when they start a diet. First of all, I have to say that ‘dieting’ never works long term when you are obese; because we go on a diet and then when we reach our goal we go off the diet. Dieting, as many of us have come to experience it, is the opposite of making lifestyle changes. When summer was starting I heard so many people talk about “going on a diet for the summer.” The statement that “I’m going on a diet” for a certain length of time makes me ask, what are you going to do when summer ends? What are you going to do on Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas? These are days that many people eat with abandon, without one thought of what they are putting into their mouths. I speak from experience, because I was one of those people.
There are so many diets out there. There are all kinds of fad diets that dieters go on hoping to lose a significant amount of weight. In the United States there are 60 million obese people, and somewhere around 9 million people are morbidly obese. The startling thing is, as educated as we seem to be about health and wellness, 1 out of 3 of us are obese.
According to the United Stated National Institute of Health obesity is defined by a BMI of 40 or higher, and if there are medical conditions related to obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes type II, or sleep apnea the BMI for obesity the BMI for obesity can be lowered to 35 and above. Fad diets are not going to help these people; in fact, fad diets can be especially dangerous to us who are obese.
So many people jump on the bandwagon when they hear about a new diet that is being talked about. I remember when it was the rage to purge. I did that as a way to lose weight when I was in my early twenties. Back then skinny models were put on the covers of magazines, and there were articles advocating purging to stay thin, or to lose weight. The consensus was that the models do it, so it is a good thing to do. I didn’t lose weight back then, but I did cause some ulcers to form on my esophagus. Purging with bulimic behavior or with laxatives is drastic and harmful to your body, but people still do it, even though we know of the deaths that have resulted from this behavior.
A fad diet, the 7 day diet, just came to mind that my mom put me on when I was a kid. Yes, I was a fat kid, but this diet was absolutely the dumbest diet she ever put me on. Each day you ate all you could eat of certain foods. On Monday I could eat most fruits, but I couldn’t eat a banana. On Tuesday I ate all the cooked or raw vegetables I could eat… mom usually made me cabbage soup on this day. Then on Wednesday I could eat veggies and fruits, and Thursday I could have bananas and milk, and on Friday chicken and veggies all day, and then Saturday and Sunday I was allowed to have beef and veggies for each meal. There was no balance of nutrients from day to day, and I didn’t lose weight. Speaking of cabbage, she also put me on a cabbage soup diet. Every day I could only eat cabbage soup.
When these fad diets didn’t work she took me to my doctor and asked him to put me on diet pills. So then for a few months I was taking speed. The drug, Dexedrine, is no longer on the market. I lost a significant amount of weight with the Dexedrine. I used to have a picture of me at 15 in a bikini, and I never was able to wear one afterward, because the weight came right back when I came off the speed.
It is drummed into our heads that we have to make healthy eating our new lifestyle, and the way to stay healthy is to keep the lifestyle in tact after the weight is gone. What does your body need? Your body needs calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, and the B vitamins. I’ve made a short list of foods that are good sources of these vitamins.
Vitamin A – You should focus on the low fat versions of dairy, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon with bones intact, and veggies such as broccoli and Kale.
Potassium – Here’s where your fruit and veggies come in: Fruits such as oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, apricots, and of course veggies like tomatoes (which is really a fruit), spinach, lima beans, and bell peppers. Low fat milk and meat are also good sources of potassium. If you like apples, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries, they do have potassium in them, but not a lot.
Magnesium – I love oysters, and fortunately they are a good source of magnesium. Here’s a short list of magnesium rich foods: black beans, broccoli, halibut, scallops, pumpkin, squash, and also pumpkin and squash seeds, spinach, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread, and soy milk.
Fiber – foods rich in fiber help to fill you up and satisfy hunger for long periods. Here’s the list: apples, avocados, artichokes, blackberries, black beans, barley, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, pears, and whole grain breads and cereals.
Vitamin A – You need to be careful about Vitamin A. You need Vitamin A, but too much can be toxic, especially if you are pregnant. Beta Carotene is good for you, and not toxic, but too much will turn you orange. Here is a list of foods rich in Vitamin A: apricots, egg yolks, cantaloupe, carrots, liver, mangoes, milk, mozzarella cheese, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C – Oranges and Brussels sprouts are my favorite! Here’s a short list: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grapefruit, green cabbage, kale, kiwi, leafy greens, mangos, lemons, nectarines, peaches, peppers, lemons, and strawberries.
Vitamin E – Don’t forget to add olive oil to your menu, it is rich in Vitamin E. Here’s a short list: Almonds, blueberries, collard greens, mustard greens, olives, olive oil, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and papaya.
B Vitamins include: B 1 (Thiamine), B 2 (Riboflavin), B 3 (Niacin), B 5 (Pantothenic acid) B 6 (Pyrdoxine), B 7 ( Biotin), B 9 (Folic acid also known as Folate), and B 12 (Cobalamin). These essential vitamins are needed to help convert the foods we eat to energy. Without the B vitamins we wouldn’t be able to expend energy. B Vitamins are necessary for a healthy nervous system; they are also essential for the formation of red blood cells, and for the maintenance of the cells of the heart and nervous system. You can get B vitamins from such foods as eggplant, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, soybeans, turkey breast, lean beef tenderloin, salmon, yellow corn, yogurt, bananas, oranges, and peaches to name a few.
Every day we should eat the foods that will give us the nutrients we need to have healthy skin, digestive, immune and nervous systems. By using common sense and portion control you can lose weight and stay healthy. Now I feel younger than I have in years. People who have known me for many years have told me I look much younger now than I did 10 years ago. Eating foods rich in the nutrients your body needs will make a huge difference in how you look and how you feel.
And my life