July 13, 2014

The "Diet" Dilemma

I spoke to a friend the other day who told me that she was trying diet after diet and couldn't find any success in any of them. She said she had cut out fat and cut down on her calories significantly and wasn't seeing any results. In fact, she had gained a few more pounds!

This is not uncommon for people who diet. We have an unrealistic idea of what a healthy diet should look like because we have been told so many contradicting things since the low-fat diet guidelines began in the late 70's.  Grains are good, fat is bad. That is the idea that has been blasted to Americans for decades and we have become fatter and unhealthier because of it.

This is not to say that scientists were wrong about the idea that grains are healthy and fat is not. They were still researching and doing studies on the links between diet and health as heart disease began its climb to being the number 1 killer of Americans.  What we don't realize is that not all fats are treated equal! People see fat as the bad guy and eliminate it from their diets while replacing it with processed simple carbohydrates; foods that our bodies don't know how to digest. We replaced butter and lard with vegetable oils and shortening. Interestingly at the same time we stopped eating butter and animal fat and instead eating margarine and oils, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes were on the rise! This is exactly the OPPOSITE of what we were hoping to accomplish, right?

So why has nothing changed? Why do we still encourage Americans to follow the food guide pyramid provided by the USDA when we KNOW that it is slowly killing them?

I don't know the answer to that.  But what I DO know is that when we know better, we do better. Or at the very least, we should try. It's not easy to change. It's not easy to defy everything we have learned throughout life and try to reverse it. It takes time, energy and a LOT of discipline.  And I don't intend or presume to tell people what is right for them.  I just know what works for me and I would feel like I was doing you a disservice if I didn't share my knowledge. I feel good. For the first time in my life, I finally feel GOOD. I know better, so I do better.  And I will pass this onto my children.  Do we have days that are hard? Yes. Of course.  Do we "cheat"? Absolutely.  But no one is telling you to give up all of the things you love. Just take a closer look and make small changes to find out what helps you feel better and live a longer, happier life.

If you get stuck, ask for help. I would love to hear from you and guide you on your journey to a healthier and happier YOU.


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