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Mary Oves
Published: Monday, January 03, 2011
Mary Oves
The heavy burden of losing weight

The titles hit me as soon as I walked into Borders book store.

Diet books.

Oh, excuse me, I mean lifestyle books. Because everyone knows, of course, that diets don't work. We must change our eating until it becomes part of our lifestyle.

Blow hards.

Christmas is over, and now we must repent. And oh, are there ever plenty of experts who are willing to tell us so. Over and over and over.

Gone are the four food groups of lasagna, roast beef, mashed potatoes and everything au-grautin. Enter crucifers, Greek yogurt, and lean protein. Farewell to cheese trays, pepperoni and onion dip. Hello nuts, greens, salmon and soy milk.

Oh, you're rolling your eyes? Don't tell me. You're one of those people.

You eat well all year. You don't struggle. You maintain your weight through a balanced diet of healthy food and exercise.

And let's not forget that you who resemble what you eat.

You're as stiff and unyielding as a celery stalk. As cold as a piece of fish. As crunchy and dry as steel-cut oats.

While the rest of us who make up flawed humanity are as warm as buttered bread. As soft and sweet as a cupcake top. As juicy and tangy as a seasoned filet.

At least that's what we like to tell ourselves. Audible sigh.

The first title I saw was the tentatively inquisitive "Why Do We Get Fat?" I thought what a silly question, because the book right next to it was matter-of-factly called "This Is Why You're Fat."

The two authors should have talked to each other. They could have written one book and split the difference.

Some titles were overtly imperative, like "Get Energy," or confrontationally belligerent, like "Bring It." These authors have obviously decided that picking a fight with us will get us motivated.

There were some books that predicted the future, like "Sexy Forever" and "The Life You Want."

Sexy forever? That is an oxymoron, with stress on the moron. No one is sexy forever, with minor exceptions like Sophia Loren, Racquel Welch, and Helen Mirren. They'll be hot in their caskets.

And I have The Life I Want. I just want it while eating banana pancakes.

Some personalized the diet experience by supplying chapters like "Your Adrenal Gland and You." It did make me feel warm and fuzzy, but also a little guilty. My adrenal gland isn't even on my Christmas card list, and I don't think I'm up to getting to know it too well. I still have second cousins I need to have over for dinner.

Some of the books suggest goals that seem totally reachable, like "400 Calorie Fix," "Four Hour Body," and "Just 10 lbs." These are very tempting to pick up, because who can't cut 400 calories? That's one granola bar, or one cappuccino. And ten pounds can be lost in two to four weeks, if you're very stringent. And who can't devote four hours a week to work out?

It's what we do after those 10 pounds, four hours and 400 calories that pose the problem. Because we're often alarmed to find out that it's four hours and 400 calories for the rest of our lives.

Lifestyle, people, not diet.

There was a title that appealed to the teacher in me, "A Course in Weight Loss." I love learning, and education. I want to sit down in a corner with a cup of tea and a highlighter, and learn learn learn.

Application has always been the rub.

These experts are trying to help. They are fit and disciplined, and trying to explain their discipline in as simple terms as they can. And we appreciate it. And we get it.

Healthy foods.

Moderation.

Portion control.

Food is not love.

No cheese, no dairy, no gluten, no caffeine, no diet soda, no sugar, no wheat products, low carb, low protein, high protein, nothing white, nothing fried, nothing creamy, no meat, no eggs, egg whites, no yolks, no alcohol, red wine, black tea, green tea, no tea, no butter, no margarine, no nothing!

Exercise.

Moderate walking, high intensity running, take it easy, at your own pace, train for a marathon, bands, balls, weights, cross training, do what you love, Bring It!, surf, run, walk, bike, boot camp, beach training, meditation, yoga is the only way to go, Pilates, yogalates, Piloga (I made that one up), run with your mate, run with your dog, run with your kid, run with yourself, run with whomever will motivate you!

Phew.

Getting to know my adrenal gland sounds a lot easier.



 

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