My year without dieting is complete, and I find myself enlightened and pleased with the results. I began the quest not to diet in August of 2010, after gaining around 10 pounds on prednisone for an out-of-control poison ivy reaction. Prior to that, I had found my weight creeping up uncontrollably, and struggled to lose it, even when consuming quite low calories. Low carb was no solution. Exercise was no solution (my body clung to fat anyway). So found myself heavier than ever before, and realized something was really wrong with my metabolism and the way my body was handling fat.
I was influenced by author and endocrinologist Diane Schwarzbein. I didn't end up following her diet, though, because it's insanely restrictive. You have to count your carbs AND your protein. You have to avoid all refined flours and starches. You have to avoid "damaged fats" which makes it all but impossible to ever eat in a restaurant, etc., etc. Instead, I tried to follow a reasonably healthy diet according to the 1970's "four food groups" principles I grew up with, as well as common sense.
The surprise to me was how difficult it would be to resist "going on a diet" for a whole year. My eyes were opened to all of the pressures society puts on you. There's media pressure in the form of magazines, television, and newspapers, where "health" columns endlessly promote diets as the solution for just about any medical problem you could imagine. Women's magazines feature diets in every issue. There are even "health" messages in your doctor's office reinforcing the idea that you have to go on a diet. And when you get together with friends and family, you'll almost always find out someone's on a diet, and the conversation will center on that subject. I found that I had to wrestle with my resolution on a daily basis, in order to stay on track.
Like I said, I'm pleased with the results.
Image Credit: mwichary
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