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It’s Not a Diet: It’s a Lifestyle Change (Part 1)

I am not on a diet. I have changed my lifestyle as it pertains to food and exercise.

What’s the difference?

Conceptually, diets are of finite duration. They prescribe what, when and how much food you can eat. They involve counting calories or points. All too often the diet becomes a new obsession and when the novelty wears off or it becomes too difficult to maintain the momentum, the old eating habits are resumed. Old patterns prevail and the weight lost regained.

In the old “Deal-A-Meal” program devised by Richard Simmons, there was a wallet with cards that represented food choices. I recall the commercial verbiage. It went something like this: “When you have moved all the cards from one side of the wallet to the other, you are done eating for the day.”

I used to watch that commercial and laugh. “Bet me,” I’d say to myself, knowing that little wallet system would never work for me.

It was one diet I never even tried.

And I tried my share, including the Stillman diet which, as I recall, involved a lot of eggs and grapefruit. For awhile in the early ’80’s, the Loma Linda diet was the craze. That’s the one where you eat certain foods on certain days. One day was vegetables and brown rice. All day. I had the instructions on a single sheet of paper and it said you should “stuff, stuff, stuff.” One day was beef and tomatoes. One day was bananas and milk. I remember that because it was my favorite day. I used the 8 bananas and milk to make banana smoothie-type drinks in the blender.

And then there was Opti-Fast. After Oprah came out on stage in those skinny jeans pulling the little red wagon full of fat, a lot of us signed up. I wanted a waist like that.

There was no food involved. Just what I called “liquid doo-doo.” That’s what it tasted like. I had graduated from bananas and milk to doo-doo shakes made in the blender several times a day.

Every week you were required to attend a meeting and undergo lab tests which checked for the presence of ketones in the urine1 to make sure you weren’t cheating by eating food.

And the meetings were torture: A bunch of fat women (there were no men) sitting around kvetching about their weight . . . and how hard it was to stay on the “liquid doo-doo” plan. They were a bunch of whiners! Every time I came out of those meetings, I had an incredible urge to eat a whole pizza by myself.

And a couple of times I did. Oprah later confessed that she had cheated, too.

That time I lost about 65 pounds. I got back into my pre-first pregnancy jeans. I was looking pretty good and was within a whisper of zipping the wedding dress.

Then I went off the diet. And I gained back the 65 pounds, as did Oprah. And more.

To be continued . . .


  1. Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrates in the diet. The test monitors a very low carbohydrate diet.

2 Comments

  1. I totally agree you!
    I am making a diet for 4 month now and for sure I have to do this my hole life cause i have to chance my hole lifestyle. 😳

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