Firstly I have to admit that just before starting this (and right now!) I am breaking my diet and eating a warm chocolate chip toffee cookie that just came out of the oven. I swore when I put them in I wouldn’t break down, but then I thought about that “woman” trying on earrings in Tiffany’s, that expensive pair of Dolce Gabbana shoes in Henri Bendel, or eyeing the pastries at the window of Laduree, and I found myself saying what she said, “what the hell, you only live once” and I grabbed a gooey cookie and didn’t utter another word until it was gone, crumbs and all!
No, I am not on that kind of diet, the one where the word “diet” means to most people a thing you do for a block of time to loose weight. It is used more specifically to mean the food I eat on a daily basic: my actual diet! I suppose you could say my Life Diet.
I am not a big believer in changing your diet to loose weight and then when you are happy with what the scale says, you invariably revert back to your old eating habits. I mean, what’s the point? Doing that would drive me crazy.
We are vulnerable creatures with weak resolve (not knocking this, just a fact) which is why there are so many people on “diets” of one kind or another. I am a practicable woman who is aware of her weaknesses and therefore have decided to build them into my life as part of me – like not worrying or fretting over that chocolate chip toffee cookie I just ate!
The Blood Type Diet I am on (read diet experiment to find out more) is a complete overhaul of everything I eat and hones in on what is recommended for my blood type, which is A+. There are four main blood types, O, A, AB and B and each blood type, according to the theory of eating what the generations and generations of people with these blood types have been eating for thousands of years, I am sticking to what the “A’s” began eating. The A’s came from the time when meat was getting scarce and people started to sustain themselves on more of a vegetarian diet. This led to the theory that this food is probably still the best choice for this blood type, and somehow that logic makes sense to me. And, after 1 1/2 years on this diet I am more than convinced that this theory is correct.
This might seem far-fetched to some people but I would rather be guided by something that appears for all intents and purposes an intelligent idea than what I read on a big billboard on my way home yesterday that said, “FREEZE ME SKINNY” Really – come on, how do people fall for such crap? Diet inventing companies sit around all day long coming up with how to give people the instant cure where there is absolutely no onus on the dieter to do a lick of work to achieve their goal of losing weight. Companies are making millions on desperate people who want a magic solution to something that is so easily remedied for Zero $$$.
The one thing that most people lack is motivation, and, should I say this out loud?…. some people are bone lazy. Yes, it requires a little thought and planning, but who told everyone who wanted to loose weight that they had to eat salad all day long! I grew up in Ireland in a time when there were no fast food restaurants, no convenient fuel stations with instant food that you could eat in the car to and from work, and where half (or more) of the supermarket aisles were filled to the brim with prepared food (mind you, Ireland is as bad as everyone else at this point were instant food is concerned).
All of this of course made it easier to stick to eating home-cooked meals which were, by and large, made with fresh ingredients (although my mother was fond of using packaged soups as an easy way to boost the flavor of anything that appeared bland!). I grew up in an Ireland where I rarely saw an overweight parson, and when I did it was usually from drinking too many pints (of beer that is) and not from eating too many potatoes! Things have changed in that regard and I’m afraid with “prosperity” came fast and easy foods for people who were too busy with work to bother watching what they fed themselves. What a shame as now the country has a pretty big problem with obesity numbers rising every year. In fact the number of overweight people in Europe has tripled since the 1980’s and a great number of these people are children!
Our poor children are the victims. They trust the adults in their lives are doing the right thing: they trust their parents, their school who provides lunches and the companies whose target market are kids – they trust that these people and institutions have their best interests at heart – but do they, do we care enough? According to the numbers: apparently not!
In England the chef Jamie Oliver turned the school lunch program around and it has made a significant difference. We all know what to do, so why don’t we do it. The logic is so simple, it is embarrassing. If we tell our children what is good, they will believe us! I have kids, I know. I told them that places like McDonald’s (and so many more like them) are serving the food that make people fat (yes, fat!) and they believe me. I told them sparkling drinks are full of sugar and do nothing to quench your thirst, and that most (yes, I know not all) fast food and convenience foods are full of things that are not doing your body any favors in the long-term, like hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, nitrates, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, msg, should I go on? These kids will do the same to their kids because they won’t know any better and the cycle will continue.
I firmly believe that with a little guidance and a concerted effort things could change. This of course would not make the “pushers” of revolutionary diets and diet pills happy – it is a gazillion dollar industry and unfortunately we seem to love money more than we love ourselves or our children. We have let everyone but ourselves dictate what we put into our bodies because we don’t have the time, don’t really care, or trust that the people making our food have our best interest at heart. The person responsible should be you and you alone. Educate yourself about what is good and what is bad. It really doesn’t take that long to figure out that cooking something as simple as a roast chicken at home is better for you than ordering a pizza loaded with toppings or sticking a pasta microwaveable dinner in the oven. It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or diet and nutrition expert) to figure out that drinking a glass of water over a can of coke actually alleviates your thirst.
The big part is saying “no” to those things, and I know this is the toughest thing of all. We don’t want to deprive ourselves, but think about what you will be saying no to? You will be saying no to feeding you and your family unhealthy food that can most certainly lead to weigh problems triggering more serious health problems down the road, like diabetes, heart disease, depression, to name just three. According to The National Center for Health statistics 63% of Americans are overweight – this is an insane number and don’t get me started on what this does to health care costs!
I know I am not a doctor or health specialist in the field of nutrition but most people who are responsible for feeding their family on a daily basis are not either so we most certainly can have an opinion on the matter. I have the daily task of feeding myself and my family and I think all of us who have this responsiblity (which is absolutely everybody) should try to at least cut out some of the bad and replace it what we know to be good and healthy. You don’t need to be a nutritional expert, you just have to care enough to do it.
Okay – my Blood type A diet is as I have said a logical diet for me to follow and I started it not to loose weight, but to feel better. Lots of times when I thought I was eating the right foods they made me feel bad, like every time I ate potatoes I got a stomach ache and red meat just made me downright ill. These foods are not any cause for weight gain when eaten in the right proportion and cooked correctly, so for someone else they are great foods. For me they are not, so I have used my Blood Type A guidelines (which recommend me not eating those foods) and eliminated them from my diet. Did doing this help my poor tummy? – it did in fact, so now I avoid these foods (and the others on my list) and I feel great.
I don’t think of it as a diet at all. I just steer clear of what I should avoid and eat everything else. I look at what I can eat in a positive way and cook whatever I want. When I want to break down and eat something that might have an ingredient that is on my avoid list (like butter in the cookies) I don’t worry about it and just don’t go overboard or spiral into a guilty depression afterwards. The worst thing about the word diet is that it makes you think you are depriving or punishing yourself. People go to extremes when they are on their “diet” of choice – like the time my friend wanted so badly to eat a french fry and went through agony watching this woman at another table eating a plate of them. I told her to order some and eat a few, but she just said she had to wait until she had reached her goal and then promised herself she would down a whole boatload as a reward! And this is the real problem with diets: torturing yourself and then going to the other extreme when the diet is over. Like I said, build the bad stuff you like into your diet and you will never have to be on a diet again.
I know that we are all different and each body responds to foods in their own unique way. So, learn how your body works, even if you have to write it down in a notebook, like:” I ate an orange and my stomach felt queasy”, or “I ate a slice of meatloaf and I got heartburn” If you then avoid those things it won’t take you long to build up an “avoid’ list. Anyway, that is sort of what I did and it works for me. If you read the blog you will see that I love all kinds of foods and I still cook meat dishes for my family (which I of course try a little of for taste and flavor) but I love feeling good more than the pleasure I get from eating a bowl of something that I shouldn’t so I just avoid it and feel happy all the way around. Just because I don’t eat meat or tomatoes (both on my avoid list) doesn’t mean they are not beneficial to someone else: in other words, these one size fits all diets will never work right across the board so try honing in on how you respond to food. Just because Jennifer Aniston mixes raw flax seeds into her cereal in the morning doesn’t mean it’s what you should do! I know deep down we know what our bodies don’t like so all we have to do is pay attention.
The other thing is exercise. I will be brief. I think exercise is a really great thing but it is another case of one size not fitting all. You need to do something you like or you will never keep it up and I firmly believe you can loose weight by changing what you eat and by NOT exercising. I know this is a crazy thing to say seeing as all we ever hear is Diet & Exercise, Diet & Exercise, but really the food bit is the most important. If you concentrate on eating right you will lose weight faster than if you eat that snickers bar and not worry because you are going to run it off afterwards. The whole “running it off” theory is a bit ridiculous as to get rid of that snickers bar you would have to run anywhere from 2 to 4 miles depending on your weight and how fast you ran. Eating crap and then running it off defeats the purpose. I say, start with the diet and I mean the diet for life diet and then find something active you like to do and do it in moderation. If you like to dance: dance, if you like to swim: swim, etc etc Remember that eating foods that are toxic to your system are just plain old bad for you and exercise is not a remedy for that – avoid eating bad stuff!!!
The bottom line is that obesity is killing people and this worries me, especially seeing children under the age of 12 with weight-related diseases. It makes me so upset to watch parents and other people in authority, like school cafeterias, feeding children food that will eventual be the cause of a lifetime of problems and bad eating habits. We need to start cooking again and it doesn’t take as much time as you think. It is time that should never be thought of as a burden or a torment. It is you life you are talking about and as I said at the beginning of this piece, “what the hell, you only live once”, so make it a healthy happy one.