January 3, 2005
It's a GREAT New Year, Gosh Darn it! (Pass the grapefruit)

Yes, people are not so happy about going back to work after a holiday break,. but there's something I like about the first couple of weeks of the new year - resolutions.

Not my resolutions, because I don't really make any. Other people's resolutions make me happy. You'll notice this week that everyone you know is on their best behavior. Cranks are trying to be less cranky. Turtle-types are trying to be more sociable, and everyone is more punctual in the new year.

The most popular resolution is to lose some weight. Like most of the other resolutions, this one will go by the wayside (weigh-side?) by February when the weather is cold and nasty and the assorted failures of resolve help make everyone crankier than during any month of the year. For now, however, the lines at McDonald's will be shorter, the lines at the MacKelly's and Salad Spinners longer, and I'll have to wait a half-hour to get a treadmill at the gym tonight.

Diets are nothing new. In fact according to this Arizona Central article, diets have been around since at least 1087 when William the Conqueror tried the since disproven "drink yourself stupid" diet. You'll notice the first big documented low-carb craze was all the way back in the 60's - the 1860's.

The ultimate key to weight loss is mathematics. In David Copperfield, Charles Dickens wrote, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." The same is true of dieting. Daily intake 1500 calories, daily expenditure 2000 calories, result weight loss. Daily intake 2000 calories, daily expenditure 1500 calories, result twenty pounds.

It doesn't really matter how you do it as long as you get all the nutrients, protein, carbs, and fat (yes, fat is necessary) that you need. If you rely on tricks like eating twenty grapefruits a day or subsiting only on a big vat of cabbage soup or only on bacon and pork chops, you'll gain any weight back that you do lose. Why? Because these are unsustainable lifestyles (unless you REALLY dig cabbages, I suppose). Almost all diets are ultimately psychology to trick you into wanting to eat right and exercise. Do what works for you.

Here are some of the sites you might want to visit if you plan to drop some weight ahead of the laying-in-the-sun-with-a-fruity-drink season:

Everything Atkins - If you still want to try the bacon-breathing Atkins diet this is a good place to go for information.

South Beach Diet Online - The cardiologist inspired South Beach Diet has been gaining followers. It's a modified Atkins that eventually gets back to saner eating.

Weight Watchers - I was all set to say nice things about Weight Watchers like the fact that it is the only diet proven to take weight off and keep it off for a long period of time with no ill effects, but I was terribly disappointed to find that the site doesn't like FireFox. Bad diet gurus! Bad gurus! Still worth a look.

Personally, I'll be exercising more in preparation for an 8K race in April and eating much more soup. Studies show that soup fills you up faster than the individual components of the soup taken separately. A nice bonus is that there is nothing more pleasant on a cold January night than a hot bowl of homemade.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at January 3, 2005 10:03 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Barrett, our fellow food-bloggers 3 Fat Chicks have an interesting report on diets that work: http://www.3fatchicks.com/diets/best-diets.php

According to their survey, WeightWatchers is the most successful diet program in terms of customer satisfaction.

As for myself, I am successfully doing the "breastfeeding diet" which involves eating pretty much everything in sight. Luckily, I'm burning 300-500 extra calories a day feeding two! (Please forgive the smug satisfaction, but I did put up with a lot of trials and tribulations to get to this point...!)

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 3, 2005 at 1:50 PM

My mother-in-law used Weight Watchers to great effect. I've met other people who swear by it.

I lost a lot of weight on a "Protein Power" diet (basically Atkins before Atkins was popular), but gained it all back and then some when I got sick of breathing grease.

Did I mention we saw "Jared's" Subway when we were in Bloomington Indiana?

Posted by barrett on January 3, 2005 at 1:58 PM
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