Saturday, January 4, 2014


I have been looking at all of the diet/nutrition books I have as I recently did some weeding in my bookcases.  These pictures don't capture all of the books I have.  There are a number of common threads throughout the books and some are more entertaining to read than others.  These books cover a variety of topics in the span of nutrition and exercise.  Some deal with a plant based diet, paleo, calorie reduced, vegan, and the last ten pounds.

I have always been interested in nutrition and in some ways I am my own living experiment. I come from a family of genes where what you eat does matter if you want to maintain a healthy weight.   I have not been laissez faire about my weight and what I eat for a very long time - decades in fact.   I am about 10 to 12 pounds heavier than I like with a number of starts and stops along with way.   In the beginning of December I decided that I was to put this extra poundage to bed and close this chapter. 

What is important to me in following a diet and making a lifestyle change is understanding/accepting the following:

  1. Different diets meet different needs and body types.
  2. Calories do matter.
  3. You can't exercise the weight off without reducing your daily calories.  
  4. You need to exercise in some manner every day.
  5. It is a lifestyle change, not a diet.
  6. You can't go back to your old habits once you lose the weight.
  7. You need to accept who you are including the fact that you may never wear a bikini.
  8. It is harder to lose weight as you age.
  9. Eating processed foods is not sustainable nor healthy.
  10. Being able to eat a reasonable size portion of ice cream or frozen yogurt, once a week.   
  11. Being able to have dark chocolate, in small quantities, several times a week.
I have at times selected my food choices based on a vegetarian or vegan before six pm diet, paleo diet, gluten free diet, balanced diet or calories per day.  After reviewing my experiences in following different diet lifestyles, I found the most success to be portion size, eating the right balance of protein, carbs and fat and tracking what I eat.  Recently I have been using 'my fitness pal' for tracking.  Recording what you eat does make you take that second pause to think about what you are eating and whether the calories are helpful or harmful.  Tracking and recording what I am eating is proving successful in reaching my goals.

Here are some photos of the collection of books I have.

One of the books I do like is by Robert Lustig.  I have copied several paragraphs that I think captures the essence of successful diets.

As you will see, all successful diets share three precepts: low sugar, high fiber (which means high micronutrients), and fat and carbohydrate consumed together in the presence of an offsetting amount of fiber. Anything after that is window dressing.

Here’s some food for thought. With very few exceptions, every naturally occurring foodstuff contains either fat or carbohydrates, but usually not both. Meat, fish, and poultry have no carbohydrates. Grains, roots, and tubers (e.g., potatoes and yams) have no fat. Those fruits that have fat, such as avocados, olives, and coconut, have minimal carbohydrates. Nuts are an exception, but they are still pretty low in carbohydrates and very high in fiber.  Milk is another exception to the rule, but other than that which came from their mothers, humans were not exposed to other mammals’…

Can low-fat and low-carb diets both be right? Or both wrong? What do the Atkins diet (protein and fat), the Ornish diet (vegetables and whole grains), and the traditional Japanese diet (carbohydrate and protein) have in common? On the surface they seem to be diametrically opposite. But they all have one thing in common: they restrict sugar. Every successful diet in history restricts sugar. Sugar is, bar none, the most successful food additive known to man.

Let’s look at all these diets. Some rely on fat for energy, others rely on carbohydrates for energy, and some use both. Yet they all work to control weight and improve metabolic health, and have been shown to reduce heart disease. What do they all share? Two things. They are all low in sugar, and they are all high in fiber (and therefore high in micronutrients). We’ve arrived.

Lustig, Robert H. “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.”

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