You’ve Been Warned—An Introduction
An Ode to Diet Landia
There is no Insulin Fairy.
Don’t spend your hard earned money,
On those “super berries.”
I’m not selling AdvoCare-y.
If this book is Too Long/
I just want to plant the seed.
Moving more and eating less is all you need.
It’s not quite that simple, folks.
There is no spell, nor a hoax.
For my dad jokes.
It’s science’s turn,
To take a stand.
Let’s leave Yo-Yo Diet Land.
And learn about beaver’s anal glands.
Eggplants are fruit, considered by some to be a berry.
Here are some fightin’ words.
All diets work because they eliminate something.
Maybe it’s a particular food. Perhaps it’s an entire category of cuisine. Or they place restrictions on when you can eat. Do you like to eat mid-day? Too bad. Your feeding window is now between 2:00 AM and 2:16 AM.
Don’t believe me? Look at what’s out there.
Anybody remember the Atkin’s diet? Sure, it’s fun in the beginning. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Bam! Bacon-wrapped sausages for lunch. Holla! I get to eat a hamburger patty for dinner? Sweet, come to mama. It’s all fun and games until you have a layer of grease splatters permanently coating your kitchen.
What about eating like a snake? It’s a new fad where dieters fast for 24-48 hours, then eat an enormous meal of red meat. With this approach you will undoubtedly lose weight, but I hope you like creating chocolate soft serve out the other end for the first 3 months.
There is even the infamous cabbage diet. For anyone not in-the-know, it’s self explanatory. You eat the cabbage and only the cabbage. As a result, you lose all the weight and alienate your coworkers.
Extremes are easy. Moderation is hard. And long-term deprivation is just crazy sauce.
How long are you really going to last dining on celery, cucumbers, and air? It’s tough to stomach (pun intended), but all diets eventually fail.
I am here to tell you that there is a different way to look at food; there is a different way to look at your body.
Buckle up, buttercup. We are going to learn some science. And do the maths. Don’t worry. There is not a test at the end. Unfortunately, you can’t skip to the appendix and find the answers either.
Don’t let that scare you away. I’m not trying to teach The Common Core. <shudders> But we need to learn about thermodynamics, which is just a swanky word for the study of energy. Ultimately, food is just fuel for the body.
Until it isn’t. There is also an emotional component to food. We use it as a reward when we are happy. Or as a drug for negative emotions.
Food is also a significant part of our traditions. We break bread with friends and family. And if we can put down our little glowing devices, we get to know one another over grandma’s special lasagna.
So how can we keep our food culture intact but also improve our health? Or shed a few pounds without hulking out on our loved ones in the process? Science has already given us the answer. The knowledge is more than 60 years old. So why isn’t it everywhere?
The answer—the science of weight loss isn’t sexy. Yep, I said it. You can’t slap a colorful label on it to sell more goodies in the supermarket. It’s too straightforward to blend in a shake and sell as a part of a pyramid scheme. And we won’t see a Super Bowl commercial with half-naked bodies dancing to energy expenditure.
As you will learn, extra fat is just energy your body stores for the zombie apocalypse. Don’t see any slow-walking, reanimated mouth breathers? Great. Your body doesn’t know that. It’s out here making sure you have enough energy to live yo’ best life.
While we are at it, let’s radically reframe your mindset. You are not fat. Maybe you have extra fat. But fat is not an adjective that defines you. It is not who you are.
Here’s how I’ve laid out this book.
One, I put important things in bold, so you don’t have to scrounge up a highlighter.
Two, there are infographics throughout because sometimes books for grownups really have too few pictures. And some of us learn better with a little visual aid and color in our life.
Three, you are going to meet my friends No-Drama Llama and Myth-Busting Mermaid. They are a much more reliable source of information than Jenny, your old high school pal selling sweat gel on her snapchatter, insta-story page.
Four, I’m going to make you put some skin in the game. I will give you homework and actionable items. I can hear you groaning already, but trust me. You will be better and wiser for completing these steps.
Five, I break down the science into easily understandable chunks. Don’t fret. I’ve defined all those swanky terms so someone that slept though high school biology 20 years ago can still follow along.
Six, this is not a recipe book. I’m not going tell you what to eat. And I won’t tell you what foods are off limits. There are no superfoods, nor evil villains. Except trans fats. They can go kick rocks.
Seven, this sure as heck isn’t a juice cleanse, and this is not a front for selling vitamins or supplements. There is no need to spend $300 plus on that fancy kitchen appliance when you have a liver.
Eight, this is not a 6-week reboot, nor a 90-day challenge. There are plenty of those over-priced plans out in the diet universe. You didn’t put on the extra weight in a month, so it’s going to take longer than that to get rid of it.
Nine, we will learn about the components of our food, how the body stores and uses nutrients as energy, and how to calculate what you are eating and burning. I touch on metabolism myths, preventing that hangry feeling, and scheduling diet breaks. Toward the end, I dabble in some softer topics, covering stress, sleep, and goal setting.
Ten, there will be lists. My brain thinks in bullet points. Fortunately for our topic, it works nicely to compress broad subjects into manageable segments. Also, I needed a number ten to round out this list. Sorry, not sorry.
Straight talk. Dr. Google failed me. I’m just another exhausted, middle-aged parent who had to figure this out on her own. I have just enough common sense to know there is no shake or superfood that is magically going to melt off the love handles. I suffered through just enough schooling to smell the dung pile of diet drivel on the interwebs from a mile away. Finally, my daddy passed along just enough bravado to put what I’ve learned into this book and to launch it into the cesspool that is nutrition media.
So come at me, diet zealots. Bring your emotional arguments, your one-off anecdotes, and your close-minded dogma. I have science in my corner.
For everyone else, I hope you find something useful in my words.
Cheers, Dear Unicorns,
PS and a Disclaimer:
Going through the editing process, one thing is clear. I talk about poo, a lot. It’s unintentional but not unexpected, since I live with four young children. While I promise there are no fart jokes, I can’t guarantee that I didn’t slip in a yo’ mama somewhere.
PPS and another Disclaimer:
The science of weight loss is straightforward, but often rather dull. At the beginning of most chapters, I’ve included some interesting (and slightly inappropriate) food facts. While I’ve kept my proverbial toe on the right side of the politically correct line, it still may be slightly offensive to some readers. Apologies in advance to those who don’t share my sense of humor. My intention was to lighten things up a bit. If you get nothing else out of this book, you will kill it at the next trivia night on food history questions.
PPPS and a more serious disclaimer:
This book is not for teenagers. You are still growing, changing, and figuring out life. Nor is it for pregnant or nursing mamas. You are incubating and raising small humans; thus, you have different fuel demands. Individuals with eating disorders or body dysmorphia need not read it either. Please start or continue your journey under the care of a trained physician. Folks with specific dietary needs because of a medical condition, listen to your doctor. Don’t take dietary advice from someone like me who uses cartoon animals to illustrate her points.