My mother has been overweight most of her life. As a child, I would listen in on her conversations about dieting and weight loss with my favorite aunt, as we drove around town, my younger sister and I fidgeting in the back seat. Their discussions usually revolved around what diet they were on, and which one they heard worked better. Amazingly, these frequent mini-road trips usually involved several stops at local fast-food restaurants, and a coveted donut shop for fried brownies. Yes, we ate deep-fried brownies. I have never seen them again, as the inventor most likely ate so many that he died of heart disease. After all, they were to die for!
As we grew into our teen years, sis and I became overweight as well. So, as we bulged out of our trendy wardrobes, mom got us on the diet bandwagon, and thought of us as not only her new partners in diet delirium, but her students as well. She would tell us how easy it would be. She would prepare all the healthy food for us, based on the latest fad diet she was on, and all we had to do was eat. The mini road trips continued as usual. We did not lose weight. Neither did she.
As it turns out, I grew up, and became a young wife and mother with a good hundred pounds of extra weight dragging me down. Fortunately, I did not look like I weighed as much as I did, and I hid it under stylish dresses, and jackets. I continued the family tradition of yo-yo dieting, and trying every unhealthy weight loss scam that came along. There was Atkins, The Blood-Type Diet, Over-eaters anonymous and the list goes on. Every pound I lost inevitably came back, along with a few friends to keep me company.
As my children grew, so did I. As I entered my forties, I sensed a slowing-down, a loss of energy and a number of aching joints as well. I was no longer able to do the things I enjoyed as a younger fat person: bike-riding, ice skating and hiking during camping trips. My weight was finally in control of my life. Two of my children now suffered from weight problems of their own. We had mini road trips.
My epiphany came when the arthritis in my hip became so painful that I had to use a cane. In my forties. My father had passed away from cancer, and while he was sick, I did a mountain of research on slowing cancer with nutrition (which works in many cases) and began to see the correlation between good nutrition, a healthy body and weight loss.
I am not at my conclusion yet. I am still overweight, but I have learned that diets do not work. Eating what our species was intended to eat is what works. This lifetime eating plan includes:
- Plenty of salad and vegetables.
- A moderate amount of fruit.
- Low-fat, or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.
- Very lean proteins, such as chicken, fish and beef.
- Beans and legumes.
- Small amounts of nuts and seeds.
- Healthy fats, including avocado and olive oil.