Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Diet Rules: In Response to the Diet Pill Disaster

Imagine the disappointment!
Didn’t you want to believe it? “Finally, a diet pill I can endorse! Check out this link”, with yours truly as the sender. Yes, my Twitter account was hacked, or hijacked, as they say. Someone managed to get into my account dispensing a bunch of tweets as if they had come from me. And this was just one of the creative gems they sent. 

Now, if you have been reading Drop It And Eat for a while, I suspect you were a bit skeptical. And hopefully, you even had the wisdom to stop yourself from clicking and perpetuating the myth.

Maybe you even believed it, but knew it would be trouble, a slippery slope, getting into diet pills. You knew it was too good to be true.
Perhaps you feel addicted to hope—hope for a solution to your daily eating struggle—for assistance with binge eating, obesity, or body dissatisfaction, in spite of a normal body size. Yes, at times a pill may seem like the only answer.

But, dear readers, there are no pills, no magic bullets. Never mind meds; there is no quick fix, no special diet to cure our ills, I’m so sorry to say.

How ironic that this violation of my name and of my Followers came when I was vacationing, reveling in the beauty of Acadia National Park with its stunning vistas, by foot and by cycle. And while enjoying the fabulous bakeries, the flavorful oils and vinegars and local restaurant cuisine. And no, I didn’t enjoy the muffins and scones solely on my active days when I was burning it off; I even enjoyed them at breakfast, before the almost 6 hour drive home, sitting on my butt.

How does this fit with good health, you may be wondering? What kind of dietitian are you, endorsing pastries and other indulgences?
I often find myself defending my approach to eating and to weight management and disease prevention to others—to strangers wondering why I’m photographing their lovely loaves, to friends who question my aversion to seemingly healthy fat free foods, even to patients and Followers who wonder if I really practice what I preach. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts following my 5-day vacation in Maine.

Yes, it's all about balance.
A truly healthy diet:

  • is a way of eating that promotes both physical and psychological wellbeing.

  • indulges the senses with the pleasure of quality—flavors, textures, smells, experiences.

  • involves selecting foods that may be rich, such as the fabulous baked goods from Little Notch Bakery—and enjoying them when hungry (but not so hungry that you can’t savor the flavors and enjoy the food).

  • allows for pastries, and chocolates, and cheeses as snacks or as part of a meal, not as a reward for eating a “healthy” meal. Tuesday, it meant blueberry pie mid-morning, after a lovely bike ride. Wednesday, it included blueberry scones (yes, wild Maine blueberries are in season), a chocolate croissant and delectable carrot muffins at breakfast. Monday, it meant a shared apple tartlet as an afternoon snack.

    Thanks for helping to make my vacation fabulous! 
  • means eating just as much as we need, and trusting that we could always get to the bakery again for another great purchase. Yes, I hit up Little Notch Bakery three times over my 5-day vacation in Acadia—once in each area of the island.

  • also means bypassing fat free spreads on my toast—because I don’t like their taste—and dipping my sourdough, white flour bread in olive oil instead. It entails selecting oils with intense aromas, fabulous flavors and nutritional benefits, like those found at Fiore in Bar Harbor.

  • means choosing a lighter entrée, at times, because I prefer a less dense dinner after my day of snacking. So it was poached salmon (still a high fat fish, I might add), but in a lighter prep than the other options available.

  • means having what I really want, but eating only as much as I truly need. I was in charge of cutting up the baked goods, served on a platter in bite size pieces for 5 of us to share.

I chose the middle one. What a crust!
I’m not kvetching today, post vacation, about my week’s intake; I enjoyed every minute of it. I did not need to go crazy with my eating simply because I was on vacation, because quite frankly, eating like this is totally normal for me. I eat this way all the time. I buy great breads weekly (if I haven’t made my own with the help of a bread machine), I enjoy delicious cheeses (but am mindful of the portions) and I have my share of baked goods (and clearly you’ve already learned of my love of chocolate!). Really. Just ask my friends and family. But I pass on anything sub par, because I truly want to enjoy what I put in my mouth. I take my food pretty seriously.

Tags from a line of women's clothing. Great, no?
Does this eating approach seem foreign to you? Trust me, there is still hope for change. It takes time to learn that you are allowed to enjoy good food, great tasting, quality food. Yes, whether you are overweight, normal weight or underweight you are entitled to the pleasure of eating whatever you would like. Just be sure to eat the amount that’s right for your body.

That is a truly healthy diet.


  1. Didn't believe the tweet was anything but spam for a second!! You of all people would never endorse such rubbish - we know we can trust you on that!!
    And thanks for sharing your philosophy so articulately.

  2. As a new Twitter follower of yours, I was rather taken aback...and then promptly forgot about it. Thanks for the info though, it just didnt seem like you at all!

    I totally agree with your "rules". Would that people could trust themselves! I have a hard time with all those bloggers saying things like "one bite of X will cause me to binge" or that they can't even eat a bite of carb without gaining ten pounds. I dunno. It's true for them, but I suspect it's a self-fulfilling prophecy "truth". I try to keep my mouth shut, though. It's their life, not mine.

    It sounds like you had a great vacation. You know I had a great one too. I sort of regret not trying Boston cream pie somewhere, but I never had the physical room for sweets after all the wonderful meals I ate. Maybe I should have just had a sweets-only meal!

    I love that women's clothing tag. I might borrow it one day for a blog post myself, if that's OK with you!

  3. I spent yesterday reading through your archives. As someone who has just decided that enough is enough with the whole diet thing your blog is really interesting.

    I love your philosophy of food and have been eating intuitively for a few weeks now. I do believe it will work for most people - I just fear it won't work for me.

    I've been dieting for 6 years with the odd weekend off. I've lost 100 pounds in that time but in the last year basically nothing. I'm hypothyroid and a coeliac. I'm still just over 200 pounds so want to lose more but have no big expectations of where I want to end up.

    So my question - and please if you have time reassure me - even after restricting food for 6 years AND being hypothyroid - can this work for me? How long for my metabolism to recover? (and sorry for taking over your comments section!)
    ps its not letting me post as me but I'm your newest follower. Claire

  4. @Claire First, sorry for the Blogger posting problem; thanks for identifying yourself! Without knowing your personal situation, I'll give you a few thoughts in response to your question.

    Yes, it can absolutely work for you! Most people I see believe that they are the exception to the rule, that their body somehow is different. I have NO reason to believe this is true! But a few things that might influence or have influenced your weight change:

    if your celiac was poorly controlled, resulting in malabsorption, you might have lost more weight unhealthily.

    If you are hypothyroid, due to severe calorie restriction that is one thing, and if you have an underlying thyroid condition, that is another. With an underlying condition, as long as meds are adjusted to keep blood levels of hormones appropriate, all is well. If your levels are low because of severe dietary restriction, than normalizing your eating must come first to "get the metabolism going", so to speak.

    And finally, there is the role of exercise and muscle in this metabolism question. If you were losing rapidly and lost muscle, your metabolic rate will be lowered. With normal eating AND then working in strength training to restore muscle mass this can be improved.

    In all cases, eating in the style I described still works. You just need to explore the other factors that may play a role.

    Thanks for following!

  5. @HikerRD Thank you for your response. I'm just feeling so much calmer about food in general I guess I thought it was too good to be true! I've lost weight fast sometimes (shakes only diets) and slow other times (calorie counting). I exercise regularly and my thyroid issue are from an underlying issue (Hashimotos). Anyway, thank you. I feel reassured and will continue to follow your blog. Claire

  6. Im so happy I found your blog, im recovering from an ED! great stuff here!! thanks =)

  7. I got 3 personal messages from "you" ! Before I read the first one I thought ""wow! that's pretty neat! wonder what she is contacting me for? An interest in Vizslas?" Oh well, I will continue to follow your blog but I think runwith vizslaRD will exit the twitter world -not really using it at all anyway!

  8. Another rational, reasonable post about what it truly means to not only have a healthy, well-rounded diet, but to also have a healthy approach to food in general.

    I get weekly e-mails from Livestrong, which I tend to think have useful information. Last week, however, the main article in the weekly e-mail (entitled "4 Ways to Cheat Your Diet" had me pretty upset and also thinking about this latest post from you. Why is it that people who are purportedly telling us how to be more healthy - in this case someone working for Livestrong - still get it so wrong? It was more the language of the article that had me upset - that foods are "good" or "bad."

    So thank you, Lori, for teaching us that if we listen to ourselves, if we honor our hunger and our fullness, that we can lead healthy, happy lives. Little Notch Bakery pastries included.