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HEALTHY LIVING — Don’t try to diet; just eat healthy

The very sound of this word makes me shudder.

The word diet brings hope and fear to many folks, hope for the miracle of dropping the weight accumulated over years of bad choices and the fear that it will all come back — or worse — that more will be added.

For more than 30 years, I rode the “diet” roller coaster. I will be honest with you, I have absolutely no self-control and simply enjoy food. Too much!

Every new fad diet that came along, I tried it. Remember the vile Liquid Protein diet? Nothing, but that awful red liquid. Dropped the pounds fast … until I resumed eating and it all quickly piled back on.

Cabbage Soup Diet? Absolutely, till you couldn’t look a cabbage in the face. Dropped those pounds until you resumed eating regular food … and then what happened? The Cookie Diet, Raw Food Diet, the Five Bite Diet, the Baby Food Diet (Ugh!).

You name it, it’s been tried. I even had a doctor (of questionable ethics) put staples in the inner cartilage of both ears. Guess what? It didn’t work. Let me clarify, at first, with severely restricted intake, all of them seemed to have worked, but long term, they all failed. Here is one I found too repulsive to even try, the cleanse teas.

Bariatric surgery is the “go to” solution currently. It started back in the late 1990s and has built in popularity.

I have seen some amazing successes; I have also seen some dismal failures.

The Vertical Gastric Sleeve has become the most popular of all. I will be perfectly honest with you; February of 2015 I had this procedure done. It has worked to some degree for me. However, it is a TOOL for weight reduction, absolutely nothing more. If you continue to over eat unhealthy foods, you will remain at an unhealthy weight.

There is no magic solution. No magic pill, or shot, or drink, or food combination.

So, what works? You aren’t going to like this, but, what works are good nutrition, portion control, and getting up out of the easy chair and moving more. That’s it. Simple, huh?

Personally, I could not control my intake. And I will admit that it is still very difficult. It was nothing for me to scarf down 3,000 calories a day. I needed help. Having most of my stomach removed and leaving a banana shaped pouch was a drastic solution. Some people have very strict self-control, but it’s not only about restricted intake, you have to put the right stuff into your body. For ANY eating plan to be successful, it MUST be sustainable.

Remember the cabbage soup diet? How many times can you eat one thing before you just can’t face another bowl of it? And it has to be relatively simple.

Long, complicated food preparations are not something anyone wants to deal with after working all day or night. What has to change is your concept of eating.

Next, you must learn how to eat. Think of food as fuel for your body. For your body to perform best, it needs top grade fuel.

Food is not a reward or a present, it is simply fuel. If you are serious about good nutrition and weight loss, you are going to have to change your lifestyle.

I don’t want you to think of it as depriving yourself, because that is part of the ugliness of the word DIET. Diet is all about what you cannot have. Fueling your body is all about the wonderful stuff you can put in.

And before you start with the excuses of healthy food is boring or tastes bad, just stop. I do not eat boring, bad tasting, bland food. That is what herbs and spices are for. I even enjoy dark chocolate, occasionally.

It’s not about denying yourself; it is about celebrating a healthier you. But even too much of a good thing will add weight.

Living healthy is a lifestyle commitment, not a diet and exercise routine. Before making any drastic changes to your eating and exercise habits, especially if you take medications, visit with your doctor.

Jody Holton writes about health for The Port Arthur News. Email her at jholton3@gt.rr.com.