Thursday, December 29, 2011

Austerity measures

Here come the diets. Can you hear them thundering across the landscape, appearing over the horizon like a herd of angry cattle? In a few days people all over America are going to hunker down, get into some serious dieting in an effort to lose the few pounds gained over the holidays. It won't be pretty - it never is. That is because starting a diet during the coldest, darkest weeks of the year goes against everything the body believes is right. Dieting in January will trigger even more fiercely than normal the body's survival instinct, which means the body will hang on very tightly to every ounce. When it's cold, a couple of extra pounds will keep you warm. Trying to peel it away is absurd.

Look at it this way: The parties and feasts end on January 1. No one in her right mind wants that much sugar, rich food and alcohol after the holidays are said and done. Those who go with the flow will automatically be eating and drinking more sanely after the first. Are the heinous bouts of dieting truly necessary?

The New York Times published an article this week explaining why diets don't work. I'll post a link in the comments. What the article doesn't address is how hard dieting is on the body. Suddenly starving the body, compared to what it's used to, throws everything off kilter. It's very hard on your kidneys and liver. Perhaps the biggest impact of harsh dieting, losing and gaining weight all the time, is how destructive it is to heart muscle. Lose 100 pounds in a year and you'll be more likely to have a heart attack than if you sat on the couch eating cheeseburgers instead.

People all over the world, no matter what the local diet consists of, are differently shaped. In a world where I could command it, I would have people eat very high quality food - no junk food. I would have them move around every day and think in terms of well being rather than pounds. People's bodies would settle into a comfortable weight after which we could turn our attention to something more pressing, or at least more interesting.

If diets worked, do you really think anyone would still weigh more than they want to? C'mon. May you be at peace with your body. It's doing the best it can! Shalom.