Fat may be bad, but dieting can be worse - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Fat may be bad, but dieting can be worse

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe
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Lynne D. Schwabe was owner of Schwabe-May of Charleston, ran her own marketing consulting firm and is a nationally recognized motivational speaker. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Women's Wear Daily, and has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. She is now director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at schwabestatejournal@gmail.com.

I feel fat. My pants still fit, true, but after the gratuitous calories I've consumed lately, I feel oversized. I've been taking it easy at the gym, never a good thing, and have spent far too much time sitting in front of the television, watching feel-good movies. None of this bodes well for my once-svelte figure. As my doctor said, "It's not the water. You just seem to be retaining food."

In addition to resuming workouts at the gym religiously, I clearly must make a dietary plan for the future. I've considered the advice of the food pundits and the personal trainers, the Food Network chefs, and all of my thin friends, and learned a lot about the options that are out there for all of us who hope to make it to summer with our trousers still buttoned.

First of all, there are diet programs. Weight Watchers works. But you have to carry around the tote board that records the point values of all that you consume, the booklet listing the point values and a calculator to figure it all out. Most people on Weight Watchers run out of the day's points by around noon. When the holidays ended, these folks were in a debit position: they had used their points up completely and had to actually begin on their 2013 allocation. This is discouraging.

There are many other diets (buy the book for $25) or join their team online (more money). All require stocking up on many things that you don't normally have in your kitchen (salt substitutes, odd flavorings, lots of beans, egg whites, about 20 pounds of green, leafy vegetables and enough fruit to feed an army) — average cost about $200. There are organizations that will prepare diet food for you. Most have celebs in their ads claiming to have lost at least 30 pounds eating their "delicious" food. I've tasted this prepared food, and "delicious" is not the word that springs to mind. Furthermore, they don't tell you that you are signed up in these diet food-providing programs for life; it practically takes an act of Congress to un-sign up. AND, small print department: if you want to return anything that you bought at the friendly sale price, they will credit you what you paid, minus the difference between the sale and the full price. These organizations are not so friendly when dealing with a defector!

What about becoming a vegetarian or vegan? This, on the face of it, seems easy. But good grief, it is protein that makes you feel full. Finding protein as a vegetarian is hard enough (thank heavens for yogurt), but vegans? Forget it! When eggs and cheese are verboten, it takes a whole lot of broccoli to fill an average stomach. And I wonder how much Beano it takes to make the average vegan socially acceptable? Perhaps most vegans are hermits by nature.

The Neanderthal diet appeals to many. Proponents of this style of eating say that we must stick to what our forebears most likely ate. The antithesis of vegetarianism, this diet revolves around meat: all meat, all the time. Throw in an occasional handful of nuts or seeds, and there you have it. This sounds fine to me, since I'm from Nebraska, but I adore cereal, bananas and toast, so this isn't the right plan for me.

As if being a vegetarian or vegan isn't enough, some of those who scorn the idea of living in the real world support what is called the Raw Food movement. Raw food eaters are exactly as described: They don't cook anything. I don't really want to cook anything, either, but I still like to eat hot food. I can't imagine enjoying, for instance, pizza made out of buckwheat groats ground in a blender with a bit of oil, spread on a pan and topped with spinach leaves and pine nuts. It all sounds way too cold and crunchy.

Finally, there are the "Juicers." Juicers combine the vegetarian and the raw, but they take it to a much higher level. For some reason, Juicers are opposed to chewing. They feel that in order to be self-actualizing, we must drink all our food. They cram things like kale, cauliflower, apples and beets into a machine that pulverizes it all and produces a thick, purplish liquid out of it. We are advised to drink the stuff, then go out and climb a few mountains or compete in a marathon. I tried apple-kale-spinach-carrot-broccoli juice once. Just the one time.

I am sure that there are many other dietary choices for all of us, but I have rejected anything built around cabbage soup, grapefruit juice, enemas or fasting. I suffered through Atkins. I gagged my way through the hard-boiled egg diet. But Oh! Oh! The Standing Up diet is just what I need because everyone knows that anything eaten while standing up has no calories due to gravity and the density of caloric mass. That may not be right, but it sure sounds good!