Dear Barb – Dietaholic

Dear Barb:

I need help! I am a dietaholic, if there is such a thing. For most of my adult life, I have been dieting. I have tried every kind of diet from the Watermelon Diet to the Cabbage Diet and nothing has worked. I am in my mid-thirties and I would really like to find a way to eat right and get off the diet merry-go-round. My eating habits are not very good, but I don’t know how to change them. I want something I can stick to for the rest of my life, without feeling hungry all the time. Do you know of anything that would help me?

Hopeless in Seattle

I understand your frustration. Many people find it difficult to get off the dieting merry-go-round, even Oprah Winfrey has shared her struggles with this issue, but it is possible. I’m not saying it is easy, but with a lot of work, you can change your eating habits. The first step is to recognize which of your eating habits are unhealthy.

Most people eat very quickly, which is the number one way to over-eat. You need to slow down and take the time to chew your food and enjoy your meal. If you are in the habit of watching television while you eat, you need to turn the television off. Concentrate on what and how much you are eating.

Choose a variety of foods daily. Many people get into a rut and eat the same things every day. To achieve a balanced diet you need to eat a variety of foods. Include lots of fruit, vegetables (cooked or raw), whole grain products, dairy, meat, poultry and fish. Again, you can achieve this by becoming aware of the food you choose. As you become conscious of your eating habits, you may be surprised at the number of unhealthy food choices you make in a day.

Do not skip meals. For example, by skipping your breakfast, you will likely only eat a larger lunch, because you are so hungry. Have a nutritious snack between meals, such as a piece of fruit or a cup of low-fat yogurt. Be aware of high-fat or sugary snacks, but do not completely eliminate these foods from your diet.

Aim for low fat or skim dairy products. When trying low-fat milk, many people can’t even tell the difference between one and three percent (milk fat) milk.

Make changes gradually. Try to choose healthy food for the most part, but allow yourself that special treat from time to time. Eventually, you will find yourself automatically making wise food selections. Remember eating healthy is a choice only you can make for yourself.

Best of luck.

E-mail your questions to advice.voice@ausu.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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