The Day the Diet Died

New Year's at the Needle!

 2014 is dead! Long live 2015!

(Can you tell I just started reading a book on the Tudors, and Henry VIII has just been crowned king after the death of his father Henry VII?)

But really, the death of 2014 is great because it means you're legally off the hook for any New Year's Resolutions you made in 2014, in case you were still keeping any of them. According to a University of Scranton study quoted in this Vox article,

Seventy-seven percent of the resolvers studied made it through a full week, then 55 percent stuck with their goals for a month. By June, six months into the New Year, only 40 percent of those who had made a New Year's resolution were still sticking with the goal.

That's actually way better than I would have guessed. Let me do a report card on myself and see how I fared. In my previous January 2014 post I named three food resolutions:

1. Extend Sugar-Free January for a vague, unnamed length of time. I made it to March! Well into 55% territory.

2. Give up buying one item that comes in single-use, non-recyclable plastic and make/buy an alternative. Woo hoo! I stopped buying bagged salad greens or spinach and started rinsing and making my own salads, and I've actually kept up with this one the entire year, even trying new kale salads. I am the 40%!

3. Prepare one new vegetable per week until you run out of them, and then add new favorites to your rotation. Fail. I don't know if I even made it two weeks on this one. I am the 77%.

Maybe these results make me a typical American.

In any case, I've noticed the latest trend for 2015 is dissing the diet. As in, giving up dieting, in favor of what these authors say is not dieting.

This book, for instance, tells us to lose the fad diets and hopes of fast weight-loss permanently. Instead, lose weight very gradually by tweaking your food habits. Drop the soda a day. Replace the afternoon bag of Doritos with a couple pieces of fruit. Will you lose 20 lbs in two weeks? Not a chance, but those two changes alone (if those were habits of yours) could net you 20-30 lbs in a year, and it would be permanent (unless you took up the habits again). Author Markey counsels against diets that require total elimination of any foods because, as I completely agree, those diets are unsustainable. She also advises against fasting or seriously limiting calories, lest your body go into starvation mode and pack the pounds on enthusiastically whenever you do start eating again.

Sadly, though, she's still in favor of exercise for health (not necessarily weight loss) and bypassing the bread basket (one of my chief joys in restaurant life). But you can't have everything. Markey also disdains saturated animal fat from butter, red meat, whole dairy, and so on, which I think are now off the no-no list. Nevertheless, not a bad book to start with, if you've tried diet after diet and yo-yoed your way through life.

I didn't get too far through this one:

 I think they wanted to start a social media movement about cutting yourself a break because there were instructions to connect with other "wycwycers" on the usual sites. Does the world really need more superficial connections? A question only you can answer.

As for the advice given in the book, here's a sample: if you eat the triple chocolate cheesecake at the office party, skip dessert the next two days, and so forth. It may have gone deeper (and less obvious) than that, but I didn't hang around for it.

My point being, the health trend for 2015 appears to be diet but don't call it dieting. Got it.

With this in mind, it's time to set new resolutions for the year! Connect with me superficially online and join me for any of these? Or hit me up when the Market opens in May and see if I'm still among the 40% who keep on keeping on.

1. Keep Sugar-Free January and then shift to two desserts per week.

2. Walk 20-30 minutes 3x per week. Not for weight-loss purposes, but to keep ye old body fully operational longer. I turned 45 a few days ago!

3. Let's try this one again: Serve two vegetables at dinner or a fruit and a vegetable. I won't be picky about trying new things. I just want to get it on the table.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015!