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The Diet Detective
It doesn't take a superhero to defeat these Diet Villains
Sometimes it's difficult to spot a pattern, so I've put together a list of Diet Villains common to many people trying to lose weight.
Check off the ones that sound like you in each quiz section, then read on to see which villains you're dealing with. Section 1
A. I'm genetically predisposed to be overweight.
B. If I buy low-fat chips, I don't feel bad eating the whole bag.
C. I look forward to January, because that's when the latest diets are released.
D. I would never start a diet before the holidays, because I know I'm going to binge.
E. I try to work out every day, but I never seem to lose weight.
F. I oversleep most mornings, so I usually skip breakfast.
G. I've been a vegetarian for three years, and I still haven't lost any weight.
H. You only live once.
I. I'm going to throw out every "bad" food in my house — this is my last diet.
J. I like diets to give me a strict set of rules, so I know exactly what to eat.
A. Diets don't work for me, so I might as well eat what I want.
B. When I'm dieting, I load up on healthy foods such as granola and wheat bagels.
C. I would definitely try any new diet if it meant I could drop the weight fast.
D. My New Year's resolution is always, "I'm going to lose weight this year."
E. Exercise makes me work up an appetite — I'm always starving afterward.
F. Eat lunch? Who has time?
G. All I eat are fruits, vegetables and nuts — I don't see why I'm still overweight.
H. I had an argument with my husband/wife, plus my boss has been picking on me all day — I should be allowed to treat myself to a sundae or a handful of cookies.
A. I eat healthful foods all the time — I must have a slow metabolism.
B. I eat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, so I can splurge.
C. I read every diet book.
D. I'd rather start a diet on a Monday so I can eat what I want over the weekend.
E. I think it's OK to treat myself to a candy bar, as long as I walk it off later.
F. I think I'd work out more if my schedule weren't so crazy this year.
G. I only eat organic and healthful fare, so there's no reason for me to be overweight.
H. With all the stress at work, you want me to diet, too?
Mostly A's: Living in denial. You claim you barely eat anything, and you don't understand why you can't lose weight "no matter how little" you eat. But while your meals are small and light, you nibble throughout the day: while cooking, sitting at the computer and even those free samples at the supermarket.
The fix: Write down every morsel you consume in a food diary, or take a picture of it with your camera phone. Most people under-report what they eat by as much as 40 percent.
Mostly B's: The diet food "expert." You're convinced you can lose weight by eating every low-calorie, low-fat or low-carb food in the store. As long as the food is a diet food, you figure it's OK.
The fix: No matter what you're eating, don't over-
indulge. Diet foods are meant to replace foods that you were already eating. They're not meant to be additional.
Mostly C's: The diet groupie. You're always on a new diet. As soon as you hear about the latest miracle diet, you jump on it. "This is the one — finally."
The fix: Focus on strategies that work with your lifestyle and that you can stick to forever, and be patient. If you take your diet a little more slowly — plan it out detail by detail — it'll become foolproof and automatic.
Mostly D's: "I'll start tomorrow" dieters. You don't want to start dieting until after some huge upcoming feast or major event, such as Thanksgiving or a birthday bash. And your calendar is so full that tackling your weight is always a long way off.
The fix: You can start anytime. And the sooner, the better.
Mostly E's: The exercise junkie. You work out every day. You walk, crunch and lift weights but never lose a pound.
The fix: You blame bad genes, but if you burn extra calories but compensate by eating extra food, you'll just break even and stay right where you are.
Mostly F's: Just too busy. Between work, spending time with family and friends, housework, parties and everything else you squeeze into a week, you're just too busy to think about dieting, let alone do it.
The fix: Eating healthy food doesn't take any more time than eating unhealthy food — you can reach for cut-up vegetables or a piece of fruit just as easily as potato chips. Also, if you skip meals, you will end up eating more calories during the day.
Mostly G's: The health nut. You shop only in health-food stores, buy organic, follow a vegetarian diet, take loads of vitamins and preach about the virtues of eating "healthy." Nevertheless, you're overweight.
The fix: Don't confuse the concept of eating foods that have health benefits with eating to lose weight. Even if foods are healthy, calories still count.
Mostly H's: "It's justifiable" dieters. If you're stressed out or going through a tough time, you feel you're allowed to load up on comfort foods.
The fix: Find other ways to relieve stress: exercising; writing in a journal; talking to friends, family or a therapist; preparing healthy, low-cal comfort foods.
Platkin, a nutrition and public-health advocate, founded Integrated Wellness Solutions.
Copyright 2006, Charles Stuart Platkin