Monthly Archives: February 2013

A tale of two diets – Part one: The story about quality vs. quantity

I'm making a list of things I have discovered which are either unexpected, or actually the complete opposite of what I believed before. 

For now I'm expressing them as "old story" and "new story" and avoiding charged labels like "myth" and "fact".  The old story may work for some people… the new story works better for me.

Here's one:  The story about quality vs. quantity.
Old story: A great diet plan means eating whatever I want, in moderation.  
New story: If I find the right set of foods, I can eat whenever I am hungry, and not stress about it other times.

Most of us believe that "calories" is the most important measurement of a diet.  Eat a 2000 calorie diet and gain weight, or eat a 1200 calorie diet and lose weight.  "A calorie is a calorie" or "Calories in, calories out" are common expressions of this story. 

I have thought long and hard about why I'm uncomfortable with this story.  "Calories in, calories out" is both true and unhelpful.  It says that our natural "hunger" signals are there to betray us and they must be wrong.  Some lucky people get to eat whenever they are hungry, and others don't.  If you have eaten more than enough calories and you're still hungry, you must be a defective person or have crappy willpower.  We're told to pay no attention to the type of food we're eating, just the amount.

Where else in our life is quantity the most important thing?  When I go buy a T.V. I don't want half of the best model, and I don't want three crappy models.

Anyone want to help add to the list?  Tell me if you have had other "revelations" on your own path.