So as I packed up the last of my diet books to bring to the resale shop, I wondered just how many of these things I've read in the last 40 years. Seems like thousands, but it's probably in the hundreds. And I'm not alone.
Search the word "diet" in the Books section of Amazon.com today, and the number of results returned is 55,625. Search the word "baseball" and the number of results returned is 29,391. So much for baseball being our national pastime.
I browsed the list for a while, and among the titles I recognized as having read were The Beck Diet Solution, Atkins, The South Beach Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Core Balance Diet, The 3-Hour Diet, The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, Sugar Busters, The Weigh Down Diet, Joy's Life Diet, The Writing Diet, Never Say Diet (Hobbs), Never-Say-Diet (Simmons), The Zone Diet, Good Calories Bad Calories, The Easy GL Diet, The Paleo Diet, The 90/10 Weight-Loss Plan, The Eat Clean Diet, Master Your Metabolism, The Martini Diet, Eat Right 4 Your Type, The Metabolic Typing Diet, The Sonoma Diet, What Would Jesus Eat, The Glycemic Load Diet. Lots of these titles are actually series of books, journals and recordings. And I know there are more that I've read - books on food combining, vegetarianism, raw food.
And as I browsed I found some books on diets that I am very, very glad I never tried - The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Lemon Juice Diet, The Hay Diet (I sure hope that refers to the author), The Clothesline Diet (huh?), The Alli Diet Plan (never read the book but did read the side effects on the drug package at the store, and it only took two words to make me drop it - "anal leakage").
How is it possible that we have an obesity epidemic when so much attention is paid to dieting? According to one of the few books I am keeping, dieting is not the solution. Dieting is the problem.
Dieting: The Number One Cause of Weight Gain
Up to 83 percent of those who start formal weight loss programs drop out because: (1) they can't stop eating; (2) they can't lose weight; or (3) they continue to gain weight while sticking to their diet plan! More than 60 percent of all dieters are neither overweight nor overeaters to begin with. But after enough dieting attempts, dieters progressively gain more weight and are apt to become overeaters. Those who are already compulsive eaters know that they tend to lose all control after a monitored fast or more gradually lose control after less extreme diets. More than 95 percent of dieters gain back any weight they lose within two years after a diet. But many have gained more than they ever lost to begin with. It is typical for dieters to become progressively heavier than they ever would have been had they never dieted. Has rebound weight gain set off a panic that propelled you into more dieting, more rebound weight gain or, eventually, into an eating disorder?(from The Diet Cure by Julia Ross)
The only way you can win this war is to stop fighting.