'All foods can fit' diet plan

Eating Well

March 18, 1997|By Colleen Pierre | Colleen Pierre,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Embarrassed, the woman admitted her indulgence. She ate a cheeseburger and fries last night because she knew I would advise her to give them up forever.

She must not read this column! I'm a constant promoter of the "all foods can fit" approach. So I happily helped her figure out how to include these favorites -- occasionally -- and still lose weight.

But this "last meal" mentality is not unusual for people who have finally decided to take the plunge and lose weight. Unfortunately, it's an attitude that may make re-gain inevitable.

Dieters know how to create a no-nonsense eating plan, devoid of treats and indulgences. Often, the plan is incredibly boring, because it's based on a few easily measurable low-fat foods, repeated day after day. It works at first, and pounds peel off. But then deprivation sets in. A small indulgence is viewed as a total failure, and uncontrolled rebound eating follows. Because this attitude is so universal, the American Dietetic Association has joined forces this March with the Dietitians of Canada to promote the "all foods can fit" campaign for National Nutrition Month.

"Moderation is the key to making all foods a part of healthful eating. It doesn't mean you give up certain foods, it means setting limits on how much and how often," according to registered dietitian Nancy Schwartz.

Schwartz, who directs ADA's National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests these guidelines for healthful eating: Be realistic. Make gradual changes to your eating pattern and level of physical activity.

Be adventurous. Expand your food repertoire.

Be flexible. Go ahead and balance what you eat and your physical activity over several days. No need to worry about just one meal or one day. And physical activity doesn't have to be done in one big burst -- small increments can add up to a physically active lifestyle.

Be sensible. Enjoy all foods, just don't overdo it.

Be active. Walk the dog, don't just watch the dog walk!

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 3/18/97

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