Pick your diet and wait for the pain

November 13, 2003|By Kevin Cowherd

TODAY WE discuss the latest cheery bulletin from the weight-loss front, which can basically be summed up like this: When it comes to diets, we're all doomed.

Maybe you heard that medical researchers just finished the first extended study of four popular diets: Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers and the Zone.

And what they found was this: All of them get pretty much the same results. And the results aren't great.

No matter which one you choose, you'll probably only lose a few pounds - way fewer than you want to lose. And you're not likely to stick to any of the diets for long.

In other words, within weeks you'll be tossing that salad in the garbage and drumming your fingers on the sofa waiting for the Domino's guy to show up with your stuffed-crust pizza and Buffalo wings.

Anyway, the study findings should surprise absolutely no one who's ever stepped on a scale, gasped and thought: Did someone tie a cinder block to my feet?

Because unless you make the kind of dough Al Roker makes and can plunk down 20 grand for a gastric bypass, there's only one way to lose weight, and everyone knows it.

And that way is: You have to suffer.

You have to be miserable.

Basically, you have to starve yourself one way or another, whether you're cutting out fats or carbs.

Or you have to lock yourself in a gym and lift weights and run on the treadmill for hours and hours until you're almost dead.

Naturally, most people don't want to hear this when they're thinking about losing weight. Most people want to hear that there's some magical new way to drop pounds that's completely painless.

And if they can do it while lying on the couch watching Everybody Loves Raymond, that would be even better.

Well, guess what? There's no easy, "fun" way to lose weight. And anyone who thinks there is, is a sucker.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I know a little bit about this subject due to the fact that I lost a good amount of weight almost a year ago.

Before changing my eating habits, I weighed slightly less than a Trailways bus. So I embarked on something I call the Don't Eat Like a Pig diet.

Basically, I cut out eating all the fatty stuff that tastes great.

And I started watching portion sizes. And eating lots of fruit and vegetables.

Oh, yeah, it was a very sensible plan. Naturally, I hated every minute of it.

Because who wants to live in a world without Oreos or Buffalo wings? But that's the world I live in now.

Maybe some people can practice moderation in their eating habits, but I never could.

I could never have, say, two Oreos. I had to have 12. And I could never have a normal portion of Buffalo wings. No, I had to have a portion that would feed the Ravens defensive line.

So I just cut out all that stuff altogether. And - ta-daa! - the weight started to come off. Imagine that.

So far, I've managed to keep the weight off. But I'm not exactly a rock on this new eating plan.

In fact, I'm more like bone china. Meaning I could crack at any moment. You put two Coronas and a big plate of nachos in front of me, and I might run over a kid in a wheelchair to get to it.

I was in a restaurant the other night and a guy at the next table ordered jalapeno poppers, and I offered to trade my car for the poppers.

Now when I go to bed at night, I dream about Whoppers with cheese and chocolate shakes. It's really sick.

Anyway, the point is that I lost the weight by cutting out fats and watching calories, which is similar to the Weight Watchers approach.

But as the diet study showed, you could probably get the same result on the Atkins diet, which means watching your carbs and loading up on steaks and cheese instead of pasta and breads.

Or on the very low-fat, vegetarian Ornish diet, where you basically eat like a hummingbird.

Or the Zone diet, where you practically need an IBM mainframe with 200 spreadsheet programs to calculate how foods cause your blood sugar levels to react.

No matter which one you pick, you're going to be miserable for a while.

Which is fine with me.

Why should I be the only one suffering?

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