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Hardly a Diet

The original graph of body size versus metabol...

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When we think about a diet these days, we all have the same image of celery sticks, dry biscuits and lettuce leaves: tasteless food and an endless feeling of hunger. A constant feeling of being dissatisfied and wanting more. And the unending desperation to eat something solid and substantial. I’d like to say that these kinds of diets are well out of fashion but alas, there are some out there that still treat the body this badly.

The studies done into ‘deprivation dieting’ (which is what the above description… er, describes) have proven one fact above all else – when you deprive your body in such a way, you both decrease your metabolic rate (because your body thinks starvation time has come around again) and increase your subconscious need to binge eat. These are both unconscious, physiological body responses to a sudden and sustained lack of food. These responses are genetically built into us and were what helped our ancient ancestors to survive fammine. What they are not, is any help to losing weight.

There are other types of diet these days – most of them fad diets, which focus on one type of food and remove most of the others. But they’re just as bad for you in one way or another. More importantly, none of these types of diets have any long term effect. They all make you want to binge afterwards (which makes you put on the weight you lost) and they teach you nothing about eating well. They also don’t help you develop good nutrition and exercise habits to keep the weight off, assuming you lose any.

Which is why, when I decided to go down the whole ‘diet’ route, I chose to go with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. It was easily the best fit for what I want and need out of a diet:

  1. Healthy Eating: My first criteria in choosing  a diet is that it provides for all my nutritional needs. It has to contain vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat, fish and grains. That way, no matter what, I known I am at least eating healthy food.
  2. Good to Eat: Secondly, the food has to taste good. That’s was attracts me to it, and what keeps me making the meals – knowing they’ll be tasty. If they’re bland and boring, I’m more likely to get myself a burger or something which tastes much nicer.
  3. User-friendly: Thirdly, the food has to be relatively quick and easy to prepare – otherwise my busy lifestyle will impede my staying on the diet. You can have all the good intentions in the world, but if you’re really hungry by the time you get home from work, you can’t stand there and twiddle your thumbs for an hour while a casserole cooks.
  4. Backed by Science: This is a big influencer for me. I need to have confidence that the diet is not all just a big fad that some guy has put together to make lots of money. The Total Well-being Diet is the result of more than 10 years of research and has withstood scientific peer review (that means that other, indpendent scientists have checked the research and agreed with the conclusions).

The Total Well-being Diet is full of fresh vegetables and fruit, and contains protein without it being overwhelming. There are carbs included, but limited to three serves each day (eg, 3 slices of bread). It’s also very varied, with different dishes every night, and quick, practical lunches that are suited to people at work.

I’m not going to pretend it’s perfect – because it isn’t. But I have found is that it works. Mostly. And it certainly works better than any other diet I’ve ever been on, and when I’m eating this food, I actually do feel pretty healthy.

I’m also not directly recommending this diet. Each person needs to find what works for them – this one just happens to work for me, at the moment. But if you’re looking for a guide to eat healthy food with an option of weight loss, it’s certainly worth taking a look at.

 Note: I have no relationship whatsoever with the creators or publishers of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

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5 Comments

  1. KRin says:

    I actually quite like lettuce…my diet is dreadful as I just can’t be naffed most times to get anything to eat! I do try and eat one meal a day. I know it’s bad for me. I also don’t seem to have a hunger trigger – I just get tummy rumbles when its empty.

    If you would like to me to hunt down some journal articles, let me know!

    1. Mackenzie says:

      Your metabolism gets slower the less you eat – which is probably why you don’t feel any hunger triggers. And as nice as lettuce is, it actually doesn’t have a huge number of nutrients in it 🙂 If you want to make some meals that you can quickly defrost, let me know as I have some good suggestions for things that are pretty quick and easy to make.

  2. Allegra says:

    If only they had a vegetarian/ pescetarian version of the CSIRO diet!

    1. Mackenzie says:

      That’s a good question – I haven’t actually seen any vegetarian diets out there. I wonder if there are any. CSIRO does give you fish twice a week, and lunches of tinned tuna or salmon, but if you wanted to, you could have fish every night, or substitute soy or other proteins. But you need to be sure the type of diet is suitable for you and your needs. I’m going with this one because it is suited to where I put on weight. You might need something different.

  3. KRin says:

    Haven’t had a hunger trigger for years now – thinking back for more than 12 years I think. I loathe to cook – I find it a total bore. I eat a lot of salad! I don’t diet and don’t think I ever did. With the change I can no longer eat capsicum – odd. I need to get some more vegetables growing.

    I’ve got some cartoons to send you of Ian’s…