Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm happy with my no diet diet plan

Here and there, I catch a couple of minutes in the morning of Gillian McKeith's healthy lifestyle TV show You Are What You Eat. Each episode Gillian transforms the featured guests' diet from a diet rich in carbohydrates, fat and sugar to a diet jam packed with fruit, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods. 

There is so much to marvel about this show: the massive display of a week's worth of beige food, poop floating through a tube during a colonic irrigation, blood tests, tongue and belly examinations and of course, the fascinating segment, the stool sample analysis. There are aspects of this show that I find insightful and a little frightful.

The extreme change in diet is the part of the show that causes concern for me. Prior to the show, the guests' diet is not normal. All guests eat massive amounts of junk and highly processed food devoid of vegetables and fruit and nutrients. Gillian's diet is packed with whole foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and all foods are completely unprocessed.

My concern isn't about the food she is suggesting; in fact much of what she says about processed foods really speaks to me (but that is for another post). What I find problematic about Gillian's diet is it realistic for these people to keep it up? Are they happy with what they are doing?

Last week a guest expressed concern with the four hours of prepping and cooking food in the kitchen each day. And just as regular (or irregular) as the poop samples, there is the obligatory scene with the participant gagging on some of the unusual recipes, such as the unusual juice concoctions (parsley juice?) and whole grain dishes such as quinoa porridge.

Yoni Freedhof of routinely says in his blog that in order to make a lifelong change, you need a sustainable plan, a plan that you keep up forever; and you are happy with what you are doing. And I can tell you, I would not be happy spending four hours a day cooking and eating foods that are poles apart from my current menu is not a plan that I could or would maintain forever.

So, this makes me think. Am I happy with my weight loss plan? Can I keep this up forever?

Yes, I am happy with my plan and I do think that I can keep this up forever. Here are the top ten reasons why I think my no diet diet plan is a plan that I can keep up indefinitely:   

1. No food is off-limits, no amount too much.
2. No food journalling.
3. I understand and manage my cravings.
4. It works with my family life and career.
5. Walking to and from the Go Train adds up to 50 minutes of exercise each day without much effort.
6. Swimming with a team is more fun and interesting than swimming alone or going to the gym.
7. I'm eating like a normal person.
8. I'm not in a race to get to my goal weight.
9. I'm not accountable to anyone but myself.
10. I don't feel like I'm on a diet.

Sure, change is needed. But why does the change need to be so extreme? I feel that these people are being set up for disappointment. I'm sure some people manage to keep up Gillian's diet, but I wouldn't be surprised if most go back to their food comfort zone. I know I would.

Do you watch You Are What You Eat? If so, do you think you could eat Gillian's recommended diet for the rest of your life? Are you happy with your weight loss plan? 

Previous post: Dietary Assessment - who knew the stomach flu was going around edition


  1. Don't pay much attention to Gillian McKeith. She enjoyed some popularity here in the UK a few years ago but was subsequently discredited for passing herself off as a doctor. Wikipedia & Google will tell you more.

  2. Karen - My worry is that if I hit a plateau that I'm going to lose faith and question my plan!

    jaylen watkins - completely agree!

    Anonymous - I did come across that headline while searching for a picture. Along with her participation in the celebrity X-factor and I'm a celebrity get me out of here.

    I suppose that is the reason for the massive disclosure (longer than an infomercial) before the show starts and after commercials!


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