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Diets Don’t Work but They Do Make Us Suffer

diet-fix-bookI had a few errands to run this morning before work, so I hopped in the car just in time for CBC Radio One’s The Current.  This morning Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed Dr. Yoni Freehoff, author of The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail (and how to make yours work).

Freehoff’s main point was that diets fail because they make us suffer, and human beings aren’t built to suffer indefinitely. We can suffer for a period of time, but eventually we’ll say, “enough’s enough.”

Now, I have read and heard and even written quite a bit about dieting and why it doesn’t work. See here and here and here, for example. So I didn’t think there was a lot new for me to pick up, though of course I found the segment interesting. But one thing I learned that was new to me was the idea of “best weight.”  Best weight, according to Freehoff, is whatever weight a person reaches when they’re living the healthiest life they truly enjoy.

I like the idea of best weight because it doesn’t legislate standard weights but rather scales it to enjoyment and choice.  The idea doesn’t totally divorce weight from healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t suggest rigid height/weight/BMI measures either.

As Sam has done in her post Fit, Fat, and What’s Wrong with BMI?, Freehoff reminds us to ignore BMI. It’s only a meaningful measure for populations, not individuals.

If you want to hear the whole interview with Freehof, you can tune into it on The Current, here.

And they ended the segment with a country song called, “The Diet Song.” It was new to me, though I guess it’s been around for a while.  It really captures the suffering of a dieter with these lyrics:

Breakfast black coffee one slice of dry toast no butter no jelly no jam
Lunch just some lettuce two celery stalks no booze no potatoes no ham
Dinner one chicken wing broiled not fried no gravy no biscuits no pie
And this dietin’ dietin’ dietin’ dietin’ sure is a rough way to die

Here’s the whole song (not entirely unproblematic in its entirety, but the dieting suffering part gets that feeling of deprivation right):

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