News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 6, 2012

Chris Davies: Diet ‘secret’ really no secret at all

Chris Davies
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Have you had enough promotion of the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet and every other fad diet that promises miraculous weight loss with no exercise or dieting?

If we followed a sensible eating plan with higher fiber and lower fat we might maintain a healthy weight. There would be no need to resort to extreme, unrealistic eating plans.

Think about this for a moment: If you have tried a restrictive diet you’ll know that you may see some fast, though short-lived, results. The problem is that when you hit your goal and implement real food back into your life, you regain your lost weight. The problem lies in your behavior. You must change your lifestyle permanently to lose weight and keep it off.  

To date, the best way to lose weight boils down to portion control and expending more calories than you consume. Translated: eat less and move more. While eating less you should incorporate more vegetables and fruits. Those foods will increase nutrients in your diet, slow absorption of other starchy carbohydrates and help you feel fuller; therefore, you might eat fewer calories.

Stop spending your cash on diets that make you dependent on packaged foods and supplements that are supposedly necessary to help you lose weight. You want a healthy snack? Try an apple and string cheese. Or try a banana and an ounce of peanuts or almonds. Do you have a sweet tooth? The simple trick is to have some carbohydrates, proteins and fats with each meal/snack. This solution has been used for years in the weight-loss industry.

Years ago at a book sale I found a true gem entitled “The Fat Boy’s Book,” by Elmer Wheeler. Wheeler was a self-proclaimed “fat boy.” His book was written in 1950 and covered many facets of the mid-20th century diet era. What struck me was how things have not changed much in more than 60 years in the diet industry. I mention this simply because evidently people have always had weight issues and have looked for quick fixes to combat overeating.

Wheeler discusses his trials and failures on various diets before deciding to do his own research. He found that fad diets didn’t work. He discovered that cutting calories and exercising was the key to his weight loss. That fact still holds true today.

Wheeler’s physician advised him to fortify his eating plan with “protective foods” such as cheese, milk, eggs, meat and fish. He called them “protective foods” simply because they kept him from being hungry. He was not far off on adding those “protective foods” to his eating plan. Adding clean protein and some fat to each meal tends to slow the absorption of carbohydrates and maintains a more stable blood sugar level. The result is satiety, or a satisfied feeling in your tummy.

With a few minor changes, The “Fat Boy’s Book” could be a diet book for today. Eating less and moving more should be our mantra going into 2013.

“Fat gathers around a lazy muscle like relatives around a rich uncle. Work scares relatives and fat.”

Sage wisdom from a 1950s diet book.

Chris Davies, MS, owns Fitness Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at He is a resident of Terre Haute.