Is It Any Wonder? Diet Advice from the Past


My daughter Lesley was at Green Mountain for the past month, going through our women’s wellness program.  When she wasn’t in class or out on a hike or other fun fitness activity, she pitched in with good cheer and willingness to do whatever needed to be done at a moment’s notice.  As anyone who runs a business knows, having that kind of person around is invaluable.

I’m not sure what she was doing when she discovered what I’m going to blog about, but suffice it to say that I was pleased she pointed it out to me.  She had found an old book on one of our office shelves, the title of which claimed to provide wisdom for dieters.  Not sure how it got into our offices, but I can assure you it wasn’t because we were looking for wisdom from it.

One look at what was contained within made me sure of that.  If it was thought of as wisdom for dieters just a decade or so ago, it’s no wonder that as a society we continue to struggle with taking care of ourselves.

Several of its tips that stand in for wisdom:

  • If you can stay on them, unbalanced diets work. I don’t even know what to say in response to that.
  • If you reduce fat consumption from 40% of calories to 10% of total calories, you can eat 1/3 more food yet take in the same number of calories. Okay, so what does that look like on your plate?  Hint:  Not good, at least in my humble opinion.  But then again, I love food.
  • Rice cakes and sugar-free jelly or jam is good low-calorie, fat-free fare. Ditto my comment in the previous bullet.  I’d vote for a nice juicy piece of fresh fruit instead.
  • For each small pretzel that you eat, walk three minutes. Do I even need to say anything?
  • Nothing will ever taste as good as thin looks. I can barely type this one.
  • Chocolates are a more disastrous binge food than cookies. Who says?
  • Never eat anything larger than your head. What?
  • No one wants to hire you when you are fat — and wages prove it. I don’t think I can go on.

To be fair, there were some good tips in the book.  But with tips like those above, I say it’s no wonder that people are confused.  The really disturbing thing is that these kinds of tips aren’t confined to this one book; they’re something we’ve all heard many times before.

Do you have any old diet books on your shelves that make you wonder what people were thinking when it was written?

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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