Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Real Food Diet

One of the (many) reasons I became a local food advocate has to do with body weight. Like many of us, I have struggled with weight issues since I was a teenager. In the decades since then I have had periods of being slender and periods of being heavy. The slender times, however, have never been healthy ones--I lost weight eating heavily processed "diet" meals and smoking cigarettes. Whenever I returned to eating regularly I put weight back on, and when I quit smoking I put a lot of weight on. I have only lost weight sustainably--in other words, been able to lose weight and keep it off without extreme effort--by eating whole, organic, local, fresh foods, the kinds I blog about here and for South Shore Now.

It seems evident that human beings have an instinctual drive to eat not just to satiate hunger, but to meet our nutritional needs. Most nutrients and micronutrients (not all of which we even yet understand) are refined out of the foods featured in a Standard North American Diet. Eating low quality food while trying to lose weight is like trying to pick up a tree limb with tweezers--the tool just isn't up to the job. When you change your body, you need extra energy to effect the change, not less!

I still struggle with my weight, and it's higher than I'd like. What I can tell you, though, is that I now easily maintain a weight far below my all-time high, thanks to my focus on real foods. I also have far more energy, better health, and happier moods than I did during my cigarette smoking, Lean Cuisine eating, size 8 days. It's a trade-off I'm happy to take.