Yesterday I mentioned that I was going back on a diet after my week on vacation where one of our main pastimes was eating. So now I’m back to watching what I eat. Well, I always watch what I eat; it is just that sometimes I watch myself eat a whole lot more than I should. Now it is time to knuckle down and get serious about dropping a few pounds. That is, I was serious before I read of a report that was released today.
It seems that scientists at UCLA have conducted one of the largest comprehensive reviews of dieting research ever, and they have concluded that dieting does not work. The researchers analyzed every study they could find that followed people on diets for 2 to 5 years, and what they discovered is that it would have been better for most to have not gone on a diet at all! Why? At the end of five years, their weight is the same plus their bodies have gone through wear and tear from losing and then gaining the weight. While 10% if dieters have lost weight after 6 months, 33 to 66 % gain more than they lose within 4 to 5 years. This is not the encouragement I need to pony away from the feedbag and drop the excess weight.
What dieting is (at least from my experience) is a period of depravation (that’s the diet) following a period of indulgence (the rest of the time when I eat what I want). I’ve seen books on dieting for Christians like “The Bible Diet: 40 Days to Cleanliness” (based on Daniel and his refusal to eat the king’s food) and “The Maker's Diet” (based on clean and unclean food regulations). To my knowledge, no one has written “John the Baptist Diet” extolling the benefits of locusts and wild honey, though John didn’t live long enough to know what the long term results of this high-crunch, high-carb fare.
I rather suspect that if God did write a diet book it would tell us to eat what we enjoy, just not too much... and to take the extra we forgo and share with those who are hungry. I think He may tells us to never over-indulge in food or drink and to make wise and healthy choices about what we eat and don’t eat. He would tell us to undergo both periods of fasting and feasting, but to have spiritual and not just physical goals for each. And He would tell us not to become obsessed with how we look but to make wise choices that care for the physical temple which is our body and which He uses to accomplish His will. I think He would expect us to make those kinds of healthy and wise choices because we are self-controlled people of moderation. I mainly think God would say those kinds of things about our diet because God has said those kinds of things. But these are a lot easier to blog about than they are to live, aren't they?