Smart People Don't Diet: How the Latest Science Can Help You Lose Weight Permanently
by Charlotte Markey
Published: December 30th 2014
Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help
Format: Paperback (280 pages)
Being on a diet is a miserable experience for most people, and it rarely leads to the desired goal of shedding fat. In fact, studies show that dieters often gain weight rather than lose it because most diets’ intensity, restrictions, and short duration are ill-equipped to produce long-term effects. In Smart People Don’t Diet, Dr. Charlotte N. Markey offers a refreshingly different approach to weight management.
Based on more than 100 years of research by scientists, doctors, nutritionists, and psychologists, Dr. Markey’s plan addresses the underlying causes of weight gain and offers proven strategies for healthful, lasting weight management, including advice on how to eat well, lose weight, and keep it off. The gimmicks don’t work, but Dr. Markey’s reasonable, accessible advice will help you get—and stay—healthy.
Smart People Don’t Diet is a common-sense, long-term approach to weight loss. It’s probably a refresher course to the health class you took in high school. Since it’s been a while since I was in high school, it was kind of nice to get some reminders of the best way to stay healthy.
The first part of the book spends time convincing you not to go on diets and why. TL;DR – there’s no such thing as a short term diet if you want to lose weight. So you can throw Atkins, low-carb, and Paleo diets out the window (unless you’re going to do them for the rest of your life.)
Don’t completely eliminate food you love. If you can’t give it up forever, don’t give it up at all and instead practice moderation when you eat the foods you love. Charlotte Markey mentions coffee, but mine would be chocolate and sugar. I’ve been working on allowing myself sweets but in moderation and it’s been working for me. I’m still losing weight! Research shows labeling foods as “forbidden” makes you eat more of them than if you hadn’t called it “forbidden.” Didn’t Edward Cullen say something about the forbidden fruit tasting the sweetest? LOL kidding. (He said his girlfriend did taste really good though)
Now this idea was really cool. Make a food diary on a piece of paper or using an app to keep track of every thing you eat for a day. Be honest. If you eat a tub of cookie dough write it down (8 servings of cookie dough…check). Then make small changes each week based on your diary to make it healthier. Pick things you can stick to long term. Her approach could take as long as a year to completely change your diet, but the gradual changes don’t make you feel deprived and it’s easier to stick with it. Here’s the order that Charlotte Markey says to make healthier changes in your diet:
- Sweets and treats
Drinks are the easiest place to save calories. Replace junk snacks with healthy snacks. Don’t eat too many sweets. If you do eat sweets, be very careful with portion control. There was a Quality vs. Quantity analogy she had that I liked. She loved ice cream and would eat Ben and Jerry’s but since it’s full of calories she can’t eat very much of it. She found herself having a hard time with portion control so she switched to a sorbet that she could eat a lot more of. All good advice, right? And we all probably know it. But that doesn’t mean I was doing it. Reading Smart People Don’t Diet gave me a kick in the pants to start making better, healthier choices.
Work on meals last. Split your calorie goal into how much you want to eat for each meal. I liked this idea and I started do it with My Fitness Pal. It’s a fast way to know if you’re generally eating the amount of calories you should without religiously counting them. She says you shouldn’t spend your life counting calories, but I kind of like it. It’s like a game to make sure I stay under my calories and hit my protein goal. (I’m a little competitive:)
Try to exercise 150 minutes a week. Any physical activity is better than nothing. You might think I’m dorky, but I’m using this pedometer that came with my Wii Fit U and I plug the data in the game. It has these online courses you can go on for distance and altitude. I’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower and walked all through New York and Chicago! Digitally! But still it’s kind of fun! Since the pedometer tracks my steps, I am actually doing real housework so I can increase my activity each day. Seriously. Like laundry and everything. I’m going to hike London next and climb the tallest building in the world.
There were a few practical things that I learned. Protein should be 20% of calories for weight management and carbs should be 45%-65% of calories for weight management. I did not know that. Thank you, book.
The two best tips that I got out of Smart People Don’t Diet were:
- Keep yourself motiviated by focusing on not gaining weight.
- Have “every day” foods and “sometimes” food for special occasions
Apples are every day foods and cake is a sometimes food. I had the reverse attitude which is more like, “Every day is special! More cake! You deserve it Jessica!” While I do deserve cake, I now save it for birthdays and don’t eat it every day anymore. Slowly but surely I’m going to get this whole healthy thing down. And going easy on yourself by saying “Hey at least you didn’t gain weight today!” is actually a pretty good way of not beating yourself up if you aren’t perfect.
I want recommendations for diet and health books! It’s a goal of mine to learn more about health and I want to hear any books that you have loved.
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