An Open Letter to Internet Dieters

Dear Chronic Internet Dieter,

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

We get it. Google is the answer for (almost) everything. Guides for child-proofing your living room, what movie that guy was in, and even scripted break-up speeches. But when it comes to diet and food advice, the Google method is killing us.

Watch out for:

  • Fast: As in, "lose weight FAST!" Or, come to think of it, also as in "go on a fast and deprive yourself of food." Go ahead and add "cleanse" and "detox" as well.
     
  • Add "X", also known as the Superfood claim: No single food is going to magically make your diet perfect. Even a diet of 100 percent kale would leave you pretty protein deficient and low on healthful fats. Don’t even get us started on quinoa.
     
  • Cut "X": There’s also no single food that can "poison" your diet. Cutting a food or food group out entirely can lead you in the wrong direction, when the real end goal is balance, variety, and moderation. Not to mention, if you followed all the "cut out" recommendations, there would be nothing left (seriously, we checked.)
     
  • So hot right now: Ever heard that there is "nothing new under the sun"? Fad diets didn’t start with Gwyneth or paleo. Even the Lord Byron diet from 1820 sounds like something you could read about on Page Six! No matter how new the lastest fad looks on a shiny magazine cover, it still isn't an improvement over the silliness from ages past.

Not going to Google for diet advice probably makes it feel like all is lost (as though you’ve left your cell phone at home—quelle horror!) But it isn’t. Thankfully, there are legit steps you can take to improve your weight and health status. Eat more fruits and veggies, up your protein and fiber intake (since they make you feel more satisfied), and be mindful of your portion sizes. Look to sources like MyPlate, EatRight.org, and (my home!) FoodInsight.org to find food information from professionals that aren't just of-the-moment fads. Weight-loss quick-fixes won’t go away—just take it from these experts who wish they would—but they can be outsmarted.

Go forth and conquer, former Internet dieters! You’re better than the fads.

Yours in health and sanity,
Liz

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