Diet and Exercise… Will Never Cure the Obesity Epidemic

After years of proclaiming that “diet is 85% of the game”, this title might leave you thinking that I have just fallen off the turnip truck. But if you sit with me for a few minutes, I will explain why I believe that the current protocol for addressing obesity is doomed to failure.

Diet and exercise: there are two distinct problems in this equation. The first one comes from the inherent limitations of language and misunderstandings around the word ‘Diet’. Secondly, we have adopted a view of physical fitness that does not reach the vast majority of the population. Throw both of those into a solution for combating obesity related degenerative diseases, and the byproduct is a catastrophic fiasco. Does that mean that you should just resign yourself to ‘genetics’ and a future predetermined by forces out of your control? Of course not! Let’s break it all down for a better understanding of what-fails-where, and then we can look at a better solution.

The dictionary definition of the word ‘diet’ does not vary much. Merriam-Webster describes diet as:
a. food and drink regularly provided or consumed
b. habitual nourishment
c. the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason, and
d. a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.

In our current culture, D-I-E-T is a four-letter word in every sense. Nobody likes being on a diet. When people talk about diets today, it is almost always in reference to that last definition. Being on a diet is all about denial, limitations, bland foods, and becoming a bit of a social outcast. Dieting has become synonymous with a collection of aberrant prescriptions outlining good and bad foods. Atkins, South Beach, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and a host of other diets over the decades claim to be the ideal solution for health and weight maintenance.

The real problem is that nobody eats this way as a natural course, so diets are always temporary. That means that eventually, you are going to be back in the same predicament debating which ‘diet’ to put yourself on next to help you lose the extra weight. And, that extra weight will return given that scientific studies show that when individuals diet to lose weight, they rebound by gaining all of the weight lost plus additional weight when they return to a ‘normal’ diet. This is a direct response to the traditional calorie restricted diet.

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Corporate Wellness Lunch & Learns

corporate-wellness-lunch-and-learnsCorporate Wellness Lunch & Learns Seminars


• Defining Nutrients (Basics)
• Understanding Diets
• When Diet and Exercise Don’t Seem to be Working
• Foundations and Body Typing
• Straight Talk about Fast Food
• Portion Control: Why Diets Fail
• Food and Stress
• Do You Need Supplements?
• Family Nutrition: What Kids Will Eat
• The Whole Foods Advantage
• Economics of a Healthy Diet

• Do what you enjoy
• Putting effort to work for you
• Lightweight resistance training
• Getting to the core of things
• Flexibility for longevity


• SMART Goals Seminar
• Living the Less-Stress Lifestyle I: Start S.M.A.R.T!
• Living the Less-Stress Lifestyle II: Finish S.T.R.O.N.G!
• Easy ways to reduce stress
• Stress and the holidays
• Change for Good! How to Let Go of a Bad Habit and Create a Better One
• How to Stop Doing What You DON’T Want and Start Doing What You DO Want!
• How to Change Your Mind, Change Your Behaviors, and Change Your Life

Find out how your company can benefit from a Wellness Program

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A Definition of What Exactly Are “Whole Foods”

In the nutrition industry, we have to be mindful of the words that we use and how they are applied to day-to-day contact. Oftentimes terms we use are not obvious to “normal people”. Today we are going to talk in plain English about a definition of what EXACTLY are whole foods.


Sometimes, the concept of healthy nutrition is a lot like my college experience in freshman psychology and sociology classes: everybody and his dog seems to have a theory. This could not be truer in the diet industry.

Reading diet book after diet book, it became very obvious that most diet books are little more than one person’s journal of how they fixed themselves. The problem comes in the habit to bill that one person’s solution as a silver bullet for the vast majority. It sells because, with that promise, people are captured by the hope that they too could experience true joy and self-acceptance if only they can follow ‘this’ meal plan for a month or two. Diets do not work because they do not typically reflect real life – Your Life!

The basis of my practice and preaching revolves around whole foods, but a friend recently pointed out to me that she did not really understand what defines whole food.

A definition of whole foods

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat.

That might clear up some confusion, but we go a little farther here with examples. Of course, all raw fruits and vegetables are whole foods. Since most of us are not following a raw-foods diet, lets look as some other common foods. Take potatoes for starters. A baked potato is closer to its original form as it was uprooted on the farm than a potato chip. A kettle chip is simply sliced and dropped into a deep fat fryer, and possibly coated with various flavors. A baked potato would be considered a whole food: a potato chip would not.

Things can get a little gray from here, as many of the foods that we do not consider as junk-foods may still not be considered as whole foods. Milk is a perfect example. Pasteurization and homogenization strip milk of nutrients and enzymes that are normally contained in raw milk. Add to that the practice of reducing fats, fortifying with vitamins and mineral , and in some cases, adding artificial flavors such as strawberry and it becomes more clear that the milk you get in the grocery (unless you live in California) is no longer a whole food. It does not matter if you use that milk to make fermented foods such as yogurt or kefir – it is no longer a whole food. Raw milk cheese would be a different story.

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