I’d like to share an email from one of my adult patients that made my day. It came from Alice, a forty-something professional woman who has struggled with bulimia and her weight since college, and read:
”Marcia, I want to say thank you for your Food Plan. As I stood in the workplace kitchen today to heat up my leftovers, I was surrounded by women eating horrible-looking Lean Cuisine lunches and slices of shiny, orange fat-free cheese. I thought, “Oh my God, I don’t eat food that I don’t like anymore!” It was an epiphany. I used to pack a “healthy” lunch every day… a Lean Cuisine selection, a fat-free, sugar-free yogurt (if you can even call that yogurt), celery sticks, and a packet of Crystal Light (artificial sweetener). I learned that this was not healthy, and on top of that, I never felt happy or satisfied. Now, I pack leftovers or half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a piece of fruit. I also buy a candy bar every day, and I’m perfectly satisfied. You have truly changed my life, so thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Those of you who are not familiar with our “there-are-no-bad-foods” philosophy might be surprised at the reference to buying a candy bar every day. Alice follows my Food Plan, which includes the prescription of two servings of “fun food” per day. Foods in this category usually contain sugar and fat. When they are eaten at the end of a meal, they provide a supreme sense of satisfaction that prevents overeating or bingeing.
It is letters and feedback like this from my patients that keep me going. When they realize that they can buy and eat everyday foods that normal eaters partake of every day, and still stick to their Food Plan, it truly is a revelation. I hope that all of you who are struggling on a regimen of packaged “diet” foods and fat-free everything will try my Food Plan and see for yourself: it IS possible to eat regular, normal-size meals and snacks and not succumb to the negative eating patterns that you are trying so hard to end. Typical diet foods lack the satisfaction of fun foods and over time set you up for overeating. In the 1950s and 1960s when dieting and diet foods were not big business, Americans were thinner and most ate a dessert with lunch and dinner. Alice fondly remembers her grandmother saying, “save room for dessert.” Now, after giving up “diet” foods and normalizing her eating, she sees the wisdom of her grandmother’s words.