Why are we the fattest country around, with the greatest abundance of diets and diet food? What can be done about this vicious correlation?

While we sit around discussing diets du jour, drinking diet sodas and eating artificially flavored diet foods, we have continued to gain weight as a nation.

After surviving 2 weeks of deprivation, The South Beach Diet and even the “new” Atkins diet basically advocate healthy eating: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, poultry, fish and olive oil. Are there actually any Americans who don't know this is what they should be eating? So why aren't they? Dr. Agatston seems to be aware that people can only eat this way for a limited time, so his solution is to return to the severe deprivation phase of his South Beach diet whenever a tune-up becomes necessary. This basically advocates yo-yo dieting, which is a nightmare we've already experienced.

I believe this mentality of being on and off diets has failed people for quite some time. If low carb diets really worked we’d all be thin and gorgeous, since they’ve been around for several decades. I wrote to the contact person at the Atkin’s web site and asked her to send me research articles finding people who completed their diet and kept the weight off. She responded, “Thank you for your email. No, not at this time. No diet plan has any long term research.” This is disgraceful, since Atkins has been around since the early 1970’s. We need a plan for life, which is physically satisfying and psychologically fulfilling.

I say "go natural." What if we attempted to eliminate foods with artificial ingredients, and stocked up on some decent snacks, such as Newman's Own cookies, Brent and Sam's cookies, Luna bars, Karen's Fabulous Biscotti, Dude's Chips, Tropical Source chocolates, Stretch Island fruit leather, and Kozy Shack chocolate pudding? The USDA suggests the average woman should consume approximately 1600 calories a day, and men can have 2,200 plus or minus, depending on activity level. Eating "healthy junk foods" in addition to fruits, veggies, whole grains, and various proteins will prevent cravings, contribute substantial nutrition, and become a plan people can stick to. Chocolate has been found to have tremendous health benefits, not to mention the delectability factor!

People must create a satisfying plan for themselves which consists of more than 1200 calories per day, since this is the generally agreed upon definition of starvation. Starvation creates biological and psychological preoccupation with food, which sabotages progress and feeds eating disorders.

Speaking of psychology, it is important to cope well instead of eating for comfort... but a quick solution for most compulsive/emotional eaters is to stick to one food that won't make them fat during the binge. For instance, Pirate's Booty is low in calories, contains protein and fiber, and is great for abusive eating. It also contains serotonin, as all carbs do, which calms distressed people. Weight will not be gained so there is no self hatred afterwards, which often leads to more eating.

Let’s eliminate the struggle from weight management with permanent control through satisfaction, including successful management of sugar, carbs and fats (instead of depriving or bingeing). incorporating "healthy junk food" into our lives, and coping effectively with emotions.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Aronowitz completed graduate work at Columbia University, and holds two masters degrees and a Ph.D. She has been a consultant to Weight Watchers International, Inc. and is currently a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. Dr. Aronowitz created a system for sustaining an optimal body weight with life long freedom from dieting in her book, Your Final Diet, endorsed by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.