The Folly of Diet Recipes

Have you ever wondered why diet books always seem to have a section of recipes?

Apart from the desire to make the book look larger and therefore more worthwhile, why should we be so interested in studying foods and ways to serve it when we are trying to avoid it as much as possible?

It is inconceivable that we have reached adulthood without the basic skills to boil, bake, steam, or roast our food.

We all know that these are the only low fat methods we should be using on any diet. And whatever we eat, plainer is better to control calories.

So what are all these recipes doing in a book that is supposed to be redirecting our attention away from food?

Is it a case of mutual fool-yourself-time?

The diet authors know that unless their menus have taste, and enticing pictures or detailed ingredient lists, no one will select their plan and they'll lose money. In their real diet plan outline, they identify what is allowed and what is forbidden. Their recipe section might have been written by someone else. Certainly there are substitutions made to qualify as diet food but desserts, dips, and brunches?

We bury our heads in the sand, keep taunting ourselves with those addictive sweet flavors, and crow about the minimal number of calories in a serving of the dish (a thimbleful size - check the small print on how many people this little dish is supposed to serve).

Admit it, the only reason we crave recipes is to spice something up, to increase our pleasure and make the whole dieting task less painful. We can eat food plain without any fancy recipes but that would be no fun.

So we convince ourselves that all the stuff we are adding to our basics: low fat gravy, liquid margarine instead of butter, lemon and capers in place of tartar sauce, vinegar and oil rather than creamy Ranch, and a variety of sugar substitutes are all allowed in our plan so we might as well enjoy.

And then we are surprised and disappointed when the weight loss stops.

It must be my glands!

Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently published a psychologically-based weight control e-workbook, "Diet with an Attitude" which develops mental skills towards the goal of permanent weight control. She can be reached at http://www.DietWithAnAttitude.com. She provides support and guidance in use of the workbook through her regular blog, http://dietwithanattitude.blogspot.com

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