LUCY BURDETTE: I like to read through the announcements on Publishers Marketplace to see what books have sold recently. Maybe you won't be surprised to hear that there are as many diet and health books as there are cookbooks. For example, you can expect cookbooks in the next 18 months on artisan ice cream, Recipes from a Roman kitchen, and 100 Things to Do with a Pickle.
On the other side, two books are coming called THINK EAT MOVE, "helping readers create a revolution from within with a lifestyle program that marries the practices of mindfulness, eating with intention, and interval-based movement in order to achieve lasting, optimum wellness" and SMART PEOPLE DON'T DIET, "a science-based, gimmick-free approach to healthy weight management and eating."
Sigh. I hate dieting. And I love eating. The times I've decided to diet, the foods I select to cut back on become irresistible. (Like Hank's suggestion to skip white food?--a movie runs through my brain showing all the white foods I cannot do without.) A decision to diet always boomerangs, and I gain a few pounds instead of losing. So I'm hoping that my strategy of eating reasonably, without depriving myself, and upping the exercise a bit will last me a lifetime.
So Reds, are you experts at dieting? If not, what are your strategies for enjoying food while staying healthy?
HALLIE EPHRON: I do not diet unless I can't button my pants. But I always watch what I eat. Fortunately for me I don't have a sweet tooth and I love to cook.
Give up white foods? Never! I got a perverse pleasure out of seeing an analysis of rice that showed comparative levels of arsenic -- highest levels were found in brown rice. Least high in instant rice. Go figure. Make mine Basmati.
Lucy: The question is Hallie, which pants?
Hank Phillippi Ryan: Oh yes, indeed, I am an expert on dieting! Television adds 10 pounds, it really does… And people always say to me, you look so much thinner in real life than you do on TV.
I suppose it's better than the alternative.
But it makes me very conscious of it. I don't eat sugar, really, or any carbs, very often at least, and I'm kind of conscious of it, when I do. Like last night I had nacho chips. And I think I had five…
But for someone who doesn't have to be so weird about it :-) , here's my true diet tip.
The best bite of anything is the first bite. The other bites are just to try to recapture that first bite. Which you can never do.
Lucy: Oh Hank, you must be one of the most disciplined people on the planet!
RHYS BOWEN: When I was young I was super-skinny. (108 pounds when I married, hence the brief and disastrous modeling career) I've always had a small appetite and we rarely eat calorie-laden foods so I never actually diet. I am eating homemade veggie soup for lunch all this week so that I'll look as slim as my Red counterparts by next Friday. (I confess to becoming a little poochy around the tummy recently. It never went after a 12 day cruise).
John and I are great believers in the glycemic index and eat avocado every day. Also nuts as snacks and frequent grilled fish.
And hardly ever dessert, although I do love my two squares of dark chocolate.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: I'm a complete chowhound. And sometimes I'm not even that discriminating. One night last week Bruce was out of town, I was grumpy and I ate an entire container of ice cream for dinner. I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT FLAVOR IT WAS.
I feel as if I've been on a diet my whole life, including an embarassingly trendy one last fall (which worked very well.) But most of the time I just, mentally count calories. If I know, as I do re this week, that I'll be going out with friends for dinner, twice, AND I'll be going to the feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy on Saturday night, I'll eat light the other days. It works most of the time. Can't not eat the zeppole in Little Italy.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: You are all thin and fabulous. I however, am here to represent the other 85% of American women: those of us who are pleasantly plump. Zaftig. Abbondanza. I eat what I like, and what I like is a lot.
Admittedly, I was at one time considerably smaller. I used to run, hike, ski cross-country and alpine. Then my knees went all to hell. Now I swim in the pool at the Y at a decorous pace. My children have nicknamed me The Manatee.
I eat healthfully, I have great cholesterol/blood pressure/blood sugar numbers, and the only reason I'm ever tempted to diet is because most designer clothes don't come in anything larger than 12. I'll think Ooo, that Thom Browne dress is amazing...then I'll bake a plate of brownies and remind myself that Ralph Lauren and Talbots both stock Womens sizes.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm on the "healthy lifestyle" side of the diet spectrum. I was diagnosed as hypoglycemic when I was about fourteen, so have been careful about sugar and refined carbs my entire adult life. Fortunately I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I read labels...very irritatingly, I'm sure. No high-fructose corn syrup. No hydrogenated oil. No msg.
But as long as food is real food, I eat just about everything. If the pounds start accumulating around my middle (which they do... sigh) my idea of a "diet" is to eat smaller portions and exercise more.
Lucy: Time for you to weigh in Jungle red readers! Do smart women (and men) diet?