I’m back from our cabin-stayed a little longer than planned but it’s summer and I can. While up there, I was asked a weight-loss question by a couple of ladies who saw me working out. I’ve been asked this question many times during my fitness career, and I almost always have the same answer-diets don’t work! If they did, we’d run out of dieters. Yet, the diet industry is a 30 billion dollar-a-year industry, and it shows no signs of going anywhere but up. I’ve always maintained that eating by instinct, that is, eating when your body tells you to and tells you what to eat, along with moderate exercise, is the best way to stay at your body’s preferred weight. Lo and behold, an article in the health section of the July 16th New York Times features Kate Harding, who has just authored a book called “Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere. A failed dieter, she writes that we all knew how to eat intuitively once: infants don’t binge or starve themselves, and, presumably, cavemen didn’t either. Instinctive eating involves returning to basic drives, with foods being neither “good” or “bad”, and about rules of when to eat.This philosophy holds that absent a fear of deprivation, one’s hunger and taste cues, rather than cognitive rules, provide a trustworthy guide toward balanced, healthy eating. Ms. Harding states that “If you’re actually listening to your body and not the voices in your head, you won’t be inclined to eat yourself sick very often.”

Indeed, weight acceptance ideas are edging into the mainstream. Several studies have shown that you can be overweight and still be healthy, as long as you exercise. Dr. Steven Blair, formerly of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and now professor of exercise science, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of South Carolina, has several studies showing that an obese people who are fit have a death rate of one-half that of normal weight people who are  not fit.

I listen to my body when planning meals-I can tell when I really want a salad, or when a cheeseburger sounds great, or when I need something salty, etc. Eating instinctively also takes the neurosis out of dieting-always thinking about what you can and can’t have. Takes too much energy to think about that all off the time.

Health tip. Keep the cinnamon handy. A teaspoon of cinnamon daily helps to control blood sugar and insulin, and helps regulate fat cell metabolism. You can also get it in capsule form, dose is 500 mg/day.

Stay well, John R Blilie,M.S.