Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When it comes to dieting, do you feel confused?

Many of us appear to have a bipolar relationship with food. We’re either feasting or dieting. Doubt me?

Flip on your TV and watch the ads. First there’s one for a restaurant with pictures of smiling, thin people and sizzling steaks or pizzas dripping with gooey cheese. Next a slender actress coos about a diet regime while she shows you tiny portions of foods that look like plastic models. After a small break for the program, the ads are back.

That’s why I wrote Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. I thought the love – hate relationship most of us have with food was a good backdrop for a murder mystery. And Albuquerque was the perfect location. Let me explain.

There are similarities between dieting and solving a murder.
 1) Both are hard work.
 2) Both should be taken seriously. Obesity is life threatening; it’s not just a cosmetic problem. Although humorous scenes add to murder mysteries, murder isn’t funny.
3) Little things (like calories and seemingly insignificant clues) are important.
4) Patience and persistence are the keys to success in losing weight or solving a murder.

In Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, the protagonist Linda Almquist struggles to lose weight, to fit into a new job where she’s not really wanted, and to help the police catch a killer before he strikes a third time. At times, you won’t be sure which of these activities is hardest for Linda.

Albuquerque is a great restaurant town.
I set many scenes in real restaurants (Flying Star, Hurricanes, Jason’s Deli) because Albuquerque is home to a lot of great southwestern cooking – burritos stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink and dripping in cheese, fried chili rellenos smothered in red or green chili sauce, and pork tamales with guacamole and sour cream on the side. Note southwestern cooking isn’t known for its’ low-calorie entrees. And tension builds (I hope) as the “dieting” Linda peruses menus and reluctantly chooses salads with dressing on the side.

Now let’s get’s personal and address your love-hate relationship with food.
This advice comes from a nutritionist who loves eating and cooking and doesn’t always follow this advice.
1. Learn to enjoy more activities that don’t involve eating or drinking.
2. Don’t make a stop for ice cream the reward for exercise.
3. Make a couple of new rules at your house: no eating or drinking in front of the TV or computer or in bed. Hopefully, the activities in these locations will be so interesting, you’ll choose not to get another snack. And you can tell yourself and your spouse, this will reduce messy mistakes.
4. Don’t buy your favorite snack foods. If potato or taco chips aren’t in your house, you can’t eat them. Sometimes I think the main advantage of buying some “diet” snack foods is that they don’t taste good, so I eat less of them.
5. Read more books. And make it a rule not to eat or drink while reading. Remember, resale vendors don’t like books that have food or drink stains.

Okay, these hints are great but they should make you think. How often do you eat because you bored, not hungry?

Why not satisfy your taste for mystery and suspense, by buying Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight and Coming Flu on Amazon or if you’re in Albuquerque at Treasure House (on the square in Old Town Albuquerque) or Menaul Book Exchange (at 9409 Menaul Boulevard)? 

JL Greger