Thursday, July 25, 2013


By wacky fad diets, I mean those diets that basically allow all you can eat of one food but restrict intake of other foods. Some of these diets have the names of famous people attached to them, but I’m leaving the names off, to avoid controversy.

Examples of fad diets are:
The Morning Banana Diet Basically dieters can eat all the bananas they want for breakfast and snacks but no other foods at those times. Some promoters of this diet allow milk with breakfast.

The Grapefruit Diet (sometime called the Hollywood Diet) Generally dieters following his plan eat grapefruit with all meals and are not allowed other carbohydrates, such as sweets or grains.

The Ice Cream Diet Early renditions of this diet allowed those wishing to lose weight to eat all ice cream they wanted but nothing else. Now those promoting this diet suggest dieters eat 1,250 calories per day in a balanced diet and once serving of ice cream.

Baby Food Diet This diet plan allows weight watchers to eat all the baby food they can gag down for two meals a day and snacks. They are allowed one normal meal a day.

I’m sure you can name many more fad diets

Will these diets work?
It’s amazing how boredom can decrease your appetite. Most of us will eat less if we are faced with limited choices. Let’s be honest, after a week you can develop a real aversion to bananas, grapefruit, or baby food, and maybe even ice cream. And then you’ll probably eat much less. That why the early renditions of the ice cream diet often failed, many could eat prodigious amounts of their favorite dessert for weeks on end.

In modern renditions of these fad diets, dieters are encouraged to eat a low calorie (about 1200 calories daily) balanced diet with these foods and to exercise more. This increases the likelihood of weight loss.

So what did you learn?
Basic science holds true. If you consume less calories and exercise more you lose weight. Fad diets add a little advertising pizzazz to this bland advice. That makes some people stick to their intentions long enough to lose weight.

Does this apply to writing?
Strong writing is like your basic balanced 1200-calorie diet with plenty of exercise. It works and produces the desired results – a good, maybe even great novel. However, it often takes a well-known name, a dynamic platform (which mean lots of hard work doing promotional activities), and/or catchy advertising gimmicks to turn it into a best seller.

Have you found the fad diet (advertising gimmick) to sell your books? I’d like to hear about it. I’m sure other writers would too.

JL Greger

In Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, physician Linda Almquist, Sara's sister, is investigating an ambitious "diet doctor" who may be eliminating anyone who thwarts his career plans. You'll think of this book before you start your next diet. Learn more at

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