The Vice-Busting Diet: A 12-Week Plan to Break Your Worst Food Habits and Change Your Life Forever

Hardcover | July 25, 2006

byJulia Griggs Havey, J. Patrick HaveyForeword byDavid L. Katz

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Julia Havey has lost 130 pounds and kept it off for ten years. She's discovered the key to losing weight and keeping it off--small changes add up to big results. Unlike other diets that ask you to overhaul eating habits or eliminate food groups, The Vice-Busting Diet allows readers to discover what's getting in the way of weight loss. Whether it's soda, fast food, sweets or another temptation, Julia Havey teaches you how to eliminate it and replace it with a healthy alternative--with practical advice and a healthy dose of motivation.

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Julia Havey has lost 130 pounds and kept it off for ten years. She's discovered the key to losing weight and keeping it off--small changes add up to big results. Unlike other diets that ask you to overhaul eating habits or eliminate food groups, The Vice-Busting Diet allows readers to discover what's getting in the way of weight loss. ...

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If you change one bad eating habit, you can change your life.  Julia Havey lost 130 pounds and has kept if off for ten years.  Through her experience she has discovered the key to losing weight and keeping it off - one small change a day adds up to big results.  Unlike other diets that ask you to overhaul eating habits or eliminate ent...

JULIA GRIGGS HAVEY, "Master Motivator" to fourteen million readers at eDiets.com, is the author of Awaken the Diet Within. She has been featured in Glamour, Woman's World, First for Women, and appeared on radio stations across the nation. J.PATRICK HAVEY, D.C. is the president of The Health & Wellness Institute, DC PC. They live in St...

other books by Julia Griggs Havey

Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.49 × 6.3 × 0.96 inPublished:July 25, 2006Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

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ISBN - 10:0312348363

ISBN - 13:9780312348366

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Chapter OneHow Diet Vices Have Changed the Weight of AmericaBefore we begin, I think we need to take time to look at what has led many of us to one of those things we do on a regular basis that can be considered a bad habit. You may know someone who smokes and refers to it as his or her one vice. Or how about someone's favorite indulgence? For example, you see someone eating some chocolate chip cookies and he or she says, somewhat apologetically, "Everyone has a vice, and this is mine."By combining that with diet we come up with a very clear definition of a diet vice: any habitual action that is keeping you from reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. For example, if you eat a dozen chocolate chip cookies every day at noon, you can rest assured that cookies are your diet vice. If you drink a gallon of regular soda every day, that is definitely a diet vice. If you sit on the couch and are glued to the television for four hours a day, that is a diet vice. If you eat Big Macs every day, that is your diet vice. If your portions sizes are too large, that could also be considered a diet vice.After years of helping others lose weight, I have come to the conclusion that the answer to the obesity problem in the United States lies with each of us overcoming our diet vices. This may sound oversimplified, but I truly believe, and will show you, that diet vices are probably the biggest hurdle to getting a handle on the extra weight and the extra calories that we don't need. It's not that we haven't had the right eating plan, or the correct food combinations, or an improper "points" system. I don't believe that we lack the intelligence to discern between good and bad foods. I am convinced that we have been conditioned to believe that dieting is complicated and that we must follow a complex diet in order to lose weight.I think what happened to me is what is happening to the entire country---we're dieting ourselves into a state of obesity. If you think about it, at one time or another you've probably tried to radically change what you eat in order to follow the recommendations of some expert's diet plans. If you are anything like I was, you couldn't stick with those radical changes and you jumped back (face-first) to the foods you ate before. That sums up how just about all of us have dieted---on and off for years.Let's be honest. I think you would agree that plenty of foods out there aren't healthy. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you not only know what foods aren't good for you, but also how much of them you eat! See, I believe that we don't need an expert to tell us how to diet. I also believe I know some things about the way to live in order to achieve a healthy weight. The first thing you need to know is that identifying the diet vices in your life is the first step to gaining control of your life and your weight.I have identified the top three diet vices that have gotten in the way of many of my clients' weight loss and have also led to the weight problems of many subscribers to eDiets.com whom I have worked with. If your vice isn't in the top three, don't worry. I will help you to identify your individual vice and show you the way to break the bad habit (or habits) that is keeping you from your weight loss goals.Top Three Diet VicesThe top three major diet vices that contribute most to obesity are sugary and/or soft drinks, fast food, and television. Again and again, I've seen them as the common denominator in so many people's weight loss struggles and I've also seen studies that have borne this out.Soft DrinksSoft drinks and beverages that are not "diet" are by far one of the single most important items making a major contribution to the obesity epidemic. In Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2001), he explains that "during the 1950s the typical soft-drink order at a fast-food restaurant contained about eight ounces of soda." Mr. Schlosser goes on to describe the quantity of a typical size soft drink today: "a 'large' soda at McDonald's is 32 ounces." Thirty-two ounces is exactly four times the 8-ounce size. And that large size soda contains a whopping 310 calories. We are getting too many calories from soft drinks at fast-food restaurants. The majority of those calories come from refined sugar.Refined Sugar---A Big ProblemAccording to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1995), carbonated soft drinks "are the biggest source of refined sugars in the American diet." Many people drink soft drinks throughout every day. "The USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] recommends that the average person on a 2,000-calorie daily diet include no more than 40 grams of added sugars, which is about the amount of sugar in a 12-ounce soft drink." The ERS goes on to report that in the year 2000, each American consumed an average of 152 pounds of caloric sweeteners. These are the sweeteners you can read about on the side of any bottle or can of soda and juice drink.The National Soft Drink Association's (NSDA) report in 2000 claims, "The average American consumed more than 53 gallons of soft drinks." That amounts to "$60 billion annually [spent] on carbonated soft drinks" according to the NSDA. You can see that about half of the 152 pounds per year of caloric sweeteners (and this is refined sugar) comes from soft drinks. In the 1950s, high-fructose corn syrup use was practically negligible, while in the year 2000 it accounted for almost 64 pounds per person (based on dry weight).Terms like sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, and lactose may mean something to a scientist, but how are we supposed to understand what we're putting into our mouths?Sucrose: More commonly known as white, refined, table sugar, it comes from sugar cane, sugar beets, and sugar maples, and is the most widely used form of sugar.Fructose: Is found naturally in fruits and honey. It can also be commercially refined from corn, sugar beets, and sugar cane. Currently, the most popular form of refined fructose is corn syrup, which is added to hundreds of products. It is about 70 percent sweeter than sucrose.As far as nutritional benefit to our bodies, all simple sugars are empty calories---about four per gram. As for their impact upon our bodies, sucrose is the worst. It demands the production of insulin by our pancreas, causes significant fluctuation in blood-sugar levels, and robs nutrients from various stores in our bodies in order to be digested.These figures are intended to open your eyes to the fact that soft drinks alone are contributing enough to our extra weight to make a big difference!The negative effects of soft drink consumption goes beyond too may "bad" calories. There is a physiological issue that has to do with how your body deals with or receives soft drinks. According to the International Journal of Obesity (June 2000) "the calories from liquids don't seem to register the same way as solid foods with the same 'bad' calories like candy." In other words, the calories from a liquid are worse than the same calories from a food. These unhealthy calories aren't processed in your body the same way as a food with the same number of calories.Your body processes liquids much more quickly than solids, so a soft drink or high-calorie beverage won't fill you up the same way food can. Also, these types of sugars dehydrate your body.The Caffeine HabitAn additional contributing factor to the increase in consumption of soda is caffeine. It's easy to get into the habit of having a caffeinated drink every day. It tastes good and can give you an energy boost. There may be some interesting news regarding that habit. It turns out that a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that caffeine cannot be detected as a flavor (despite claims). Also, according to Dr. Roland Griffiths (in a Hopkins Medicine August 2000 press release), "the same is being said about caffeine that is said (and was said) about nicotine---that each is an addictive and mood-altering drug." This adds to the reason it may be so easy to become addicted to soft drinks and why there has been such an overwhelming increase in consumption over the past fifty years.So whether it is soda or sweetened tea or juice drinks the increased consumption of the sugar (and sometime caffeine) has led to a dangerous habit that in turn has led to overweight for millions of Americans.Fast FoodFast food and soft drinks go hand in hand and they are the one-two punch that is keeping many of us from our healthy weight goals.According to the U.S. Foodservice Industry, the number of fast-food restaurants more than doubled from 1972 to 1995, and there are about a quarter of a million nationwide. This doesn't include the small cafeterias, the vending machines, gas stations, quick shops, and so on that also have various high-calorie, high-fat foods. For the purposes of this discussion, we will focus only on the fast-food restaurants.The most common item available at a fast-food restaurant is beef, and our consumption of beef has steadily increased over the last fifty years. In the 1950s we consumed an annual average of 53 pounds of beef per person, while in the year 2000 the annual average was 65 pounds per person, and from all indications, that number continues to rise today. What goes great on a hamburger? Right---cheese! Our cheese consumption has skyrocketed in this same time period. According to the Agricultural Fact Book, the average "annual consumption of cheese increased 287 percent" during those fifty years. That's an annual average per person of "7.7 pounds in the fifties to a 29.8-pound average in 2000." That's enough to make a few people overweight.What Are You Eating?It's time to grasp the forgotten truth about many fast foods---they're high-calorie, high-fat, unhealthy foods that don't belong in your diet.Along with the advent of fast-food restaurants we have changed other eating habits. The consumption of milk and eggs is considerably down since 1950 (Agricultural Fact Book). What used to be about 37 gallons of milk per person per year in the 1950s is now about 23 gallons per year (including lower fat and whole milk). In the 1950s, the consumption of eggs was 374 per person per year. In 2000 that number dropped to approximately 250 per person. So we consume a third fewer eggs than we did fifty years ago. We also eat more lean meat and drink more low-fat milk (although overall milk consumption is down). What this tells us is that despite our efforts to eat more lean meat (mostly at home) and drink low-fat milk and eat fewer eggs, the climb in obesity rates continues. How can this be? Is it all a matter of fast food? Or can it be because we are making more unhealthy choices than healthy ones? In reality it is a little of both.We consume more bad stuff because we now have light beer, low-fat crackers, low-carb cookies, and lean meats, which seem to give us permission to have more. The fat density of foods we eat at home has decreased by about 6 percent, while the fat-density of foods we eat away from home has increased by almost 3 percent (Agricultural Fact Book).Too Much Added Fats and OilsOne of the other facts about fast food that might interest you is the amount of oils that we're consuming. In the 1950s total added fats and oils were about 45 pounds per person per year. In the year 2000, that number was about 75 pounds per person. Notice that this is added fats and oils, not fats that occur naturally. In fact, per-person animal fat and oil consumption fell 28 percent in the twenty-five-year period before 2000 (University of Kentucky---College of Agriculture), which tells us that we just aren't getting fat from natural fat. Added fats (created in the lab) are the kinds of substances that have been tested to do the job of keeping food together, keeping it from sticking to the pan, helping it cook better...and, making it taste really, really good! You've seen the juicy hamburgers, you've seen the greasy French fries, and the tender breaded chicken pieces. Not one of those is juicy and tender from the natural fat that came with the beef or chicken. It is juicy and tender because of what is added.Certain additives are being investigated for their addictive properties. These potentially keep us coming back for more and contribute to our weight problem. It makes me wonder why these additives are allowed to be sold, distributed, cooked, and consumed.I recently saw a report about a plant in South Africa that was thought to be responsible for keeping the South African bushman from being hungry and could thus be a cure for obesity. As it turns out, it's too expensive to extract the responsible chemical from the plant and make it into a pill. I wonder if it's not the plant, but that these people aren't "hungry" because they're not eating junk-filled diets and are used to not overeating. After all, they live in the desert and there isn't food available on every corner. As I see it, the primary cause of obesity is the availability of unhealthy foods and/or the seeming inability to stop eating them. No plant or any other pill can address the true problem, and probably never will. We need to change the way we think about food and the way we eat.Fast food is definitely one of the most easily identifiable diet vices that we have today. If we are to solve the obesity epidemic we must begin with our own efforts to get to a healthy weight. It's unfortunate but we have been feeding the wrong machine. The machine that has been fed is an industry that gets rich by selling us unhealthy items with their advertisements and with even tastier (translation: more addictive) food items. We need to start feeding our machines with the healthy food (and positive thoughts) that will allow us to be more productive, positive, energetic, happy, and fit.Many fast-food companies are taking steps in the right direction, but it is not enough. When a well-intentioned customer goes into one of the bigger chains looking for a salad she will be confronted with many unhealthy options. Salad with fried chicken is shown on the menu, featured on the paper tray liners, and is the default choice. You have to specify you want the salad with grilled chicken and low-fat dressing or you will be served something with as much fat and as many calories as a huge burger. Hard to believe? Well, the popular sandwich has 560 calories and 30 grams of fat, and the crispy chicken salad with Caesar salad dressing packs 550 calories and 36 grams of fat. It's clear that "healthy" fast food isn't much better than the regular variety.Before we move on to diet vice three, I want to remind you that even if you never eat in a fast-food restaurant you probably have a high-fat, high-calorie vice that is keeping you from losing weight. Don't worry, we'll find out what it is and get it out of your life.TelevisionA vice is not only what is adding the most calories to our diet, but also what is keeping us from reaching a healthy weight. TV has emerged as a vice for many.Did you know that the average American watches more than four hours of television per day?* What could most of us do with four hours per day in just one year? Think of the time---365 days 4 hours = 1,460 hours. Let's say there are thirty-six weeks in a school year. If you traded in TV time for school time and were taking a full load of courses, you could have two full years of college under your belt. Television has its place, but not taking up 25 percent of your waking hours. What could you spend four hours a day doing that you've always wanted to do, or that you dreamed of doing as a child?According to TV-Turnoff Network, at age two we begin to develop brand loyalty, and TV watching can be addictive. As any parent knows it can be very easy to put kids in front of the television so that chores can be finished. But by doing so are we sowing the seeds for future couch potatoes? If we change our own TV habits they might spill over to the rest of the family. The point is that TV can entertain and inform but it can also suck up time that can be used for a wide range of activities.During our hours of watching TV, we are also subjected to commercials. In 1999, more than $40 billion was spent on advertising, and the commercials we're being subjected to encourage us to eat at fast-food restaurants and indulge ourselves. So we sit doing nothing and the only motivation we get is to put high-calorie, high-fat foods in our mouths.Ironically, television is the source of many advertisements for weight loss programs, diet pills, and so on. Would we need them if we simply turned off the TV, put down the snack, and used the time differently?Too Much Time on Our HandsIsn't our time one of our most precious commodities? By all accounts, we are putting our time in the wrong place. In fact 49 percent of Americans said they watch too much TV when asked.* I don't know if these are the 49 percent who are making the averages higher for all of us, but certainly they aren't the only ones watching TV. If we're spending four hours in front of the TV, isn't it a pretty safe assumption that we are also snacking while we watch?This adds up to the fact that TV has become one of the biggest diet vices in our lives. If we are sitting and essentially doing nothing, we're not burning any calories. On top of that, if we're snacking, we are adding calories to our current weight. In simple terms, we are gaining weight every day that we are in front of the TV and more weight if we're snacking while watching. No matter how small that weight gain may be, it takes only a few weeks to see a noticeable change. If you gained 1 pound for every forty hours of television, that's a pound every ten days---then after a year you would gain 36 pounds (an average of 3 pounds per month)!With most living rooms set up to make television the focal point of each chair and sofa, we have given TV high priority in our lives, and it seems that there is always something on that will entertain us. I don't think it's the entertainment value we need to consider, but the devaluation of our creativity and our productivity---doing things that would make us feel much more gratified in the long run. Television takes away our ability to effectively communicate with our spouse, our children, our family, and friends---all in the name of entertainment. We have the highest levels of visits to psychologists and psychiatrists than ever before, as well as the highest level ever of prescription drugs for mental difficulties. Could television be contributing to the problem?Obesity is gaining on, and ready to overtake, smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. That means we can prevent it through the choices that we make. With the average household having more TVs than bathrooms, it's no wonder that we have put our priorities in the wrong place. How we choose to spend our time is just as important to our health and our weight as what we choose to eat and drink.Other Diet VicesNow that you have become familiar with the top three diet vices in America, and eventually worldwide, if things don't change, you may be wondering about other diet vices that may be present in your life. For instance, I received an e-mail from a woman in her late twenties who told me she was overweight and wanted my help. I asked if she could identify one thing that she was doing on a regular basis that was contributing to her extra weight---one food, snack, drink, and so on. She replied that she was eating doughnuts every morning and asked, "Could that be it?" To which I replied, "You bet!"There are certainly many other possible diet vices, especially if don't eat fast food, drink soft drinks, and you don't watch TV (bravo, you've managed to avoid the main ones). If that is the case, let me be the first to acknowledge that you are a small percentage of those who are overweight. Nonetheless, you will most likely have other identifiable vices that are keeping you from a healthy weight.A relatively healthy diet (remember, we're not splitting hairs here---I'm not evaluating every last bite) can still be a problem if you are simply eating too much. The portions can be too large, for instance, if you are having seconds with every dinner. One woman I worked with was simply eating too much of everything. She ate double the amount that her body needed at every course of every meal. She really wasn't eating anything that bad, she just ate too much. Oddly enough she used a small plate, but went back for seconds and thirds. I convinced her to use a dinner plate and serve herself the correct portion the first time and not to go back for more helpings.Another woman I worked with was eating too much bread too often. She was eating bagels, muffins, scones, cheese bread---and concluded that it was bread that was keeping her from her goals. If the above examples don't describe you, take a look below.Many people simply eat too many calories by consuming too much of one food group or type of food. Like the woman in the above example who was eating donuts almost every morning, you may be eating something that is unhealthy or high in calories too often--chocolates or brownies or bagels and cream cheese. These are not uncommon examples. The key is to identify one thing that you're eating that is the highest in calories that you do on a regular basis---that will be your diet vice.Common food vices(Remember, these are vices we're talking about busting, not your once or twice a month treat)ice cream, cookieschocolates, caramelsbrownies, cookie doughfudge, candy barspastries, sconespizza, French friespotato chips, crackersdesserts---cakes and piestoo much/many fried foodsbagels with cream cheeseToo much cheese on too many thingsbuttered popcorn (with a soda?)most high-sugar candies or "treats"most cold cerealsmost muffinstoo many mints (10 calories each x 10 per day x 7 days = 700 extra calories)hamburgers (no matter what's on 'em)bacon or sausage (breakfast)pastas with cream saucewhite breadmashed potatoesThe main point to understand here is that there really are two or three identifiable diet vices for most of us. You may be like Carol, who drank twelve soft drinks and lost 45 pounds in six months from doing nothing other than eliminating that habit (it can be done!); or Ralph, who broke the habit of a double cheeseburger almost every day and lost 20 pounds in three months. Or the gentleman who told me that he was watching two hours of TV each night while snacking on chips before he went to sleep, and made just one easy change (of not eating chips) that brought 15 pounds of weight loss in two months---without doing anything else. If you can understand what a diet vice is and see what the top one or two in your life are, you will be on the road to changing your weight. The first step is to identify what's getting in your way.One thing I am very careful to point out is that too many diets and diet plans are designed as one size fits all. Everyone does the same thing, with possibly some minor adjustments for weight and age. The reality is that everyone has a different level of fitness, a different set of circumstances, and different obstacles to get over. By identifying the three top diet vices we have begun to address what appears to be approximately two-thirds or more of the source of our weight problem. The other one-third or so comes from things other than soft drinks, fast food, and television, and those can be handled in the same vice-busting manner.The Right ApproachModern conveniences like the car and the computer have made transportation and communication much easier but they have not done anything to help us stay in shape or exert energy to accomplish our tasks or goals. Modern-day diets have not helped us to achieve permanent weight loss either.You may believe you haven't lost weight in the past because you had the wrong diet. However, I believe that practically every diet out there can help you lose weight to some degree and for at least some period of time, if you follow it exactly as prescribed. Typically, however, these types of diets are not something that can be maintained for the long term. While they are well intentioned and can lead to weight loss, they largely take the wrong approach. The wrong approaches have us changing too much about our lives overnight, going one day from living in a manner that supports our excess weight to the next day when we are to live like a superfit, health-food-eating, exercising person. Few could make that steep slope of change with any degree of success. The vice-busting diet plan will not only provide you with the right goals, but the right approach, so you can lose weight and live healthy and fit---for good. The right approach means taking one step at a time, one that fits your current situation.A Summit for ChangeIn June of 2004, the Time/ABC News Summit on Obesity took place in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had the opportunity to attend and meet people from around the country---heads of marketing for food companies, TV advertisers, producers of children's TV shows, politicians from Washington, D.C. in the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as authors, doctors, researchers, and scientists---all whom have the ability to impact the health and weight of our society. The conclusion from the summit was that there are so many different things that are responsible for our current obesity epidemic, yet there is no easy solution; and that any diet will work if you stick to it, but what is missing with most people is a lifestyle change.I came away from this event believing that it is very difficult for one person or even a handful of people to get anything done on the national level. Whether it is implementing a government policy or a new healthy menu item (just one) at a national fast-food chain, the so-called red tape that has to be gone through---from submitting the right proposal, to approval at each office, the reviews by committees---all take a lot of time, effort, and money. Raising awareness and making a decision to take control is the best way to influence the supply of foods and beverages being put in the supermarkets, on the menus, in the vending machines, and in our schools---all to create a healthier society.My goal is to give you this plan, and get everyone who needs to lose weight and wants to lose weight, to realize that the future lies in the hands of all of us collectively. Big companies and big government will change with the demands that we set through our actions. So it is important for us to stop relying on what is an inherent belief that companies---fast food or any food manufacturers---are looking out for our best interests; they're not. They're worried about your coming back and buying more, because they have profit margins, quarterly targets, Wall Street analysts, and shareholders all interested in more revenues. There is nothing on that list that says "By the way, it has to be healthy!" There are exceptions to the rule, but I'm talking about those that have the most influence over the greatest number of people in America.So start by recognizing the difference between a diet vice and a healthy choice. When we take control of our own lives, and start making choices on the basis of what is good and not so good, then, and only then, can we start to make the necessary changes to win the battle that we face.Copyright © 2006 by Julia Griggs Havey