My First “Diet”

in All Posts

Ever had one of those days when you just want to crawl back in bed?


Yea, me too!  :)  It’s dreary and rainy outside – perfect snoozing weather!


Despite the lure of my comfy bed, I am getting a lot of work done today! I hope you’re having a productive day, too!


Lunch was fabulous:


This is Spaghetti and Meatballs, the healthier way!  The star of my pasta were these Veggie Meatballs, which the Husband picked up at Costco.  Very short ingredient list and no faux “meat” flavor.


On a bed of Sun-dried Tomato Pasta (from the Farmer’s Market), Alfredo sauce (Classico brand), and steamed organic broccoli (frozen, also from Costco). 


The “meatballs” were really tasty!  I made this exact meal for the Husband last night (sometimes we eat different dinners at different times just due to our schedule), and he really liked them as well.


So fun to twirl and slurp!


My First “Diet”


I was browsing my bookshelf this morning and stumbled upon…


My first (and only) diet book.  I went on the South Beach Diet when I was 17 (I did, after all, live in Miami) and was trying to lose the extra ten pounds hanging around my midsection.


Oh, I remember the South Beach Diet so well.  I read it cover to cover, and it seemed to make so much “sense” to me (bahaha!).  I even highlighted it:


In hindsight, the South Beach Diet taught me a lot of valuable lessons: eat snacks so you never end up hungry, include whole grains in your diet, and eat whole foods.  I remember that I was never hungry on the South Beach Diet, so it also taught me that you could lose weight (or maintain your weight) and actually, you know, eat.  🙂


Flipping through the book now, I see how the South Beach Diet also screwed up my thinking about certain foods for a long time.  I no longer believe bread or pasta is bad (carbs are your primary source of energy!).  I don’t think you should avoid certain vegetables or fruits – if it grows in the ground, it’s OK in my book.  I notice that The Biggest Loser does this too (about bananas?! Trust me, those people did not become obese by eating bananas!), and it infuriates me.  I also don’t like how the book labels certain foods “good” or “bad,” like “good carbs” and “bad vegetables.”


I am so glad I realized that life is not a diet.  It’s as simple as eating good, healthy food and enjoying dessert, etc. in moderation.  As Michael Pollan says, “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”


So, what “diets” have you been on?  What did they teach you?  Did your diet work? Or how did it fail?  What’s YOUR food philosophy?



  • Olga @ Healthing It November 11, 2009, 1:04 pm

    In high school, I went on some pretty horrible diets. Atkins, South Beach, you name it, I did it!

    But now, my food philosophy is similar to yours. I don’t cut out any food groups, enjoy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, organic dairy when possible and dessert + alcohol in moderation. I’m a much more healthier and happier person now!

    That picture of your dog is incredibly cute!

  • Mariel November 11, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Yeah the thing about bananas and mangoes and The Biggest Loser infuriates me. So stupid!

  • Lindsey @ November 11, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Oh diet days – I remember them well. I tried South Beach for a bit b/c my mom bought the book and basically forced me to give it a shot. I also tried the Sonoma Diet – which is based on Mediterranean food, but consisted of “waves” which I guess were like stages of your diet. Then I joined and started counting calories like crazy! Thank goodness those days are done. Diets are not for me.

  • meghann November 11, 2009, 1:08 pm

    I noticed on biggest loser that they mentioned bad fruit and it pissed me off. I LOVE fruit and to me its better then eating processed crap.

    • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) November 11, 2009, 2:26 pm

      that drove me nuts too. I once had a personal trainer scream at me for eating grapes!

    • Lauren November 11, 2009, 5:21 pm

      I actually remember that too! I remember thinking to myself “I didn’t know fruit was so bad?” But then Jillian told them not to worry about it too much. I don’t know anyone that gained weight from eating too much FRUIT!

  • Kristin November 11, 2009, 1:08 pm

    I did South Beach as well. I got through Phase 1 BARELY and wanted to die. I felt sick, I was excruciatingly tired. That diet was by far the worst thing I’d ever done to my body. Yeah, I lost weight. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks but it definitely wasn’t worth what I went through. Makes me feel sick just thinking about it.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 11, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Ugh! Thankfully I have never really been on a certain ‘fad’ diet, except for when I’ve done fitness shows. That banana thing with the biggest loser drives me batty!!

  • Casey Leigh November 11, 2009, 1:11 pm

    That lunch looks fantastic!

  • Sara November 11, 2009, 1:13 pm

    I have never been on any of the “fad” diets thankfully! I have tried cutting certain foods out of my diets many times but always failed. I had to learn that it wasn’t about cutting anything completely out. It was about choosing the healthy alternatives and everything in moderation.

    I know a lot of people (including members of my family) were big on the Atkins diet (hopefully I didn’t spell that wrong). I could never understand it! As a runner, carbs are VITAL for energy yet they cut almost every single carb out! Again, everything in moderation. There are always healthy alternatives and it is about a lifestyle change – not just a diet that will last you a couple months.

  • Lindsey @ November 11, 2009, 1:13 pm

    Oh diet days – I remember them well. South Beach was my first too. My mom bought the book and basically forced me to try it. Next up was the Sonoma Diet – based on a Mediterranean menu, it had “waves” to follow and complicated recipes. Lasty, I joined and started counting calories like crazy. Thank goodness my dieting days are done. They all failed b/c I don’t like swearing off certain foods or staying within a certain calorie limit.

  • Mary @ Fit this girl November 11, 2009, 1:14 pm

    My dad and brothers did the Atkins diet for a while and Dad LITERALLY said to me once: “Apples are bad for you, they are carbs.” AHHH! I tried to reteach him, but what a mess some of these diets make of real eating. I think my first diet was deprivation!! I learned moderation on WW and healthy portion control of real food. Eating is good…

    • Shelly November 11, 2009, 1:50 pm

      My parents still feel that way and it drives me crazy. Don’t lecture me on whole wheat pasta while your “diet” pork ribs are on the grill! 🙂

      • Mary @ Fit this girl November 11, 2009, 2:44 pm

        Shelly–right?! 2 pounds of bacon a day for 2 weeks is ok because it wacks your body out and you lose weight, but an apple or a peach will kill you? Is BAD for you? Food from nature being the enemy is sad!! Still, all my Dad eats is meat and starch…

  • Kate November 11, 2009, 1:16 pm

    I did the “GI Diet” during my thrid year of university (and I still stick to the majority of the ‘rules’), but this really wasn’t a diet it just suggested foods that are better than others….I took it as a lifestyle change and not a diet so I don’t remember anything negative coming out of me doing this “diet”. I remember my parents being proud that I was able to maintain this “diet” and my brother’s response was, “it isn’t a diet it’s a lifestyle change”. I was so impressed when I heard that!

    I really dislike the way BL treats certain fruits, for me all fruits are good for you!

  • michelle November 11, 2009, 1:17 pm

    I was a terribly overweight kiddo. My parents had Little Debbie snack cakes in the hanging fruit basket… come on… really mom? We’d eat that and she’d only eat salads. My first diet was ordered out of the back of teen beat magazine- the BM program for teen weightloss. I sent in cash in the mail without my mom knowing. She got the package and made me throw it out. I gained, lost, went through anexoria and a bulmia. I stopped all of that and as weight crept back on I did weight watchers for YEARS. I stopped in August. I read intuitive eating and realized I’d been on a diet since I was 8. Since starting IE I have lost a couple of pounds but hardly every weight myself. I’m too busy training for my half marathon on Sunday and the Miami ING Marathon. 🙂 I will NEVER diet again. I love being at peace with food. I have never felt so strong, free, and powerful.

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 1:19 pm

      this comment makes me happy 🙂

    • Lesley November 11, 2009, 10:57 pm

      your running the 1/2 marathon in ft. lauderdale? me too!

  • Allie November 11, 2009, 1:17 pm

    I did weight watchers in eighth grade. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t some vain pre-teen. I was significantly overweight). It taught me about portion size, which is definitely good. However, because of the way points are calculated, it didn’t lead to a very balanced diet. It was definitely what I needed at the time, though – I lost 50 lbs (got down to 135) and it gave me the confidence to join some athletic teams in high school. Now I track my food on, which has a much more balanced approach, and I love it.

  • ~carolyn~ November 11, 2009, 1:18 pm

    I have tried a lot of diets. I now realize it is calories in and calories out…duh! I do have to say that the South Beach and the Fat Smash diet did help me focus on high fiber good protien types of foods to fill me up. I think the best thing I got out of a diet was the Fat Smash 1st phase. I had to get rid of everything processed for two weeks. It was not hard for the food, but I drank diet soda a lot. I realized what I really wanted was the fizz, not the soda. I was happy to break that habit and saves me money now too.

    And abuot those veggie meatballs…I love those. I roast up some broccoli and then toss it with the veggie meatballs and drizzle with some balsamic…delish!

  • brandi November 11, 2009, 1:19 pm

    I love colored pastas like that, and those meatballs look great!

    I think I tried the south beach diet, too, but just based on what I knew – not from actually reading it 🙂

  • Lindsay November 11, 2009, 1:22 pm

    The first diet my mom tried to get me to do (I was in junior high) was the “Mayo Clinic Diet” (not actually connected to or endorsed by the Mayo Clinic). All I remember was that I had to eat grapefruit and I HATE grapefruit, and hot dogs! It was crazy and I “cheated” on it every chance I got at school or at friends’ houses. It taught me one thing that I didn’t actually realize for a long time – eat what you truly love, eat quality, and eat reasonable portions of it. If you love chocolate, then eat a few pieces of good quality chocolate and not a big bar of Hersheys (not that hersheys doesnt have it’s place!) There’s not use spending your life eating things that you don’t even like.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite November 11, 2009, 1:22 pm

    Those veggie meatballs looks soooo good!

  • Matt November 11, 2009, 1:23 pm

    I seriously had one of those days today. Luckily I love running enough to drag myself out there.

  • boomette1 November 11, 2009, 1:25 pm

    when I was a teenager my first diet was to calculate the number of bread produce (rice, bread, potatoes…), fruits, veggies, meat and dairy products I ate in my day. It was easy to follow. I liked it.
    But now I eat when I’m hungry and slowly. That way I can judge if I’m satiated. It’s not always easy. Sometimes when I want to eat something I have to ask myself : am I hungry? no? then don’t eat that LOL Since I do that, I’ve been able to reduce my pants size. 🙂

  • Amanda November 11, 2009, 1:25 pm

    I am on weight watchers and I truly dont feel it is a diet. Like the commercials say its a way of life. I have been following the program for 22 months and have lost 98lbs. I have been struggling for months but I have learned the right things to eat and luckily have not put back on weight.

  • MelissaNibbles November 11, 2009, 1:26 pm

    My first diet was Slim Fast. I think I was probably 10 or 11 years old. Just thinking about it makes me puke a little.

  • Leah @ L4L November 11, 2009, 1:26 pm

    My mother is a yo-yo dieter so while growing up, I was usually stuck with her dieting ways when she prepared food for us. She namely did Atkin’s and WW (and still is on WW). I did WW for a very very short time (using her materials, not actually officially part of the program).

    Two years ago, I joined and did calorie counting which is sort of a diet but I didn’t restrict any certian foods, just calories.

  • Erin November 11, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Are you still going to pick a winner for the Stonyfield giveaway?

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 1:27 pm

      oh yes, i picked the person already but i just haven’t announce it.

  • Lee November 11, 2009, 1:28 pm

    I did the South Beach Diet. I think I still incorporate a lot of what I learned into my daily eats – mostly the things about whole grains, and “good” carbs. What I do not incorporate, is all the fake sweeteners that they advocate. I had a lot of tummy aches when I did that diet.

  • Jamie Horne November 11, 2009, 1:28 pm

    I just got those same veggie meatballs at Costco and I love them! I think they taste more like corn nuggets than meatballs.

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! November 11, 2009, 1:28 pm

    I have been on TONS of diets througout my whole life:

    1)Weight Watchers
    2)Jenny Craig
    3)Cabbage Soup Diet
    4)The Rotation Diet
    6)South Beach

    Out of all of them Atkins was the best for me, however I did a “modified version” of it as I ate lean meats and lots of fruits & veggies on it! I actually lost about 50+ pounds doing this diet, until I realized DIETING DOESN’T WORK and that you have to change the way you live/eat/see food/etc. in order to truly be healthy and lose weight! =)

  • Tina November 11, 2009, 1:29 pm

    Diets are for losers! 🙂

  • Matt November 11, 2009, 1:29 pm

    And about the diet thing…

    I’ve never done a “fad” diet. I lost some weight after high school, but that was mostly due to working out and just eating less. I’ve never really restricted carbs or anything.

    My food philosphy is simple. Less = more. Less ingredients = more wholesome foods. I eat local and organic when I can, I read labels, and just try to make the best choices. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat ice cream 😉

  • Carolyn November 11, 2009, 1:29 pm

    I’m on weight watchers and love it. I love that you can eat whatever you want, but the program emphasizes good, filling foods. I think it teaches you that you can have the indulgences, but you have to balance it out in the end.

  • Susan November 11, 2009, 1:30 pm

    I’ve never been on a diet! Never been overweight either, but I attribute that to starting running at a young age (junior high) and always being conscious about what I eat. Yes, I eat ice cream pretty much every day, but it’s not a giant bowl (well, sometimes…but that’s like once per month), and I stop eating when I’m full. I like fruits and veggies and am mindful of what I eat. Eat when I’m hungry, don’t eat when I’m not. Don’t deprive myself. It’s worked out well so far! (Okay, my metabolism helps. I have good genes in that regard.)

  • megan November 11, 2009, 1:30 pm

    I actually haven’t ever been on a “diet”. Unless you count paying attention to portion sizes. Thankfully I had great role models in my parents who emphasized the right way to look at food. eat healthy, don’t eat a ridiculous amount, but some unhealthy stuff is ok too. It’s how I’ve always eaten. 🙂

    • Courtney November 11, 2009, 7:54 pm

      I hope one day one of my kids says this same thing about me!

  • Lindsey @ EatReadRun November 11, 2009, 1:35 pm

    South Beach, Sonoma Diet and = calorie counting. I’ve learned I can’t be happy if I deprive myself of certain foods or am always analyzing my calorie intake. Done with diets for good!

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers November 11, 2009, 1:36 pm

    when i was in college i tried the atkins diet for one week… i was miserable, moody and not nice! i need & love my carbs! now i’m with you… i love a natural approach to eating… eat what you love & make nutritious choices. so much more satisfying.

  • stephanie @ Foodie McFood November 11, 2009, 1:37 pm

    There is not enough bandwidth on your blog for me to tell you all of the diets I have been on. The worst was LA weight loss where they took 400 dollars of my money and gave me these tasteless bars to eat. I am a sucker.

  • Sammi November 11, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I’ve only ever been on one diet in my life. I tried Weight Watchers because my Dad and sister were. I was probably around 12 so I didn’t really take it seriously. I’ve always had really bad stomach/digestion issues so I’ve had to watch what I eat for a long time, but it has taught me how to treat my body well and feed it as best I can. I don’t restrict myself, if I want ice cream i WILL eat it!

    I don’t believe in dieting. I believe in eating when you are hungry and eating healthy whole foods. Diets are temporary fixes while learning to have a healthy relationship with food is a LIFESTYLE change.

    And I was so pissed when I heard that banana comment on the Biggest Loser! I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t eat bananas.. I eat at least one everyday and you’re right.. they definitely did NOT get obese by eating bananas.

  • Katerina November 11, 2009, 1:37 pm

    Great picture of your doggie. He is so cute and the pic is great!

    What is with Biggest Loser and the banana thing? They are so good for you and such good food for athletes. Silly dieting.

    The only “diet” I have ever done is Atkins,when I was about 20. My Mum had done it and it did work. But in retrospect I was not eating healthy at all! I would rather be a few pounds heavier and eat some bananas and whole grain bread thank you very much. All the artificial sweetener that is endorsed ew.

  • Lauren @ Dragonflies Journey November 11, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I’ve done everything under the sun from South Beach, to Weight Watchers, to the “baby food only diet.” All crap! After getting over body dysmorphic syndrome and an eating disorder I can now say that I make healthy choices and watch my portions. Plus I exercise. The end. Dieting is not reinventing the wheel. Eat right + exercise = healthy living. Simple.

  • Kristy November 11, 2009, 1:37 pm

    Amen! Bananas deserve a home too! Love the “if it grows in the ground it is ok” – so true!

    • Kristy November 11, 2009, 1:38 pm

      By the way the top photo of the dog is amazing! 😉

  • Felicia November 11, 2009, 1:38 pm

    I also did the South Beach diet – after my sophomore year in college. I got the book and everything. I lost weight and learned a few good recipes (processed cauliflower definitely is a nice substitute for mashed potatoes) BUT I now know that none of those diets really work for me.

    I also did a modified version of Weight Watchers, which led to an unhealthy obsession with frozen meals. Not ideal. I have no plans to ever diet again, and it feels amazing! I’ve lost weight healthily through exercise and healthy eating. Portion control and cooking have been key for me.

  • Juli (Peanut Butter and Juli) November 11, 2009, 1:46 pm

    Lunch looks fab.

    Diets? I tried SB too– my body hurt so much on the protein only part! Yikes. I’ve also tried the Thrive which worked (less known though– it’s high protein, high fiber)– I loved it, just didn’t like all the processed stuff they promoted!

  • Lindsay November 11, 2009, 1:47 pm

    I’ve never been on a diet! I am so, SO lucky to have parents who live healthy lifestyles and who passed that on to me and my brother 🙂 I’m now in college and I still have never tried ramen noodles…all my friends think I’m crazy. ha!

  • Jennie {in Wonderland} November 11, 2009, 1:47 pm

    I’ve ‘dabbled’ in tons of diets – probably the best one I did was when I went completely ‘clean’ for about 4 weeks when I was working for Disney. I had gained a lot of weight eating the SAD and went the other way — it was mostly raw, with a ton of veggies, lots of fruit, spelt tortillas and I think a bit of whole grains? I stopped it because it started to give me stomach pains. Although what I didn’t seem to realize at the time was that, that was probably my body finally clearing out all the crap that I’d been eating before!!!

    I’m on a modified version of Weight Watchers. I like the points, so I stick to them, but I don’t ‘eat whatever I want’ like they espouse. I mean, basically you could eat frozen meals all day and they’d consider it fine if you stuck to points. I’m also vegetarian… is that considered a diet?

    I love this post, Caitlin! 🙂

    • Angie All The Way November 11, 2009, 2:41 pm

      Jennie: I think if you reviewed the WW plan you will see that WW does not suggest you eat “whatever you want” but to focus your daily points on making sure you meet the healthy guidelines first. The plan is now modified to encourage “filling foods” first. The “whatever you want” part is to provide real life flexibility to allow yourself work in the foods you love so you do not feel restricted during your weightloss. I am a WWer and the message I have always been given is “not every point is created equal.” Of course not everyone abides by that philosophy.

      • Carolyn November 11, 2009, 2:52 pm

        Yay, Angie! You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Blake November 11, 2009, 1:50 pm

    No diets for me… i just realized a few yrs ago that I was very unhealthy and starting eating better and exercising. Lost some weight, got into better shape. Oh yeah, and I love bananas and wonder why someone would say they’re bad…

  • Karla November 11, 2009, 1:54 pm

    I was a really overweight kid. In high school, my Dad bought the Six Week Body Makeover and I decided to try it and lost a ton of weight (from about 180 to a little under 130). I’ve managed to keep most of it off (all but the last 15ish), but I think it’s because of the flexibility of the diet. You basically eat 5-6 small meals per day of natural food. That’s the only diet that I can honestly say has worked but it’s pretty simple, small portions of healthy food throughout the day.

    Now I mostly stick to counting calories if I need to lose a few pounds and making sure I eat 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies per day. While I’d like to be my smallest again, I’m okay with where I am now. I’m trying to concentrate on being healthy rather than being skinny.

  • Christina November 11, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Oh diets. I believe in eating whole, real foods, it’s how I was raised but then I began disordered eating because of body issues and in the end I gained weight!

    I finally had enough two years ago, I had to stop counting calories and start loving who I was, overweight or not. I decided to try South Beach – like you I found some positives – but it wasn’t all good. About 6 months later I decided to do weight watchers, it was a way for me to eat all food groups and track what I was eating without counting calories.

    It’s been a looong road but I stopped counting points/calories in the summer. I eat (mostly whole foods) intuitively and have continued to lose weight.

    I even eat pasta or treats and do not freak out. I can eat those things in moderation, normally, I don’t need to binge in private or be overly strict. I can’t tell you how great it feels to maintain a normal relationship with food.
    To be honest that’s been the biggest payoff, bigger than stepping on the scale this morning and realizing I’m down 52 pounds from when I started…

    Eeek that turned out way long, sorry!

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 2:04 pm

      CONGRATS on your healthy weight loss!! 🙂

  • Lindsay November 11, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Oh, by the way, my cousin’s 12 year old gym teacher told their class that bananas were bad for them and had too many calories D:

    • Lindsay November 11, 2009, 1:55 pm

      That should say 12 year old cousin, heh

      • caitlin November 11, 2009, 2:04 pm

        omg that is RIDICULOUS. i want to go to that school and slap that teacher.

        1) why is a gym teacher talking about calories (as in “too much” or “good calories”) to twelve year olds? thats a great way to make them obsessed.

        2) ITS A BANANA.

  • Erin November 11, 2009, 1:59 pm

    I just think that it can’t be a diet — it has to be a lifestyle change. People who give up foods they love are guaranteed to fail. What would life be without chocolate, bread, wine, cheese, etc?

    Everything in moderation, including moderation. 😉

  • Julie @savvyeats November 11, 2009, 2:02 pm

    I’ve never been on a “fad” diet, but I did do some serious calorie counting for awhile there. I made myself stop because I got too obsessed with the numbers and I was no longer enjoying my food!

    “Bad” fruits and veggies? Isn’t a fruit or veggie better than a “good” processed, chemical-laden food?

  • Allie (Protein Girl) November 11, 2009, 2:04 pm

    Wow you struck a chord with this one! Yes bananas don’t make people fat, unless of course they’re frozen and covered in chocolate! That said however, I do believe in nutrient timing (complex carbs in the post-workout window) for those who are sensitive to carbs and/or overweight. I adore tropical banana love!

  • Katie November 11, 2009, 2:04 pm

    Only one I tried was Weight Watchers which isn’t a true diet. More of a lifestyle change. I just didn’t eat… That was the easiest thing to do in the end to lose weight and keep it off. My food philosophy now is primarily vegan and eat until full not any further. No “bad” foods. Still working on it. I have been having major food guilt lately that is tough to squash down.

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 2:07 pm

      when i have food guilt, i try to think about WHY i feel guilty and i try to view my choices in terms of a “macro view” of my lifestyle. i.e. was one or two meals or even days of bad eating going to “undo” all my healthy behaviors for the last week? naw.

      • Jessica November 11, 2009, 8:21 pm

        thanks I needed to hear that today

  • Amanda (modernation) November 11, 2009, 2:07 pm

    Love Michael Pollan – his words really hit home and just make so much sense.

  • Jessica November 11, 2009, 2:08 pm

    I’ve never been on a diet myself, but I did notice that on “The Biggest Loser” they REALLY restrict what the contestants can and cannot eat. I thought it was odd and not really teaching them life long habits that they could keep, but was wondering what other people thought about it.

  • Kiersten November 11, 2009, 2:14 pm

    I am always so disappointed to hear that some diets shun foods like fruit! Of all the foods to put a negative label on, they’re going to label bananas!? That’s crazy.

    I have never been on any fad diets except for Weight Watchers. But when I was going through anorexia I bought into a lot of the stuff what diets say about “good” and “bad” foods. I think diets like that can be too restrictive and give people the wrong ideas about certain foods.

  • Jen at This Vegetarian Life November 11, 2009, 2:15 pm

    I tried the Special K diet. That lasted about 3 days. I was STARVING by the end of the day and after three of those, I just couldn’t do it any more. I don’t even think I lost any weight.

    Ugh, healthy eating with lots of plants and exercise is so the way to go.

    Great post (and I am definitely going to Costco to find those meatballs…YUM!)

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) November 11, 2009, 2:16 pm

    In high school I went on a dangerously low calorie diet. It did so much damage and I’ll never do that ever again!

  • Kelly November 11, 2009, 2:20 pm

    I actually have NEVER done a fad diet…that’s pretty impressive huh? I just have never been one who likes to deprive myself of certain foods, especially bread and pasta haha. I wasn’t always a super healthy eater, but I’ve gotten a lot better in the last few years.

  • Jenna November 11, 2009, 2:22 pm

    the healthy pasta looks great! i am glad you did learn a lot from the south beach diet, good and bad!

  • Dori November 11, 2009, 2:31 pm

    I don’t think I ever went on an official diet, just lots and lots of restriction. The book that first taught me about being healthy the right way was Ultrametabolism, and it changed my life!

  • Lizzy November 11, 2009, 2:34 pm

    i have been on weight watchers for a couple of years and had great success. as most “diets” they restrict you with tons of food, but i dont feel that weight watchers does that! but i am now trying to to IE. still trying, and thats what counts!

  • Mama Pea November 11, 2009, 2:35 pm

    I love those Meatless Meatballs…so much better than regular meatballs!

    I too get irritated when people villify certain fruits or vegetables. I remind myself all the time that “no one ever got fat from eating bananas and carrots.”

    I also like the Michael Pollan line of, “If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren’t hungry.”

    Off to munch some fruits and veggies!

  • Amelia November 11, 2009, 2:37 pm

    OMG bananas are supposed to be “bad”? Bahahhaaha. I have never been on a regimented diet. Every once in a while I will tell myself I need to start watching what I eat. Once I found healthy living blogs this meant I incorporated more fruits and veggies into my diet because I found so many fun uses for them. It also meant I started eating oats pretty much every day. Which also means a banana every day. This has only been a GOOD thing. Bad fruit is an oxymoron in my book.

  • susan November 11, 2009, 2:47 pm

    what diets have i been on? how much time do you have? haha
    i was on the strict diet v. super unhealthy eating rollercoaster for YEARS.
    i think i’ve tried most everything (oh, except jenny craig, for some reason jenny never intrigued me)
    i once lost a LOT of weight doing atkins, but then ate chicken strips on my 21st birthday and it all came piling back on! haha
    ok, so maybe it’s not that funny, but i have to have a sense of humor about it all… it’s madness!!
    i’ve gotten off the rollercoaster and now firmly believe the only diet that works in the long run… is to not be on a DIET at all =)

  • chrysta November 11, 2009, 2:50 pm

    I grew up in a vegan household primarily so I learned to eat whole foods. My problem always was my portion sizes=) So since I always thought I ate very healthy I never dieted per say. But more of less cut back on the amount of food. I unfortunately would cut back too much at times and restrict myself too much. But I think now Im back to a healthy relationship with food where as I eat as unprocessed as I can and just eat until Im full and stop. I always snack though during the day. I couldnt make it a day without my snacks!

  • Hil November 11, 2009, 2:56 pm

    I went on South Beach in college, and I have very mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it made me nervous about some foods that I now eat regularly and with joy. On the other hand, it taught me about the glycemic index (something that is still important to me) and helped me learn how to manage my hunger using lots of whole foods. At this point, I’m happy to have said goodbye to South Beach, but I don’t like to disparage the diet because at the time, I think it gave me structure and a leaping off point that I really needed. Right now, eating healthy whole foods in moderate amounts feels like second nature, but at the time, having some additional structure really helped me. I also know that South Beach was designed for seriously overweight heart patients. I think that a very structured diet might make more sense for someone who, for medical reasons, needs to lose a lot of weight safely and relatively quickly than for those of us who are ten pounds away from goal.

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 2:57 pm


  • Ellen November 11, 2009, 2:57 pm

    I went on Weight Watchers when I was 16. I only had about ten pounds to lose, but I just couldn’t stick to their points system. I GAINED a half pound at my second weigh in and the WW lady got all pissy with me. I quit that day and I was better off for it! I don’t do as well when I’m SO calculating with everything I put into my mouth.

  • on the rocks November 11, 2009, 2:59 pm

    Bananas, depending on it’s ripeness, tend to have a higher GI than many other fruits. Those trying to lose weight, especially those with diabetes and insulin resistance (which many people who are overweight have) need to watch their GI intake. I have not seen this Biggest Loser episode yet, so maybe they failed to explain the reason why they were avoiding bananas. Bananas aren’t going to make you fat, but when you are trying to lose weight and improve your health and insulin levels, it is important to watch the GI of the foods you are eating.

  • Ro November 11, 2009, 3:03 pm

    So sad to say that I did the 10 day “Master Cleanse” my freshman year of college. I had gained 15-20 lbs. in just four months, and I was totally desperate to lose it. So I took the bus to Whole Foods, bought cayenne paper, lemon juice, and a couple jugs of maple syrup–and that was all I consumed for 10 days! I lost 10 lbs. (I was probably taking in only 600 calories/day) and then, as you would expect, gained it back right away. Looking back on that period of my life makes me so, so sad. I was unhealthy, unhappy, and willing to do serious damage to my body just to see the number on the scale go down. Thankfully, I am in a much better place now–but it took me a long, long time to get here and I’ve still got some mind-work to do.

  • Evan Thomas November 11, 2009, 3:22 pm

    I never went on a real diet persay but I studied the Mediterannean diet before heading off on a trip to France and I really enjoyed learning to appreciate food in a whole new light

  • Anna November 11, 2009, 3:24 pm

    I also heard them mention bananas on The Biggest Loser, in addition to mangos and pineapple. I spent half and hour googling “bad fruit” trying to figure out if this was legit … never found anything!

  • Susan November 11, 2009, 3:27 pm

    My mom just tried South Beach! She’s really bummed about the weight she put on during menopause, so I tried to support her efforts to lose it, regardless of my personal feelings towards “diets.” It does have some good key principles in there, but my mom is terrified of carbs now. I keep telling her “Mom, carbs don’t make you fat, calories do.” But I’m not sure if it’s sinking in. Going to get her some better books for Christmas instead 🙂

    Oh, and speaking of the banana thing. There’s this Canadian weight loss show called “X-Weighted.” They featured one woman who would eat a WHOLE BAG of apples on her commute to work in the morning. Like, a dozen apples because she thought fruit wouldn’t make you fat. So there is a line to be drawn there! 😛

  • meagan November 11, 2009, 3:29 pm

    atkins, weight watchers, south beach, cabbage soup, calorie restriction…ah, being the “fat” friend with self esteem issues.

    now? i work on intuitive eating and exercise and, in the wake of an eating disorder, i constantly evaluate my attitudes towards food. eating organically and locally as well as treating my food with respect has been the best thing that has happened to my attitude towards food and my relationship with my own body.

  • alli November 11, 2009, 3:52 pm

    i love your questions! i learn a lot just from the comments 🙂
    i drank slim fast in HS(more because i use to like the taste, the powder anyways)
    weight watchers really helped me lose the weight i wanted, the vanity lbs! (6-7 lbs.)
    gosh, i did the heart diet thing. 7 days of vegetables and this soup it was good, but i wanted bread! i dont even know if i lost anything. i did that twice.
    i tried jillian michaels 7 day peak diet (from her book making the cut) i think i made it 3 days. i tracked my calories for one day, it was like 900! retarded!
    i’ve done the p90x diet the best i could and along with the workout program, i lost 5.25 inches.
    after that was over i told my husband i never want to do a “diet” again! so far so good. although i did buy the eat clean diet. but i want to make that a lifestyle….eating clean as best i can. i am stuck in a spot, trying to figure out how many calories i should have, etc. it’s a frustrating place to be! i’d like to be where you are, caitlin-not counting calories, eating intuitively and not feeling guilty about eating something! i’m still hung up on wanting to lose 5 lbs!

  • dorothy November 11, 2009, 4:04 pm

    yeah, i remember on the biggest loser when they were saying how they avoid MANGOS and PINEAPPLE! i thought that was a bit excessive, for sure

    i’d say i’m still subconsciously carbophobic sometimes

    i think its great that you eat so healthily from all good groups! still working on that, personally

  • Erin November 11, 2009, 4:18 pm

    My food philosophy? Eat less, move more. I don’t say any foods are bad. I just don’t eat as much of some of them.

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin November 11, 2009, 4:29 pm

    Oh my gosh, now I want to get a new camera like yours so I can take such CUTE pictures of my dog, too!

    My first diet was The Zone in high school, and I’ve tried every other diet under the sun since then! Now, I’m trying to learn how to NOT diet… but that’s hard, too. We are kinda programmed as a society to always be on a diet, huh? Last night I went to Starbucks with my husband– he ordered a frappaccino, and I ordered a green tea, and the guy at the counter said to me, “Green tea? What, are you on a diet?”

    Like I have to be on a diet to prefer green tea?? Ha ha. 🙂

  • skinnyrunner November 11, 2009, 4:32 pm

    ive never been on a diet mostly because i couldn’t stick to one for a single day! i tried multiple times to keep track of my calories and I’d last until about the afternoon and then all hell would break loose…. not good.

  • Tyler November 11, 2009, 4:33 pm

    micheal pollan is so smart. and i agree with your “if it grows from the ground, then it’s OK” philosophy. any fruit or vegetable is healthier than a south beach diet bar 🙂

  • Teacherwoman November 11, 2009, 4:34 pm

    I can honestly say that I have never been on a “diet”. All I have done is kept track of what I eat, which keeps me from eating too much junk. I enjoy food, but eat the sweets and more unhealthy items in great moderation. Living an active lifestyle helps too.

  • Kylie November 11, 2009, 4:35 pm

    Hi Caitlin.
    I read your blog eveyday and love it. Your food always looks so amazing. I am attempting to go “meat-free” this month so am enjoying the inspiration.
    Thank you

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 4:42 pm

      yay for a meat less month!!!

  • Sarah November 11, 2009, 5:05 pm

    hey caitlin! i’m a new reader and i love your blog:). i have never really been on a diet, but i guess more recently i have become much more aware of what i eat. i am trying to eat less and less processed foods. i have been a vegetarian for over two years (i don’t think i have eaten any meat but a hamburger in about 10ish years and i am 24…im weird:)). i don’t see how a veggie or fruit could ever be considered bad…hmm. i think i eat kinda like you…healthy but i don’t restrict myself:).

  • Carolina John November 11, 2009, 5:15 pm

    You seem to be loving the new camera! it’s putting out some really good shots.

  • Nicole November 11, 2009, 5:42 pm

    I’ve never really been on a diet, but I did make a shift to a healthier lifestyle. I did go overboard with that, but I never really set out to be on a diet.

    My food philosophy is really to just stick to a vegan lifestyle and to eat when I’m hungry! I try to tune into my body and listen to what I need/want.

    Your photos look great!

  • Marcia November 11, 2009, 6:03 pm

    The only “formal” diet I’ve ever tried is The Zone. Like you I have the book all highlighted. It did work to the extent I for over my sugar cravings (for a time anyway).
    The “initiative” I’m undertaking now is simply trying to eat whole foods. I totally agree with your “there is no bad fruit/veg” philosophy.

  • Amy November 11, 2009, 6:08 pm

    Let’s (continue to) discuss The Biggest Loser. It’s entertaining-yes; inspirational-yes; intense, crazy workouts sometimes twice a day to become ‘healthy’-no; calling any fruit or vegetable bad- umm, no!
    I stopped watching in frustration after last season. It’s a shame that this is what some people watch to help change their lifestyles!!!!

  • Michelle November 11, 2009, 6:23 pm

    I was about 300lbs and I did Atkins after my Aunt and Uncle lost a bit of weight. It helped me drop about 40 lbs which I maintained. I don’t believe in Atkins, however it sparked me switching from coming home after school and eating chips to eating fruits etc.

    I then started WW online and that helped me lose another 80lbs. This took me about six years. However, I can tell you that last year I got to my lowest on WW and I was shoving nutrasweet, diet this and that, and lowfat everything into my body. I actually blame a lot of my current health problems on that fact that much of the diet foods in the industry are CRAP. WW used to have was was called a CORE program that basically focused on ‘real food’. however, they got rid of it and are only going with the points system which allows for the eating of the crap food. Ironcially ther was NO WW food that was allowed on CORE, because it was all too processed. Interesting.

    Now, I listen to my body. Sometimes I screw up, sometimes I am in touch. I actually will ‘ask’ my stomach ‘are you hungry?’. Instead of overrulling it with the mental talk that has consumed my binges for so long. Beyond not wanting to eat crap foods anymore, I didn’t want to be a pawn in someones Corporate Profit and Loss margins. I felt like a dollar sign and I felt powerless.

    Now I feel healthy, powerful and in touch with my body. I feel sustainable.

    • Carolyn November 11, 2009, 8:11 pm

      Actually, WW just renamed the Core Program as the Simply Filling Technique (SFT). WW also emphasizes eating along good health guidelines, i.e. water, fruit, vegetables, healthy oils, whole grains, etc. People just don’t always follow them…lead a horse to water and all that.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) November 11, 2009, 6:42 pm

    I’m with you and Mr. Pollan… my life motto is everything in moderation. You can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you have some broccoli and yogurt (ew, but not combined) in there too. 🙂 And my roomie told gave me that “bananas are fattening” line too and I laughed out loud. I eat bananas so often i could be a monkey.

  • kirsten November 11, 2009, 6:51 pm

    I tried atkins for one month in college, ugh. I have never felt so crappy in my life. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 4 years now and I have no idea how I survived for a month on mostly meat.

  • Jolene ( November 11, 2009, 6:52 pm

    I have never been on a diet. I eat what I want, in moderation. I believe in eating foods with the least amount of ingredients as possible, mostly foods that are just one ingredient i.e. potato, chicken, broccoli …

    I try not to put crap into my body most of the time, but I do enjoy French fries, ice cream, etc. on occasion.

  • Bernadette November 11, 2009, 6:53 pm

    I’ve been on too many to count.
    I’ve recently (within the last year) discovered Healthy Eating… it’s amazing how simple it is. I still eat meat on occasion but have cut WAY back, maybe once a week. I read somewhere (Thrive I think??)that it’s better to make changes by adding more healthy foods to your diet and eventually cutting out those that you want to eliminate. This has worked for me. The more natural healthy foods I eat the less crap I want. I also heard someone say once “if it doesn’t come from the ground or it has a mother don’t eat it.” I want to say it was Jillian Michaels but I’m not positive. That’s what I strive for.

  • Stephanie November 11, 2009, 6:55 pm

    I’ve never really dieted. My friends in high school always dieted and I did try once, but the first meal that came up .. I was at Taco Bell! Haha.
    The closest thing that I came to a diet was when I started limited my carb intake, and when I did eat carbs.. I made sure it was only Whole Grain. This was before my wedding. I ate lots of salads with wheat berries, a protein and lots of veggies. Or I would eat a veggie burger with no bread.
    I ended up losing a good amount.. a healthy amount for myself. About 10 lbs. This was all at my College’s Cafeteria. It was really hard to ignore that pizza, the mashed potatoes, processed pasta, etc.
    But it definitely taught me about eating healthier, and now I only eat whole grain breads, pastas, rice, etc.

  • julia November 11, 2009, 6:59 pm

    I totally yelled at the TV when they said that bananas and mangos were bad fruits! So infuriating! It also drove me nuts when they were at that Mexican restaurant and wouldn’t even eat one chip. I really wish they would promote a diet that would be more realistic in the real world. Five chips won’t kill you!

  • katie November 11, 2009, 7:01 pm

    On Biggest Loser yesterday, they showed Larabars.
    Hahaha, I was reminded of you ! 🙂

  • Hallie November 11, 2009, 7:15 pm

    Really interesting comments here! I’ve “dabbled” in diets as well. I actually just finished a pretty hard-core diet…for 12 weeks I did this bootcamp and a (low-cal/carb, high pro) diet plan that I “had” to follow because it was all free (long story). So I lost ~11 lbs, and running became much easier which was really nice, but I think it has since messed up my views on food, my self-image, etc. Not to mention the very real possibility that I’ll gain the weight back. I worked so hard to fix the “food isssues” I had years ago, but this diet brought them back and I don’t know how to fix it. Once day at a time I guess.

    So in turn…I’m proof that while diets may “work”…they suck and eff with your brain (or mine, at least).

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 11, 2009, 7:18 pm

    I’ve done far to many diets to count and most failed. All that really worked with me was counting calories and now doing Weight Watchers which is just easier for me to count points than calories. I like structure but not restriction.

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness) November 11, 2009, 7:28 pm

    My husband and I live by Michael Pollan’s words! My husband lost 60 pounds basically by following those words, and he’s kept it off for a year-and-a-half so far. I’ve been on every diet in the book, and they all really screwed me up and contributed to my eating disorder. Now that I’m recovered and finally slashed “good” and “bad” from my food vocabulary, I will never diet again. I love this diet-free life!

  • Lauren November 11, 2009, 7:47 pm

    These “meat” balls looks fantastic! I’m keeping my eye out for them.

    I think it’s cool that you were able to gain great insight from the South Beach. I think that so many of these programs do offer valid points and act as a great guide to start off, but ultimately, if you are planning on changing you life for good, a diet that consists of rules will only take you so far. I have yet to meet a single person on this earth who has been on a “diet” for their entire life. Have you?

  • Amy (One Thousand Steps) November 11, 2009, 8:07 pm

    Wow, interesting topic! My mom was a chronic dieter while I was growing up, yet she was always over-weight and could never stop yo-yo’ing. That made me distrust “diets” from a very early age, but it also made it confusing for me to know what balanced, healthy eating meant. As an adult, this has also made me really conscious about what kind of a role model I want to be someday to my kids. I don’t ever want them to think that “dieting” is normal or healthy.

  • sabrina November 11, 2009, 8:12 pm

    I still remember my third grade english teacher telling my whole class that one banana was like eating two plates of fried rice. and she said to drink two glasses of water before meals so that you wouldn’t eat as much.

    I stopped eating bananas for a long time after that! which is stupid

  • ari November 11, 2009, 9:23 pm

    bad fruit? what the f? that’s a joke.

    • caitlin November 11, 2009, 9:30 pm

      hehe i like the way you put it and i totally agree

  • Tania (Moment Anew) November 11, 2009, 10:40 pm

    Wow, great question. I have gained and lost anywhere from 20-50 pounds over and over with diets. After finally realizing that it just wasn’t the way to live, I’m starting over, trying to eat well with everything in moderation and hitting the gym again. I’ve got a bit of a ways to go, but I’m committed to being a healthy, fit, vital woman! Thanks for being such a great role model for all of us!

  • Whole Body Love November 12, 2009, 12:26 am

    I learned about the benefits of fiber from Weight Watchers. Atkins taught me that I cannot live without carbs.

  • Kasey (Fit For Wellness) November 12, 2009, 8:12 am

    The banana thing drives me crazy!!! There was a MD who referred a patient to me for weight loss and after my first session with the patient, the MD told her to stay away from bananas and carrots!

  • Heather November 12, 2009, 9:40 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this: ” am so glad I realized that life is not a diet. It’s as simple as eating good, healthy food and enjoying dessert, etc. in moderation.”

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 16, 2009, 3:26 pm

    I did the South Beach Diet too! And a few others that made me afraid of carbs (and fruit) for a while. But I agree that the SBD has a few good points (like snacking) and it has helped me realize how much sugar is in some things, but thankfully I’ve left behind the artificially-sweetened and sugar free processed foods (ick).


Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point