The Goddess Speaks

By Stephanie Kendrick

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Balance of truth
is a weighty issue

I worked for a criminal justice professor in college who was fond of saying "The truth is not always somewhere in the middle."

We don't expect it to be in math. We know 3+5=8, not 4. But in most other aspects of our lives, we are uncomfortable with versions of reality that seem "extreme." If there is more than one side to an issue our inclination is to assume the truth is somewhere in the middle.

But the truth can be extreme.

I am on a diet. It's the first diet I have ever tried and it is fast shaping up to be an example of extreme truth. Only try and tell that to the people around me.

I have been stunned by the level of disturbance created by this lifestyle switch.

It's true that the diet is a far cry from the pasta, granola, skim milk and yogurt plan we are taught to believe is healthy. It also makes no allowances for even occasional indulgences in the junk food most of our society lives on. I'm not sure which of those facts is more directly behind the upset my diet causes. The first comes up most often, but the second is more subversive.

I chose to try this diet after rejecting all the others I had ever heard or read about, not because it is subversive, but because it seemed to make sense.

For one thing, it proposes a long-term solution. What's the point of torturing myself with "milk shakes" of unknown contents or "lite" frozen dinners to lose weight when I am not willing to eat that way for the rest of my life?

For another, the diet explains why my normal diet wasn't working. I already got an average of at least 30 minutes of exercise (mostly walking) per day and had what society tells us is a healthy diet. Lots of veggies, fruit, pasta and rice; mostly lean meats; no fast food, caffeine or soda. But I was gaining weight.

And finally, I had at least one friend who was on the diet I've adopted and loving it.

The basic argument is that sugar and starch (carbohydrates), particularly the highly refined forms so prevalent in today's convenience foods, are the cause of weight gain in America, not fat. Made sense; after all, I was gaining weight on a low-fat diet.

The weight-loss prescription is to vastly curtail carbohydrate consumption. The weight maintenance prescription is to stick with a more moderately low-carbohydrate diet after losing weight.

I'm not mentioning the name of the diet because I'm not writing this to sell books. I had to do my own research to feel comfortable with radically altering my diet, and you should too.

If your research yields a diet that makes sense to you, try it, and pay attention to the results. I have lost 14 of the 20 pounds I want to lose in five weeks. And I feel better. I have not had a single blood-sugar headache (a common curse on my natural diet) and I am less hungry.

Common criticisms among those who are convinced I have lost my mind are: the diet has to be bad for my cholesterol level, and all I am losing is water weight.

If this concerns you, get tested before and during your diet. Personally, I want the medical community to reach a firm consensus on what effects cholesterol levels before anyone tries to tell me I can't eat cheese and avocados.

Regarding water loss, which occurs on any diet, after more than a month I have no signs of dehydration.

Probably the most common criticism I get is, "It's so unbalanced."

That's a fact, but the truth is not always somewhere in the middle.

Stephanie Kendrick is assistant features
editor at the Star-Bulletin.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802, or send e-mail

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