Diet trends come and go, as we know. Some weight loss diets can require preparing specific meals independent of your children’s meals, which amounts to much additional prep and shopping. The trick is to gear up your parent skills to address both your needs and your children’s needs efficiently.

The key to dietary discipline is to make changes that are more than on-again-off-again efforts and instead amount to a lasting lifestyle change. Why? We know that all too often weight is regained after temporary diets.

One book that maintains a steady presence on diet book shelves is “The Mayo Clinic Diet,” by Donald D. Hensrud, M.D. The book provides a comprehensive and integrative approach to healthful living based on intensive research and experience of physicians and scientists.

The book’s second edition was released in 2017, with some timely updates, such a paragraph titled “Worried about gluten?," which notes while those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten, others should not entirely avoid gluten because whole grains that contain gluten are associated with many health benefits. The book also contains new menu plans and recipes as well.

The book promises modest weight loss results in the first few weeks with the “quick start plan,” but what the book truly advocates is a greater purpose – a healthier lifestyle.

At its heart, the book states exercise and diet go hand in hand. The exercise milestone amounts to 30 minutes a day, and it initially counts yard work and housework, which allows the participant to advance from there. As the book notes, “Be kind to yourself, but push yourself a bit.”

The initial nutrition chapters outline a Healthy Weight Pyramid as a guide to smart eating choices. In short, it emphasizes fruits and vegetables making up the base, or largest portion of a meal, with carbohydrates, protein/dairy, fats and sweets in respectively smaller amounts.

The diet reinforces smart choices you may be already making, fine tunes them and offers new knowledge. It first measures a reader’s readiness to change with a questionnaire and identifies inner motivations.

The book first urges the reader to break five bad habits, which are: no TV while eating, no sugar (only what is found naturally in fruit), no snacks (except fruits and vegetables), limited meat and low-fat dairy, and no eating at restaurants (noting the presence of large portions, and often high amounts of sugar and fat.) Each one of these really require the full explanation contained in the chapters, but these commonsense habits align with good family practices across the board.

The book proceeds into bonus habits, recipes and numerous topics in its 330-page breadth and  as well as tips on portion control, reading nutrition labels and keeping your kitchen cabinets free of unhealthy choices. It continuously stresses the importance of working with a family physician. It skillfully employs the mental health technique of positive self-talk, such as “I can do this!” And the thoughtful nature of the content aligns with educational information and habits to share with children as they grow to adulthood – amounting to the gift of good habits. An adult following these measures can live better and by sharing the principles with a growing family, guide them toward healthful lifestyles as well.

Certainly there are many other excellent weight loss and nutritional books available. This one is highlighted for this blog because it has stood the test of time – plus it is now available in a handy second edition. The beauty of the book is its emphasis on discipline with moderation, deep research and a focus on the value of healthful habits.

At your north Denver pediatrics practice, we encourage health habits in eating and exercising to stay as healthy as possible. If you ever have a question about your children, want to schedule a check-up appointment, or are looking for a Denver-area pediatrician and want to learn more about our practice, call us at 303-430-0823.