The 'White House Diet' Is the Key to Lasting Weight Loss


white houseJudging just from what I've heard about her super-cut biceps, it's no wonder Michelle Obama has inspired the White House staff to lose weight and get fit. If she were my boss, I'd probably think I could run a 5K (even with a sprained ankle). Having started the "Let's Move" campaign and being a constant proponent of leading a healthy lifestyle, she's just that motivational. But we all knew this.

What you may not know is how the White House staff's problem really seems to mirror one that MANY Americans face. We're often so caught up in the daily grind that we end up stress-eating, mindless eating, and generally taking crappy care of ourselves.

Consider a few of the changes the White House staffers have made since aiming to be healthier.

Assistant pastry chef Susie Morrison used to reach for a cookie as a snack, but now goes for the apple or handful of grapes. Assistant chef Adam Collick used to guzzle empty calories galore in the form of three 20-ounce coffees topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Now, he has two cups of plain coffee and water. These aren't earth-shattering changes; they're actually very small steps. But if you looked at it in reverse -- a cookie here, a cookie there, a 200-calorie Starbucks drink every day, etc. -- you'd be looking at significant weight gain over the years. It's probably the way most of us put on pounds!

Meanwhile, the media try to make us believe the nation's weight problem is owed to primarily to extreme overeating, fast food, soda, and a general refusal to work out. Ehhh ... these things factor in, but I doubt as much for most of us as they'd have us believe. Instead, what's going on in a lot of people's lives is exactly what was going on in the White House. We're failing to make time for ourselves, to make time for fitness and nutrition. We mean well, but our priorities are askew.

I'm totally guilty of it! There have been days when I've been going so hard at work that I'd literally feel nauseous for an hour or so before I look at the clock and realize it's 3 p.m., and I had only had toast and coffee!! On a bad day, the next move will be a blood sugar-spiking lunch or, worse, sugary snack. Agh! That kind of behavior just won't do. Our health is just too important.

So, when we're having big, loud, national debates on the obesity epidemic, maybe we should consider the White House "diet." Seems easy enough to follow -- all it requires is putting your health at the top of your list for once.

What do you think about the White House staffers' weight loss success? Do you think stress and the daily grind factor into many of our struggles with our weight?


Image via Sean Hayford O'Leary/Flickr

diets, weight loss


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nonmember avatar Dawn

Guess you missed the pictures of the First Lady eating double cheeseburgers at Burger King? Anyway, I disagree that the reason people do not eat as nutritionally as they should is because they do not make time for themselves. I believe it is because they cannot afford to eat that in this economy. The price of fresh produce is very high along with lean fresh protein. If you have to feed a family and do not have a lot of money, you will more than likely bulk up the meals with starches etc. Unfortunately, not everyone has a chef and unlimited fresh food products at their disposal.

Melis... Melissa042807

I think it's a matter of choices. All those people did was make a few smart choices that cost them no extra time or effort. Simple. 

nonmember avatar Cookie

I would really have to disagree with the person who posted above me. People don't eat healthy because they don't know what to eat. There needs to be more education about food alternatives. It's not expensive to eat healthy. Grow your own food, or go to the farmers market (so cheap!), and stock up the cart with vegetables instead of prepackaged foods. It takes me a lot to hold back when I see an obese FAMILY at Walmart with a cart full of prepackaged crap. Switch those Ritz crackers for salt free pretzels, that ice cream for a homemade fruit smoothie, hamburgers for turkey burgers, and that sour cream for greek yogurt. Not hard to make simple changes, people are just ignorant of these alternatives.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

People can afford to eat healthy foods, they just choose not to. The simple fact is that a carriage full of junk food will cost far more than a carriage full of healthy food. I went grocery shopping this morning and the woman in front of me spent over $100 and I sent just over $40 and our carriages were about equally full. She was buying frozen pizza, chips, cans of soda, and so on. I was buying a lot of produce,beans, and other healthy food. Her carriage was mostly empty calories that would feed a family of three for about four days maybe while my carriage will feed my family for a week.

People like to pretend that eating right is too expensive because it's a convenient excuse and that rumor has been going around so long that people believe it. If you actually think about it for two minutes you will realize that it's nonsense. I can prep a crockpot full of soup or stew or a curry in about ten minutes for a couple of bucks that will feed six. Faster and way cheaper than getting fast food. Even making a frozen pizza and fries takes about that long by the time you preheat the oven and put the fries on the sheet and so on and that can easily cost four times as much.

benic... benicetoothers

Like every other problem, there is not a single cause or solution.  The obesity epidemic is a combination of factors- lack of care, poor nutrition education, food cost, convenience and preference of taste (I'm sure there are others).  For me to keep a healthy weight, I try to incorporate a variety of foods into my diet (fruits, veggies, protein, dairy) and keep my portions close to the "recommended portion" size.  I also think it helps that I actually love to cook and experiment with recipes/different foods.

omgitsjo omgitsjo

A double cheeseburger every once in a while won't kill her. It's all about balance. And produce and lean protein doesn't have to be expensive, chicken thighs (which only have a little more fat/calories than a breast) are on sale all the time and I always buy in bulk and stock up. I also see produce on sale, sometimes you just have to be willing to try some new veggies. I'm a broke recent college grad and I don't have a chef or unlimited fresh food items, but I can still find ways to make healthier choices.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Another aspect of the 'obesitiy epidemic' is that every other week, we're hearing about some food that you shouldn't be eating. Or this week, the food that was bad for you LAST week, is now the healthiest thing ever. Consider the egg. For years, it was a breakfast staple. Then it was lambasted as worse than eating straight bacon fat right off the pig. Then suddenly, it was back - oh, sorry, it's not as cholesterol laden as we thoguht, and it's actually quite good for you. Then, oh wait... our bad... maybe it's not so good...

The "Food Pyramid" has been changed at least three times in my lifetime.

We're told that whole grains are the be-all and end-all of existence, then we're told that carbs are of the devil. We're told that chicken is the best food ever, but dark meat is evil. Eat plenty of fish, but oh, wait, there's mercury lurking there, and it will kill you.

Honestly, people are slammed every single day with "eat this, eat that, you're fat, don't eat this" that they are tired of it ALL. So they completely ignore. It's like your mom, following you around for days, nagging nagging nagging... eventually, you tune her out and do whatever you damn well please. That's what many people are doing. "I don't know what's healthy, so I'll eat what tastes good. Have another cookie on your pizza"

Colet... Colette923

Completely agree with you ponychaser.

jessi... jessicasmom1

it is hard now with the economy in the shape it is in, we are now buying a cow for beef, have sausage and chickens on hard , we strickly go to the fruit market for our sides and snacks it is the best we can do 

someo... someonefree

I would love to have a boss like that.My bosses were always fat lol.

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