How Moms Inadvertently Caused America’s Obesity Crisis and Created My Diet Plan

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How Moms Inadvertently Caused
America’s Obesity Crisis and
Created My Diet Plan

An Opinion Piece by Dave DeWitt

First off, I am not being sexist and I am not against motherhood. My mother was a caring, understanding, loving person, but she said it, too: “Finish everything on your plate or you can’t leave the table.” How long has this craziness been going on? Probably for centuries and it undoubtedly stemmed from leaner times in America when the thought of wasting food was heresy and there was not a freezer in every home. Moms, assuming that their kids just wanted to go play, repeated that mantra thousands of times when their children were in their most formative years. And guess what? It worked.

50's Mom



It was moms like this one who
insisted on cleaning the plate.



The brainwashed kids grew up to be adults who were programmed to clean their plates. As portion sizes increased at restaurants and fast-food outlets, people continued to eat everything they were served. And they got fatter and fatter. It’s time for moms–and dads–to stop using that phrase and allow kids to stop eating when they are full–or if they can’t eat the food. My wife Mary Jane vividly recalls, as a ten year old, being forced to sit at the dinner table for two hours starring at what she refused to eat: stewed kidney.

Whatta Waist!



This is not me, but I was
headed in that direction.



Lately, I’ve been reading about obesity and low-carb diets because my brother Rick lost more than fifty pounds on the Atkins diet and is now a lot healthier. Nearly every article I read on the subject said that portion size is just as important as what you eat or don’t eat. Calories can come from fat or carbs, so reducing portion size during a diet is like, duhhh. And, I have found that it’s easy to clean your plate without ingesting calories: recycle the leftovers for another meal.

The articles I read also said that exercise is an extremely important part of any diet. And you don’t have to play racquetball or basketball. Walking is just as effective as jogging, for example, and is a lot better for your knees.

Over my adult life my weight has fluctuated according to a number of factors regardless of my age. Any weight increase is the result of simply not paying attention to what I’m eating and how much food and drink I’m shoving down my throat. When I watch what I’m eating, I lose weight. When I don’t care, I pork up. It’s that simple. Now I’m going to reveal the secrets of my diet plan, which I call “The No-Beer Diet.”

Note that this is not the “I’ll Cut Back to Two Six Packs a Week Diet” or “The Low-Carb Beer Diet.” No beer, period. And no frou-frou drinks with a lot sugar in the mixer, either. I’m not saying that you have to be a teetotaler. Moderate amounts of wine or watered down liquor are permitted. And there are some other rules for The No-Beer Diet.

The No-Beer Diet!



That’s right folks – The No-Beer Diet!



  • No beer (I’m repeating this for effect).

  • Half-portions of most food, and one-third portions of high carb and high fat foods.

  • No sodas (an amazing amount of sugar in them). Drink water instead–it’s got zero carbs and zero calories.

  • No doughnuts.

  • Drink your coffee black with no sugar.

  • Obviously, quit snacking.

  • No fast food, ever.

  • Exercise twice as much as you normally do.

  • Continue to eat the hot stuff. Chiles and hot sauces have few calories and fat but they do have carbs.
    For this diet, focus on the hotter chiles and sauces because you will use less and consume fewer carbs.
    A typical one tablespoon serving of hot sauce has about two grams of carbs, but the sweeter sauces
    will have more. There is some evidence that the hot stuff boosts your metabolism so that you will burn
    more calories.

Cut the Beer - Eat more Hot Chiles!


Cut the Beer – Eat more Hot Chiles!


That’s it. There are no complicated food pyramids or carb indexes in this diet because what it does is get you thinking about what you’re eating and drinking. You will find yourself actually reading the Nutrition Facts on that jar or can, and so you are consciously considering whether or not to eat it instead of just gobbling it down. You will find yourself putting less food on your plate, and so if you cannot stop yourself from cleaning your plate, less damage will be done. Ziggy Marley, Bob’s son, wrote a great song called “Conscious Party.” That exactly describes The No-Beer Diet.

I’ve been on The No-Beer Diet for eight weeks tomorrow, and I am noticeably slimmer. The diet is not a fast one, but who wants a crash diet anyway? It took me a long time to gain weight, and it will take a long time to lose it. After I lose the weight, I will drink beer again, but this time I will stick with the reduced portion sizes and see how that works.

But I know one thing for certain: I will never tell a child to finish everything on the plate.

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