A friend of mine recently had a baby, and like most new mothers, is anxious to get the weight off. She called me last week, lamenting the slow process, and asking what she could do to speed it up a bit. Naturally, my first question was what she had been eating. Her response was an alarming reality check of the misinformation surrounding weight loss. A granola bar for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a frozen dinner. By rough calculation that adds up to about 800 calories of processed poison. Not enough to sustain the energy needs of a new mom, and certainly not enough to lose the baby belly. She also informed me that she did pilates. Every. Single. Day. After a brief chat about why pilates, though a wonderful supplemental exercise, was not enough to promote fat loss, we had a much more stern conversation about the vast difference between diet food and a healthy diet. The word diet has come to be so misused in our culture. In its literal sense, it refers to the foods that we eat most frequently. These days, however, we use it to depict hunger and deprivation, and allow ourselves to be conned by fancy titles like "sugar-free", "low-fat" and "carb-controlled". The truth about food is that if it even comes in a package that can be labeled, chances are it's not your most nutritious option. All these fancy fake-foods cause far more harm then good in the challenge of getting fit, in a number of insidious ways. First is physiological; they are processed with any number of toxins and foreign substances that your body doesn't recognize. Being the efficient machine that it is though, when our bodies don't recognize something, they host it like a VIP guest and make a private suite, in the form of brand new fat cells. Once these cells are filled, they make themselves comfortable and are tough to evict, because the fat that's filling them is not the bodies preferred fuel choice. Real food assimilates perfectly in the body, and is processed just as nature intended. Second, these foods don't provide the nutrients needed to keep us satisfied, or the energy needed to power through our days. Modern women work up our appetites, and we won't be satiated by a dinky little heat-and-eat meal. Real food contains protein, fiber and fat, that fills us up without weighing us down. A third way diet foods fastidiously make us fat is by slick marketing making us believe we're being virtuous. Thinking that a food is low in fat or sugar tends to provide a false security, and we eat more than we normally would. Many times, even more than a single serving of the food in it's original form. You would be better off enjoying a few bites of the real thing, than blowing your diet by eating around the craving. Science suggests that a calorie is a calorie, and in terms of physical weight that may be true. But personal experience tells me that a 1,500-calorie diet of balanced nutrition looks a lot different then 1,500 calories of crap. The diet days are over, folks; DIETS DON'T WORK. If you want a healthy, hot body, eat real food. Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives. A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology. She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.