USDA Diet Guidelines Practical?

Lindsey Vonn of the United States powers past a gate during the first run of an alpine ski, Women's World cup giant slalom, in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, March 11, 2010. AP Photo/Elvis Piazzi

With her assignment, The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy's goal was to eat healthy according to the USDA dietary guidelines. It wasn't to lose weight.

"But be forewarned," she says, "I shot a lot of my own video diary, and I am not much of a photographer - or a dieter, as it turns out."

The following is her report.

My mission: Follow the new USDA guidelines for three straight days.

One: Work out 30-90 minutes
Two: Eat less than 2000 calories
Three: Incorporate all of the different foods into my diet

Day One started off with an enthusiastic breakfast, a shake.

Then I headed to Whole Foods for a healthy shopping spree, where I hit all the basic food groups: Dairy, meats, grains, vegetables and, of course, fruits.

101 calories per banana! No way.

Truth? Shopping on this diet is really educational. I found out peaches have only 38 calories.

And a bit complicated. To meet the requirements, you have to do some major meal planning ahead of time.

From there, I hit the gym. I worked out the bare minimum: 30 minutes. And afterwards, I lunched on salad. Good thing, too, because when I got to work, I had to battle temptations like my boss' candy basket and a cake somebody sent me.


I stuffed some peppers for dinner that night, which -frankly - took forever to cook. But I did it.

Day One Tally: Completed exercise, 1,900 calories, and all food requirements met. YEAY!

Day Two was a little more complicated.

I started with yogurt with cereal and berries for breakfast followed by a whopping whole hour at the gym. I was proud of myself.

At lunchtime, I went to the CBS commissary - so many good things to choose from. I settled for chicken with veggies.

I had an afternoon snack that looked more like breakfast (cereal). And dinner was a tuna fish sandwich and salad wolfed down on a train to Philadelphia. So far, so good.

But here's where things got complicated: The hotel's room service didn't start til 6:30 the next morning. So at 9:45 at night, I had to go to the store to get stuff to make a protein shake. When I got back, I realized I had to order a refrigerator for the milk.

Day Two Tally: Completed exercise, all food groups met. But I went a little over on my calories. Even so, this wasn't too hard. Or so I thought until day three.

Day Tree I did not want to get up at 5:30 a.m to go to the gym.

I made my protein shake - without a spoon - and headed to the gym for only 20 minutes because I was running late for my shoot. Of course, I was taping a piece about cereal and I had to eat some. Delicious!

Lunch was an easy salad. So by dinnertime, I'd already had all of my dairy, all of my grains no protein and only about half of my vegetables and fruits.

Dinner was complicated. I met relatives at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill. First challenge: the bread – corn bread.

And then have you ever seen Bobby's menu? Everything is fabulous, but none of the items filled all my missing food groups.

Everybody else just ordered what they wanted. Me? I started with a salad, which helped with my veggie requirement, but there was extra stuff in it: It's got cheese; it's got beans. I didn't add all that up.

And the pork tenderloin serving was far more than I was allowed so I shared, but I still probaby ate more than I was supposed to. Then it was time for dessert.

I'm doing what I'm supposed to; I'm having fruit.

Of course that didn't last long. Temptation won and I crumbled, just like the cake on my husband's plate.

Day Three Tally: Total failure on all levels. It turns out this truly was a mission impossible.

So here's what I took away from this: As long as I had a relatively normal day, I could follow the guidelines, but as soon as I had a little curve ball, I had a hard time sticking to the diet.

Some folks might think my life is complicated since I travel a lot for my job, but really, everybody has unexpected things come up in their lives: Your kid has to go to the doctor; your boss wants you to stay late; your mother decides to stop by. So it's not an easy diet for anybody.

However, this diet did have long-lasting effects. I find myself thinking in the back of my head, "I need to eat more vegetables today," or things like that, so it wasn't a bad thing to do and I'm certainly more aware of calories now.
  • Tatiana Morales

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