It is actually easy to lose weight. Almost any diet, sensible or not, that cuts out the type and amount of food you usually eat will help you drop pounds. That is the easy part, but as soon as you return to your old eating habits the pounds creep right back on and often you regain more than you lost. Then you start the cycle again with next popular diet. Few ever result in long term success. Sadly, most people who lose weight regain it again.
Today, the most successful diets are ones you design yourself that fits your lifestyle, gender, age, and health problems. To eat well you need to make a commitment to change. Not just for a couple of weeks but you need to practice new eating and lifestyle habits over and over again until they become second nature, like putting on both shoes every day.
What are the guidelines for a good diet?
Is the diet based on research in weight management? Was it tried on many people who had long term success? Weight Watchers is a good example of one sound eating plan with long term success. Weight Watchers has also moderated its diet plan over the years as new weight loss evidence became available. Look for an eating plan that is not based on a celebrity endorsement or anecdotal evidence.
No foods should be forbidden. It is not the foods you eat, but how much you eat and how often. That is the reason you cannot win the diet war. Eliminating a group of foods, like carbs, or eating foods in sequence or combinations might offer short term success but they are not eating plans you can live with for the rest of your life.
Does the diet use extreme measures such as fasting for one or more days a week, drinking only liquids, or eating just one food such as rice? You should not have to use a special formula or take pills to melt away fat.
The diet should not give you license to eat any food in unlimited amounts. All good diets are based on a variety of foods in common sense portions. That is the foundation of healthy eating. Too much of any food, even a healthy choice, is not good for you.
The diet should recommend exercise. You don't have to visit the gym every day or be slumped over a treadmill but you do need to move. Initiate everyday activity -- dance, garden, walk the entire mall before you shop, park at the furthest end of the parking lot, wash the car, go bowling instead of the movies. Those who have lost weight and kept it off include activity into their lives daily. If you eat it and don't burn it, you will sit on it. Count your steps daily and keep adding more over time until you reach 10,000 or more each day. That goal may take you awhile to achieve but it is well worth the effort.
The diet should not harm your health now or in the future. Cleanses, fasting or eating large amounts of saturated fats like bacon or butter are not the right approach to healthy eating.
Does the diet have a plan for permanent weight maintenance? Once you lose weight a healthy diet should be like an old friend who does not abandon you. It should supply strategies to maintain your weight loss and help you stay active for the rest of your life. Data collected by the National Weight Control Registry, from real people who have lost weight and kept it off for years, showed that successful losers followed sensible eating plans without gimmicks and maintained active lives. They kept their weight off for years by incorporating the changes they made into their everyday lives.
Bottom line: Battling the bulge is not easy. It requires your attention every day. But, the rewards are worth it -- a slimmer, healthier you.
© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books. Available as eBooks from iTunes and Kindle/Amazon:
Healthy Wholefoods Counter
Complete Food Counter
Fat and Cholesterol Counter
Available in print from Gallery Books:
Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.
Your Complete Food Counter App: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/your-complete-food-counter/id444558777?mt=8
For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to: www.TheNutritionExperts.com.