“Lose 20 lbs in 2 days!” “Eat 3 eggs a day, and you’ll lose weight!” “Eat all the soup you want, and lose 50 lbs, guaranteed!” Do any of these attractive weight loss claims sound familiar? Have you ever wondered which plan was right for you? I’m sure that you’ve probably heard of several companies advertising unrealistic weight loss results and fitness claims as a way to lure people into trying their products. I’m also certain that you’ve probably felt tempted by these diet claims in hopes to help you lose weight.
After trying what seems like over 116 diets, I’m here to set the record straight about diets and weight loss. Let me start off by saying there is no magic pill or magic food that will produce super quick weight loss. I know that may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the honest truth! Sure there are super-foods that contain wonderful health benefits, but that does not mean they can produce and/or guarantee quick weight results for everyone.
It’s no surprise that most of us are wanting a quick and easy solution. More than one-third of U.S. population is obese. That’s a very large amount of people! As we all know, obesity can bring about some serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
As a Licensed/Registered Dietitian, my patients will often ask about certain fad diets and the latest health trends. My advice remains the same; healthy weight loss comes from developing healthier eating habits and increasing physical activity.
Before becoming a Registered Dietitian, I followed every fad diet and health trend imaginable! If it promised quick weight loss results, I tried it! There was no thinking, no evaluating the practicality of these diets….I just knew that I wanted to be “skinnier” in a very short amount of time!
Here are a few Examples of a few Alarming Diet Claims and Patterns that you should Avoid:
- Diets That Promise Rapid Weight Loss Results
Any diet that promises rapid loss is not the best option to follow. Gradual weight loss is ideal because you will be more inclined to keep the weight off. Quick weight loss often results in weight gain. Healthy weight loss is an average of 1-2 pounds a week.
- Diets That Omit Essential Food Groups
Any diet that tells you to avoid ALL carbohydrates or ALL fat is not the best plan to follow. Truth is, your body needs essential fats and complex carbohydrates to properly function.
Healthy weight loss includes developing healthier eating habits that will be beneficial to your overall health. Once these healthier habits are developed, you will have the tools you need for long term maintenance.
- Weight Loss Plans That Do Not Include Exercise
Regular physical activity is essential for overall good health and healthy weight maintenance. Any plan that does not include or recommend physical activity should raise several red flags! It is important to choose an activity that you enjoy so that you will stick with it.
- Consuming A Particular Food And/Or Meal To Produce Weight Loss
There is no evidence that eating a certain food or meal will produce weight loss. Any diet plan that advises you to only consume a specific type of food to reach your goals, should be avoided. Your body needs a nutritious variety of food, rich in vitamins and minerals, for several reasons such as boosting your immune system, strengthening your bones, and providing a great source of energy.
I will admit, I was one of the ones that adhered to the majority of these weight loss claims. As a result, I lost weight but I was not able to keep it off. I had no idea how to incorporate healthier eating habits into my everyday life and ended up gaining more weight! After becoming a Registered Dietitian, I made it my mission to teach others healthier eating habits and how to successfully lose weight without deprivation.
A very important concept that I’ve learned is that moderation is key. This simply means to enjoy what you love in moderation, and let the majority of your diet be filled with nutritious whole grains/legumes, vegetables, lean protein, and reduced fat dairy products. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, should also be included to help reduce inflammation and the onset of some chronic diseases.
Here Are A Few Tips For Healthy Weight Loss:
- Be Mindful When Preparing Your Plate
Choose more wholesome vegetables when preparing your plate. Instead of filling your plate with tons of non-nutritive starches and high-fat items, try to fill up half of your plate with mostly leafy green vegetables.
- Choose Smaller Plates/Bowls
Using a smaller dish when preparing your plate can help to control your portions and eliminate overeating during meals.
- Take Time To Enjoy Your Meals
If you scarf down your food in 10 minutes or less, chances are you will want a second helping. This is because you haven’t given your body a chance to send satiety signals to the brain. Savor your meals and enjoy them. There is no rush!
- Portion Your Food
Be sure to portion your food verses eating it out of its original bag or container. This also helps with the possibility of overeating. When eating straight from the bag, we tend to eat until the bag is empty; so be sure to portion out your food.
- Limit High-Calorie Beverages
Be aware of high-calorie beverages such as soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, specially coffee drinks, alcohol, etc… These beverages usually contain empty calories making it very easy to over-consume. Enjoy these beverages in moderation or replace them with plenty of water.
- Plan Ahead.
Meal planning is a great way to stay on track and prevent temptation throughout the day. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to help avoid making unhealthy food choices.
While popular diet trends are very attractive, there are many things to consider. There are plenty of ways to lose weight, but equipping yourself with the tools to maintain weight loss can be the tricky part.
Most current diet trends do not include a plan for maintenance, which is why you should always refer to a registered dietitian, nutritionist, physician, or other qualified health care professional to determine the right plan for you.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle can dramatically improve your overall health status. Even small changes, such as taking the steps instead of the elevator or replacing soft drinks with water, can positively impact your health. While it certainly feels like I’ve tried 116 diets, I can honestly say that I’ve learned some very important lessons about healthy weight loss and I hope to continue to spread my knowledge and experiences with all of you.
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Inpost Image Credit: istockphoto.com