From no-carb diets and shake shams to quick weight loss plans that focus on a single food like grapefruit or (you can’t make this stuff up) Twinkies – there are eating schemes out there for every dieter’s dream. How do you choose one? Let’s make this simple. Don’t! Why? Because diets don’t fuel fitness. When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, quick dieting fixes don’t work.
Say the word “diet” slowly out loud,….”die…it.”
Now, do as the word says and let it die!
Make Lifestyle Changes That
Focus on Balance, Not Diets
Let go of the notion that going on a strict eating plan for a limited time will solve your weight gain woes. While it may be true that cutting calories for a brief period of time or eating certain foods might immediately cause you to lose a few pounds, the weight loss achieved through quickie diets is usually 1) just water weight and 2) not sustainable and 3) not necessarily more healthy than carrying around a few extra pounds.
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Studies show many quick weight loss plans result in dieters gaining back the weight they lost and sometimes even more pounds once the diet is done. This is due, in part, to an increase in appetite triggered by rapid weight loss. For some individuals classifying foods as forbidden often makes them more appealing and increases cravings. In some cases, this can lead to binge eating when the diet is done.
Diets tend to be where positivity meets its demise and failure thrives, unless your goal is to join the line for roller coaster weight gains and losses. Frequent ups and downs associated with dieting can take a toll on your self-esteem and leave you feeling more out of control than ever.
From a health standpoint, diets can leave you devoid of certain nutrients or provide too much of a good thing that can lead to health problems. (Yes, you can have too much protein.) At best, your body flushes out excess vitamins if you rely on a particular food type to lose weight. But, if you’re eating foods rich in specific nutrients and only those foods, you are likely foregoing essential nutrients in foods you’re skipping.
A better approach to maintaining a healthy weight is to take small steps to make lifestyle changes that focus on balance, positivity and choice, not guilt, loss and deprivation. The American Council on Exercise provides some tips on how to incorporate exercise and eating in a reciprocal way into your day to promote long-term weight management.
Make your new normal a process of self-care that focuses on your health from the inside out, not a number on a scale. A scale doesn’t measure your lean-to-fat ratio or indicate how well your cardiovascular system and organs are operating. Instead of engaging diets that focus on lost pounds, seek holistic health tests (like body composition analysis and body age tests) that give you an indication of what aspects of health you might want to improve in order to lead the lifestyle of your dreams!