Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Truth About Dieting

It's only a few weeks after the New Year, but I am already sick of the chit-chat in the cafeteria, at the grocery store, and just about everywhere else. This year is like every other and it seems like everyone is on some crash diet for their New Years Resolution.

Rule #1: Be weary of any diet that guarantees fast weight loss. Most of these limit whole food groups and have quirky food rules (no cheese or milk, but yogurt is ok or eat all of the protein you want but whole grains are the devil). It is a full time job just trying to "stick" to your diet. A few weeks in, you are sick of feeling deprived and throw the towel in, possibly thinking "I will succeed next year".

As a dietitian I see clients that are life-long dieters. Time and time again, crash diets fail and they end up disappointed or feel like did something wrong...that they failed the miracle diet. Often this is followed by a period of weight regain, where you eat all of the foods that you have denied yourself of.

The problem does not lie within you, it lies within the diet. They simply do not work. 

Dieting (food restriction) separates foods into "good" and "bad", making most of the tastiest foods forbidden. We all know that we want what we can't have and dieting is no different.

Cutting back on calories too abruptly forces our body to start breaking down muscle for energy. The by-products of muscle breakdown are toxins and need to be rid of the body in the urine. So we urinate more, and lose the "water weight". This is why some diets can promise 10# in the first week. The problem is...we don't end up burning a lot of fat in the process. So we are left with less muscle and haven't burned much fat...not a good combination. Muscle is our friend, because the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn. This makes it easier to reach a healthy weight.

Going for small lifestyle changes will shed the weight at a slower weight, but will hopefully make it easier for you to sustain changes for a lifetime, not just for a month or two. This way of eating should make it easier to sustain weight loss instead of regaining the weight plus some.  Eating mindfully and focusing on health and wellbeing is a much more positive approach. Follow my blog to learn how to make changes to your diet and life that will allow you to enjoy foods and reach a healthy weight. It's all about small steps.

You are more than a number on a scale!

Ready to re-evaluate your New Years Resolution?
Here are some ideas:
1. Build a healthier relationship towards food
2. Evaluate hunger before, during, and after meals
3. Eat on a more consistent basis (no skipping meals)
4. Be aware of portion size
5. Focus on health, energy, yourself instead of the number on the scale
6. Engage in physical activities you enjoy (not ones that burn the most calories)

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