Where are you weighing in on diet?

The ever popular New Year's resolution is, of course, weight loss. A third of all Americans will make this resolution each year; many will start with good intentions; a few will loose five pounds then put it back on; too many will lighten their pockets­­ not their body weight on expensive programs that prove to be ineffective.

For those who are overweight, dieting and weight loss feels like an unsolvable mystery; why? Of course there are many factors that will play a role in diet but the major stumbling block I find in my practice is that we, as a nation, are poorly educated about nutrition and what is good for our bodies. Most of our information about food comes from radio, television and magazines­­ not the best sources.

We tend to buy into fad diets and diet programs that promise results. Yet you wouldn't buy a car, a house, an appliance without some objective investigation about price, value and reputation as a good product. Once again, no education is our first mistake.

Good nutrition is much simpler than we make it; good food, clean food and a balance between fats, carbohydrates and protein is essential. When we use diets high in protein, fad diets of grapefruit, soups or look to supplements or programs that fill the body with empty calories or highly processed foods that starve the body for any one of the three above-mentioned nutrients, our internal balance gets defunct. Then, when we end the diet and the body gets a taste of what it has been starved for, watch out, the cravings become tremendous and hard to control. Yet our body is not the enemy; it is only seeking the balance it desires­­ that you desire.

So, when dieting, why not start out giving the body what it needs in the first place: real food with a balance in more limited portions. Other important factors to understand in dieting are that the process should be individualized for you. Eating is a habit and habits can only be changed if they are changed for life through a slow, gradual, and individually acceptable process. Take stock of your lifestyle and consider what will work for you. Use a food-intake and activity diary for at least a week; a month would be better. When you have what you take in and what you expend in balance, you won't gain weight, you'll lose it.

A gradual steady weight loss of one or two pounds a week is an obtainable goal. Achieving your goal will help keep you on the right track without giving up.

Here are some other things to consider when undertaking a weight loss program.

1. If in good health, consider a one to two day fast. A fast will lessen your cravings and when you return to eating it won't take as much to satiate your appetite. Never fast on water alone, some quality fresh vegetable juice would be good.

2. Remember you're making lifestyle changes. Ask yourself if this is a diet I could live with indefinitely?

3. Are all major food groups included?

4. What is the program's recommended weight loss per week? Does it take into consideration individual differences?

5. Will I receive any professional guidance or any educational retraining about food?

6. How many participants reach their goals and maintain them?

7. What is the cost and does your doctor recommend it?

Most experts agree that the diet that will work best for you is one that is similar to what you are currently using plus lots of water, unless that diet includes a staple of fast foods. It is also important to use wholesome clean foods, free range meats, cold pressed oils, and fruits, vegetables and grains grown organically.

Weight loss programs should be simple, shouldn't break the bank and bring increased energy and feelings of well being.

If your weight loss program isn't working, maybe it's time to reassess; you may be making it harder than it needs to be.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Posted to Zephyr Online February 25, 1999
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