Healthy weight loss programs require behavior change. There are no shortcuts to permanent weight loss. You can try all kinds of trendy diets, supplements, protein powders and juices, but you will regain the weight once you get fed up and quit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control:
• 37.9% of American adults age 20 years and over are obese
• 70.7% of Americans age 20 and over are overweight
Obesity can lead to the development of chronic and life-threatening diseases. Research has shown the being overweight can cause heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Many of these diseases can be prevented with healthy weight loss programs.
When you get to the point that you can accept the fact that healthy weight loss programs require behavior change, then you will not only lose weight but you will be able to maintain the weight loss.
Behavior change is really just habit change. But, changing comfortable routines that suit our busy lifestyles is easier said than done. Tracking your food intake with a phone app like My Fitness Pal helps create accountability. But, it’s easy to lose focus, especially because the weight will not melt away as fast as if you were on a severe calorie restrictive diet.
Many people need additional expertise and accountability from a Nutritionist or wellness coach. Don’t be ashamed to go that route. After all, your health is at stake.
Dr. Christina Tarantola, a licensed pharmacist and nutrition consultant recently wrote an insightful article entitled “Why Some Diets Fail.” In the article, she shares some of her personal experiences and analyzes why quick-fix diets don’t work. Here are some excerpts from the article.
“Four years ago I was a sucker for sweets, a pushover for pies. Pick your alliteration for the emotional draw I had to self-indulgent food and the simultaneous restrictive thought process about dieting. Webster would have labeled me as an “emotional eater.” Many of us walk the delicate balance of dodging that dessert or giving into the garlic bread to fit into our skinny jeans. We torture ourselves counting calories, trying skinny wraps, sacrificing the food we love just to feel we have succeeded! When will enough be enough?”
Healthy Weight Loss Programs Do Not Include Quick-Fix Diets
Healthy weight loss programs do not include quick-fix diets like these:
Low-Carb Diets Like the Atkins and South Beach Diets
The premise: These diets promote increasing fat and protein while restricting carbohydrates. The Atkins diet has 68% of calories from fat, 27% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates. Low carbohydrate diets recommend limiting complex and simple sugars, causing the body to oxidize fat to meet energy requirements. This diet recommends two weeks of extreme carbohydrate restriction, followed by gradually increasing carbohydrates to 35 grams per day. The South Beach diet recommends restricting carbohydrates for the first two weeks and gradually increasing low glycemic index carbohydrates.
The verdict: While many dieters try “low carb” dieting and see results, this effect is short-lived and is mainly due to the diuretic effect of switching the body’s main source of fuel, glucose, to ketones. In other words, the number on the scale is going down because you are losing fluids. But, the body needs carbohydrates to function. The key is selecting the right type of carbs.
Here are the long-term effects of low carb diets:
• Long-term “low carb” dieting leads to ketosis, where the body starts utilizing fats for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
• Severe carbohydrate restriction leads to a decrease in metabolism, muscle atrophy and increases the likelihood of binging.
• A study done by researchers at Deakin University in Australia also showed no advantage of low-carb diets in long-term weight loss, and found that much of the short-term weight loss was in the form of water and glycogen stores instead of fat.
• Long-term effects on cardiovascular heart disease risk factors, such as weight loss, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glycemic control, and blood pressure are unknown.
Healthy Weight Loss Programs Include This Lifestyle Diet
Healthy weight loss programs include livable diets like this one.
The Heart-Healthy Mediterranean Diet
The premise: This diet is characterized by an abundance of plant-based foods including fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. The goal is to eat minimally processed, locally grown foods. Olive oil, which is high in polyunsaturated fat is preferred for cooking. Small amounts of dairy, fish and poultry are also staples of this diet. Eggs and red meat are eaten sparingly. Occasional sweets are permissible as is wine in moderation.
The verdict: Harvard Health recommends this diet for its heart-protective effects. This diet has been studied extensively and has been shown to decrease LDL, lower your risk of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that patients on a Mediterranean diet lose more weight, have lower C-reactive protein levels, less insulin resistance, lower total cholesterol and triglyceride and higher HDL levels, and have a decreased prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
Why Do So Many Diets Fail?
1. Many diets are restrictive and cut out certain food groups. For example, the low carb diet or Atkins diet restricts carbohydrates. This is neither pleasant nor sustainable.
2. Most diets force a person to rely on the pill, supplement, shake or product for a certain amount of time. While putting a Band-Aid over a problem will help it temporarily, it won’t solve the problem. Once that weight loss aid is removed, the weight slowly creeps back.
3. Minimal or no focus on the mindset component. We are all going to have our stressful moments or times when we have little Johnny’s birthday party. How will you plan for those events? Having awareness and anticipating possible barriers or challenges can help you work through them.
The Bottom Line: There is no short cut. There are no magic pills. A commitment to changing your lifestyle and eating a healthier diet is the only solution that will work in the long run.
Click here to read the full article about healthy weight loss programs.