Before you begin digging out your favorite diet or checking out one of the zillion other diets online, you might want to think about giving up the diet quest if weight loss is your goal. A diet likely won't get you to your ultimate goal of sustaining the weight you lose because 95 percent of people who go on diets will eventually regain the weight they have lost, plus more.
Three reasons to forgo diets
1 Temporary fix: When you lose weight quickly, most of it will be water. To keep weight off permanently, it is better to lose weight slowly (1 or 2 pounds a week).
2 Nutritional deficiencies: When the body is unable to absorb proper nutrients for a prolonged period of time, a variety of health issues can develop, including anemia and extreme fatigue.
3 Muscle loss: If a diet calls for less than 1,000 calories per day, your body feels in "starvation mode" and will begin to pull protein from the muscle to make up for lack of nutrients. And, you don't want to lose muscle, as muscle is the "engine" that helps burn calories.
Losing weight without dieting
1 One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. By cutting out 500 calories a day, and adding exercise to your daily routine, you can lose a pound a week.
2 Keeping a food journal for at least a week increases an awareness of what and how much you are eating. It will help you see ways of cutting back.
3 Eat breakfast and don't skip meals. Your metabolism can slow down, causing you to burn fewer calories.
4 To help prevent overeating, begin dinner with a salad or a broth-based soup.
5 Avoid sweetened drinks and sodas. If you become hungry between meals, drink a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice.
6 Use mustard instead of mayonnaise, and choose marinara sauce over alfredo sauce (tomato-based sauces have fewer calories and much less fat than cream-based sauces).
7Buy a pedometer and record your steps, aiming for 10,000 a day.
8Find reasons to move more: Pace while talking on phone, take computer breaks and stretch; include cardio and strength exercises throughout the week.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.