By Chrissy MacDonald
If you want to lose weight, don’t go on another diet.
Crash diets, fad diets and diets that claim miraculous results are not the answer to permanent weight loss. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? If you want to lose weight for good you must think like the tortoise. I know this is probably not what you want to hear. We all want instant results. But that’s why the diet industry is booming. Everyone wants it now.
Repeated crash dieting that restricts calories will slow down your metabolism. When your metabolism is slow, it’s harder to lose weight permanently. It’s a vicious cycle. One diet seems to work for a while making you think the diet was successful. And then the weight comes back. So then it’s on to another diet.
High protein diets, low carbohydrate diets, low fat diets – they can all be dangerous. A diet that cuts back essential nutrients can be hard on your body. Just because someone wrote a book about it or appeared on television, doesn’t mean it’s safe or effective.
Here’s the truth: one pound equals 3,500 calories. Most people need between 1700 to 3,000 calories per day depending on activity level and body composition. It’s impossible to lose ten pounds in a week as some diets claim. Weight loss of more than two pounds per week is most likely water and/or lean muscle mass. And body fat is what you want to get rid of.
If you want to lose weight, don’t starve yourself. Just change your approach away from so-called miracle diets and toward healthy eating and physical activity.
Try this: Write down what you normally eat on a typical day. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much food you’re putting into your body. Those calories add up fast.
Plan to write down your food intake for a while. I write down everything I eat and the exercise I do every day. It’s a great way to stay on track.
Cut back on saturated fat (from animal products), sugar and salt. Cut back on processed foods and junk foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables (include a variety of colors). Eat whole grains instead of white flour.
Start exercising if you aren’t already. Combine cardiovascular exercise (activity that raises your heart rate like walking fast, running and swimming) and strengthening exercises (moves like pushups and crunches and Yoga that challenge muscles). Both of these are important for good health.
There is no big secret to weight loss. Stay away from miraculous claims, potions and concoctions. Eat healthier foods and write down what you eat for a while. Exercise your body. Everything will fall into place naturally. You will lose weight, feel better, have more energy, be healthier and look great. Remember, the tortoise won the race.
In my next post: How much and what type of exercise should you do?