We’ve all heard the bad news that diets don’t work. Many people don’t bother to read further and find out why. If you’re trying to lose weight, I hope you won’t be discouraged by the reports that diets don’t work.
While diets as we traditionally have understood them tend to fail, it is possible to lose weight and the reasons for doing so are stronger than ever. I lost 90 pounds in 2011, at the age of 46. Nearly 3 years later, I have kept it off and continue to eat right and exercise. You can do it, too!
The main reason diets don’t work is because we think of diet as a temporary thing. Diet to most people means a strict way of eating for a short period of time. Once we get to our goal weight, we think, we’ll return to “eating normally.” Now, think about that. Isn’t “eating normally” how you ended up overweight? Don’t you think it’s a bad idea to continue those bad habits? While we’re losing weight, we’re afraid to cheat on our diets because we won’t lose the weight and we don’t want to sabotage ourselves. So, once we’ve reached our goal, does it make sense to cheat ourselves?
A good diet consists of all of the food groups. There are many diet programs (Weight Watchers is the best and well known of them) that encourage a well-balanced diet. Most days, you should eat a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, whole grain carbohydrates, lean protein, nonfat dairy and lots of water. Vegetables should be the main course of most meals and in volume should represent the major portion of your diet.
You need at least 5 servings per day, but can have more, and that’s the good thing about vegetables. Learn to appreciate them for their unique flavor. You may put seasoning on them, but if you can acquire a taste for vegetables and other food without butter, you will be more successful on your weight loss journey. Mix up your vegetables. Be sure and get lots of green leafy vegetables as well as colorful vegetables like carrots, beets, and squash. Try new vegetables like fennel (it tastes like licorice!) and jicama. Stay away from iceberg lettuce. It is the least nutritious of all the green leafy things and you can get more health benefits from crispy romaine lettuce.
When you’re losing weight, your diet is more restricted than when you are maintaining. Once you’ve reached your goal and are ready for the maintenance phase of your life, keep in mind that the recommended daily allowance for women is only around 2000 per day (2500 for men), and that is only about 500 calories per day higher than your weight loss plan. Most desserts have more than 500 calories. Most carbohydrates have 150 to 200 calories per serving, so you can see that you really can’t add that much food to your maintenance diet and still hope to maintain your weight. This should not be regarded as bad or as hard to do.
After all, if you’ve reached your goal, you have learned to live on a restricted diet. If you’ve eaten healthy foods, you are probably feeling better. You have more energy and your body has reaped the benefits of your healthy lifestyle. Don’t throw it all away on the temporary pleasure of foods that after all, are not good for you.