Do You Know Fact From Fad?
People are losing weight eating bacon and eggs-others by eating only grapefruit or cabbage. Are these diets safe and based on scientific research? Or are marketing teams using isolated testimonials to dazzle the public with a diet’s reputed success? Others of you may be asking why are people dieting and how do they expect that short-term drastic changes will result into long-term results?
Well all I can say is that the diet industry is self-perpetuating. Thousands of diet plans contribute to a $40-billion-a-year weight-loss industry. The public wants to get thin and the entrepreneur wants to get fat with profits. Anyone can become a weight-loss guru with a hot marketing team, a few choice testimonials and a smooth presentation. However, while the weight-loss industry continues to grow, obesity has reached epidemic proportions.
Most diet plans are nothing more than low-calorie nutrition plans disguised by clever marketing gimmicks. Scientific-sounding “facts” and hocus-pocus “research” can dazzle and confuse the average consumer. Diet-plan marketers go to great lengths to explain how their diet can work for everyone, or claim that it is carbohydrate intake (or any other dieters “enemy-of-the-month’) that is the culprit. However, the bottom line is that a caloric deficit (more calories burned than consumed) causes weight loss. The average American consumes 300 calories more today than he did 30 years ago. He also burns 260 less calories each day due to increased automation, technology and sedentary occupations. Increased caloric intake and decreased caloric expenditure means that the waistline is growing at an alarming rate.
While fad diets may initially offer rapid weight loss, the result is too often temporary, leaving the dieter defeated, angry and often with a few extra pounds just for good measure. The problem with fad diets is that they are just too hard to maintain with deprivation, and isolation from the social world of availability. Instead the key to long-term weight loss is adopting a healthy lifestyle for life.
According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), people who have successfully lost weight, and maintained the loss for greater than five years had the following lifestyle factors in common.
#1- Get Personal. Discovering your body’s caloric and fuel type requirements. Physiological and psychological responses to foods can vary dramatically between individuals, just as eating habits are personal. Some people may feel at their best when consuming higher protein and fat in the diet, while others might feel just as energetic by consuming more carbohydrates. As well knowing how many calories you need to eat daily and tracking your consumption to balance weekly.
#2- Get Scheduled. Meal timing is critical, eating frequently throughout the day can help you stay energized and avoid making poor food choices. Eating smaller balanced meals often can assist in curtailing blood sugar fluctuations and lead to better compliance in consuming proper foods and long term success. The common behavior of skipping meals sabotages good intentions and dietary compliance. Missing a normally scheduled meal will leave you hungry, increasing the likelihood of making a poor food choice.
#3- Get Organized. Modern lifestyles in our fast-paced world make it difficult to prepare however making the effort to put together meals the day before, or on the weekend when your schedule is less stressful, will improve the likelihood of success due to environmental control. Environmental control is setting up the space around you with options to eat well, exercise, and maintain factors that will contribute to success.
Overall, people who maintain normal body weight after a weight loss or just as their standard, share common lifestyle behaviors. Spending a little extra time on organization, getting educated on your personal nutritional requirements and staying consistent with your schedule will amount to a much more realistic and enjoyable lifestyle yielding greater results in the process. Remember, you already eat every day so it’s not much more difficult to add a little structure to the routine especially when the results are as noticeable as they are tangible and replicable.
Tara welcomes questions in relation to nutrition and exercise, to be answered in the weekly column ‘Food and Fitness Matters’. If you have a question please email it to [email protected]
Registered. Nutritional Counselor