Why are there so many diets? A common question. The answer simple but two-fold. First, people are obsessed with weight loss; everyone wants to be thinner. Secondly, everyone’s body functions differ. The diet that works for one person may not work for another. In the end, diets do not work. Diets by nature are restrictive and require rules to be followed. Once the goal is achieved and the dieter “goes off” the diet they typically return to the old eating habits that got them to the place that they needed a diet to begin with.
So what can be done? Follow a few simple guidelines. Eat fewer calories than are burned. This can be accomplished either by eating less or exercising more or some combination of the two. The eating plan should be balanced and sustainable.
Generally, increasing water consumption goes a LONG way in creating a more balanced eating plan. Water can help with energy fluctuations and cravings. If the body dehydrated it begins to shut down. Craving sweets to help “perk us up” often counteracts this. Water can also help curve appetite surges.
Increasing vegetables in the diet is another way to control calorie consumption. Since most vegetables are relatively low in calories and fiber rich, they keep us full longer with fewer calories. The fiber in the vegetables also gives us energy over a longer period of time.
Focusing on WHole gains – as opposed to processed food is always a good goal. It is almost impossible to overeat on whole grains due to their denseness. Think of gorging yourself on a large plate of pasta and then imagine yourself doing the same thing with a huge plate of brown rice. Not possible. Furthermore, since whole grains have more fiber – they also fill us up faster and give us energy over a longer period of time.
Lastly, do not overlook the importance of fat. Fat gives us the “mouth feel” of food. This allows us to be more satisfied with the food we are eating. Again, the result is we eat less. A good example is fat-free cookies; people generally eat more of them than full fat cookies. Fat also slows down the absorption of food, again allowing us to be satisfied for a longer period of time. Focus on healthy fats such as olive oil or avocados.
Weight loss is an obsession for so many people. These people have reasonably bought many diet books and have lost and gained the same weight numerous times. The way to end this cycle is to develop a life long eating plan that is balanced and maintained.