As the dust and cookie crumbs from festivities during the holidays began to settle, many people made resolutions to take better care of their health, and maybe shed some weight. By now, some are still carrying on with those good intentions. Others have gotten a little off-track, and are hoping to renew their healthy intentions. Either way, here's some encouragement and information.
You're not alone if you're on a diet or thinking about starting one. On any given day, there are about 60 million U.S. Americans on a weight reduction diet. Out of a population of about 300 million, that means one in five of the people you might encounter today are right now in the process of attempting to take off extra pounds, whether they need to or not. During the course of this year, if data from the previous several years are predictive, half of the entire population will start a diet in the hopes of losing some weight, meaning that every alternate person you meet today will try to lose weight this year. Among women, 3 out of 4 feel they need to shed some pounds.
A simple fact, commonly known and frequently ignored, is that some diet products don't work and some actually keep you from losing weight. Buyer beware. Understanding a few key concepts would help many people avoid the mistake of starting a diet plan that is doomed to failure. Often, it is not the dieter who fails, but rather the flawed premise of the diet plan that ends up failing to work for the dieter. It is heartbreaking to know that someone who is giving their best effort, and suffering discomfort, unnecessary hunger, and emotional pain during the process of dieting has a 98% chance of regaining all the weight they lost, plus a few pounds more. The most important thing for anyone contemplating a diet to understand is this one: Dozens of studies have shown conclusively that 'traditional' dieting - restricting caloric intake - does not work.
In a nutshell, here's why simply reducing calories will not ever work. Our bodies are programmed in miraculous ways for survival, and the part of our brain that does the work to keep us alive couldn't care less about fitting into a smaller sized pair of jeans. Faced with a radical reduction of food, the alarms go off and our bodies set to work: conserving energy, creating more fat, slowing down metabolism, and engaging in a battery of survival mechanisms that keep us from starving. In the process of restricting calories, people inadvertently trigger these "starvation responses," which make weight loss very difficult and which guarantee that when the diet is over, all the lost weight will be regained.
People fall for diet programs that defy common sense for a number of reasons. First, there is confusion because so much conflicting information is published by the media. Second, we are barraged with some very effective marketing as companies compete for our dieting dollars (35 billion is spent annually in the US alone). Third, the truth is that most of us want to believe there is some magic answer, an easy, quick and effective way to get fit. Despite the claims made by promoters of many diet plans and products, research is consistently showing that the big four dieting concepts do not work in the long-run. They are either unsustainable, or too simplistically applied. Low-calorie is over. No-fat is out. High-protein is finished. Low-carb is on the wane.
Well then, what does work? Eating the foods our bodies are designed to eat, in proper proportion and combination. Combining the right foods for weight loss is not tricky, but it doesn't seem to be common knowledge either. There are, however, good books available on the subject of effective food combining. The most clearly written and workable book I've found so far is "Good Calorie Diet" by Dr. Phillip Lipetz. The book was written in 1994, but it is based on sound research. And besides, the principles regarding what foods we should eat in what combinations are as old as humankind.
The concepts in the book are easy to understand. The basics boil down to a few principles. The main two I'll give here so you can get started on the road to changing your eating habits for permanent and real weight loss. Eat whole food, not processed (that is, avoid foods that come in a package, can, or box). Avoid combining animal protein with starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice) or fruit. This is aligned with the way our ancestors ate, and it makes sense to eat according to the diet humans have thrived upon for millennia.
Grace M. Navarro, writer and nutrition specialist, is an Editor of EZeDiets.com - This Diets Newsletter is the leading diet resource on-line. Visit his website for more articles
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Michael E. Richardson : I like the article because it states up front we all being miss educated and explains how and why. This gets a 10 in my understanding. It goes on to say calorie restriction only switches the defense mechanism 'on' and assures us of unwanted results. Real dieting consists of eating foods that match our constitution. This involves proper food combining for your metabolic type. Pretty simpe and direct.