Controlling Your Weight through Diet Changes
With summer heat come trips to the beach. Trips to the beach
mean trying to fit into last years bathing suit or bikini. Many women
find that they would like to lose a few pounds for the summer.
There are dozens of commercial weight loss programs that
capitalize on this sudden dieting urge. Unfortunately, most of these
programs dont work. Why?
Rapid vs. Gradual
Most commercial weight loss programs are poorly designed. They
rarely result in permanent weight loss. This is because they tend to
focus on rapid weight loss rather than gradual change. If you
drastically cut the number of calories that you eat per day, your
body will respond by lowering its metabolism. The rate of
metabolism is how fast your body burns the calories it needs to
maintain daily functions. This slows weight loss.
Many dieters become discouraged and will go off the diet. When
you stop the diet, your body will quickly return to its previous
weight. This creates a cycle of dieting and not dieting, called yo-yo
dieting. Yo-yo dieting causes weight to be gained back quickly and
loss with increasing difficulty. Each time a new diet is started, the
body slows its metabolism even more.
Effective diets are not temporary eating changes. In order to be
successful, a diet must be a permanent change in lifestyle. An
effective diet will not restrict calorie intake to less than 1200
calories a day. In a sensible plan, food can be chosen from all of
the food groups. Your favorite snacks, including even chocolate,
can be a part of your diet, provided that the fat content is minimal
and portions are kept small. You should aim to lose about ½ to 1
pound per week. This gradual loss of weight will keep your body
healthy, while preventing a change in metabolism from messing
with your diet.
What to Eat
Being on a diet does not have to be synonymous with starving.
There are plenty of things to eat.
Breads: Whole-grain breads, whole-grain and bran cereals, rice,
Vegetables: Dark green, leafy vegetables (such as spinach,
collard, and endive), yellow-orange vegetables (such as squash,
carrots, and sweet potatoes), cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and
Fruits: Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), berries,
apples, and pears.
Dairy products: Low-fat (1%) or skin milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt
and cheeses (such as mozzarella, cottage cheese, farmers
cheese, and ricotta), sherbet, frozen low-fat yogurt, ice milk.
Meats: Low-fat chicken or turkey (white meat without skin), fresh or
frozen fish, lean meat trimmed of all fat, water-packed canned
tuna, cooked dry beans and peas, egg whites, and egg
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to remember is that if you wish to control
your weight, the most effective and long lasting way is through a
change in diet and maintaining an exercise program. A balanced
diet of all five of the food groups is essential. You also must make
sure that you have enough calories to keep your body healthy and
to give you enough energy every day. Diet pills can have serious
side effects and are rarely effective. Choose a diet that is low in fat
(both saturated and unsaturated) and cholesterol. Only use sugar
and salt in moderation. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grains.
The occasional treat is OK. Just make sure that you only eat a
small amount and that it is relatively low in fat.