Lynn offers personal counseling regarding your diet. Email her your questions at: LowFatLife@aol.com
There are so many different diet or eating styles, ways, proclivities, rules, and preferences to lose weight. Some may work for a few people, others may work better for someone else. Check and see which feels right for you. Realize you can always change plans midstream if they don't work, or you can use several plans at once such as counseling and fat reduction, exercise and the 90/10 plan.
Ninety percent of the time you eat healthfully, ten percent of the time you eat what you want. Some make it easier by eating healthful foods six days a week and on Sunday only, for example, eat whatever they want.
Pros: You get to eat some of the foods you wish to eat and most of your diet is extremely healthy.
Cons: You have to really be sure you are eating 90/10 and not 50/50 or some other equation and you have to know what really is healthful, plus, your favorite food may not be available on Sunday so keeping track is difficult. Writing down your diet, exactly what you eat every day makes it easier and alerts you to what and how much you really are easier. Studies show most of us aren't very accurate when recounting our exact diet, even when we do it that day.
Who should try the 90/10 plan? Disciplined people.
Eating Only The Best Occasionally:
As an example, if you're a chocoholic and that's your downfall, eat only the very best chocolate, not just all the chocolate you can get your hands on.
Pros: You don't eat fattening or unhealthy foods often but you do enjoy the very best if only occasionally. This plan is for gourmands only who can occasionally afford the very best and actually know the difference
Cons: Most of us aren't disciplined enough to eat unhealthful foods only occasionally and then wait long periods of time before getting the best example of that certain probably unhealthy food again, such as a bacon cheeseburger. Often when we have one, we want another. Most of us aren't truly discriminating about chocolate (or bacon cheeseburgers) anyway.
Who should try the "Eating Only The Best Occasionally" plan? Disciplined people.
Following The Book:
You follow the diet plan from a diet book that makes sense to you and which might work for you.
Pros: A specified written plan from a relatively inexpensive source (a respected book, web-page etc.) makes it very simple and easy to follow for many people. Many diet books are generally on the right track (The American Heart Association Cookbook, and many diabetes cookbooks for example)
Cons: Some books, such as that written by Dr. Robert Atkins may not be healthy, nor are other books by other writers perhaps in your best health interest to follow. Many so-called experts have differing opinions and many aren't necessarily correct. Fad diets can and have caused severe health problems including death. Unless one is very educated in nutrition, which anyone can do, they still need to be aware that we are learning more every day about what to eat, but definitive diet plans can be destructive especially when they don't include the widest possible variety of fruits and vegetables.
Who should follow a diet book? People who are good at following directions and are self-starters.
The 300 Calorie, three (sometimes four) times a day:
My friend Jeanne Zehrer came up with a terrific diet for herself and I'll bet it would work for you. She calls it, "The Unconscious Diet" because you don't have to think about it. First, she understands calories; how many are in what foods. Then she allows herself 300 calories at breakfast (toast, diet margarine, fruit, coffee, and one egg white) At lunch she only has 300 calories, not more. Her snack whether mid-morning, mid afternoon or before bed is also 300 calories as is her dinner (small piece chicken, 2-3 vegetables etc). The weight after a week falls off her.
Pros: All you have to do is count calories for this one.
Cons: All you have to do is count calories for this one, lol.
Reducing Serving Sizes:
This is greatly reducing calories by changing the amounts of foods on your plate, and not having second helpings. It reduces probably by half the food you were previously eating by restricting food portion sizes.
Pros: Lots of pros here. Reducing serving sizes is visually easy to do as your plate looks different. Smaller serving sizes means the plate isn't piled high with food. Plus, your food bill is cut in half. It is a simple way to reduce calories and it can be combined with other plans.
Cons: This takes discipline and about three to six weeks to get used to buying less food, cooking less food and having less food on your plate and in your stomach.
Who should reduce serving sizes? Disciplined people.
Reducing nearly all the fats in your diet especially the saturated fats, which drastically cuts calories.
Pros: Since fats contain double the calories as do proteins or carbohydrates, fat reduction is an optimum way to lose weight. It's also made easier since The Center for Science in the Public Interest's head Michael Jacobson forced food manufacturers to put calories and fat labels (as well as nutrition facts) on nearly all foods so now you know how much fat is in each serving.
Cons: Not everyone has the discipline to read labels regarding fats, or know which fats to especially reduce (saturated fats) and many cannot adhere to fat reduction. Friends who aren't entirely on your weight-reduction side will tell you we need some fat in our diets, which is true. But we don't apparently need any saturated fat (in animals and a few plants). Plus, in a normal American diet, it is nearly impossible to not ingest some fat. In addition, nearly every food contains some fat including lettuce.
Who should do the Fat-Out Method? Educated people who understand excessive fat is a major cause of weight gain and will read labels.
No Carbs Diet:
Greatly reducing carbohydrates in the diet can help eliminate empty calories.
Pros: Many carbohydrate-rich foods such as cake, cookies, pasta, white bread, white rice, sugar, and white potatoes are often excess calories. Reducing or eliminating them will greatly assist in weight loss. Carbohydrates are necessary in all living things for the storage and transport of energy and they play a major role in the immune system.
Cons: Lots of cons here. Most people don't realize that eliminating all carbs isn't a good thing. Nearly all fruits and vegetables are rich in carbohydrates and you don't want to reduce those but to increase them. The trick is to know the difference and eat complex carbs instead of what some call "simple or white carbs" which digest quickly and turn to fat quickly.
Who should try the "No Carbs Diet"? People who are able to make dietary switches and understand the difference between complex carbs and simple carbs.
National Weight Loss Programs:
These include Jenny Graig, Weight Watchers etc., where you have a coach who checks you in and cares about your progress including giving you a specific diet plan.
Pros: Some staff members at these organizations are very good and for those who need a person to be interested in their weight losses (or gains), these organizations are terrific.
Cons: Some staff members aren't good, care little, embarrass you and these programs are expensive.
Who should try a national weight loss program? Disciplined people.
Professionally Assisted Weight-Loss.
These include weight-loss psychotherapy or food addiction counseling by a professional, group therapy geared specifically towards weight loss, personal coaches, nutritionists, even hypnotism, acupuncture, bracelets, ear spikes,
Pros: A psychiatrist ( a medical doctor) who specializes in diet and psychotherapy can often get to the bottom of why one overeats and can help. Groups promote camaraderie and a team approach; personal coaches that are encouraging can give a person the impetus to continue; some nutritionists are very savvy about food but many are not (hospital food??). Hypnotism has definitely helped some, as has acupuncture. I know little about bracelets or ear spikes but they are used.
Cons: Psychotherapy and counseling is expensive and time consuming, but for many it is worth it. Not all therapists are talented or well-trained so it may require trying out several before finding one that is right for you. If you aren't having results, go to another. One problem is that therapists say if you tell a client the truth about their weight, such as they've gained at some time during the treatment, they don't come back.
Meaning one exercise to burn calories. This is ideally cross-training including cardio, perhaps using a gym for weight training for osteoporosis or muscle strength, trainers, exercise programs that include many types of exercise. It can be done with friends or by ones self.
Pros: Exercise including weight training, yoga, tennis, golf, swimming and many other sports and types help raise your LDL (which you want) if it is vigorous several times a week. Exercise also increases brain function, improves balance, osteoporosis, improves cardio vascular functions and muscle tome.
Cons: Unless exercise is at first assisted by someone trained, one can be hurt. Some exclusive exercises such as tennis or weight-lifting can injure a person; some types of yoga do little for strengthening the body;
Eating a diet that is completely vegetarian means no animal products including cheese, ice cream, and milk (a Vegan). Most people going vegetarian eat a mostly vegetarian diet but with occasional servings of fish, shellfish and lean poultry.
Pros: Eating very few animals keeps your intake of cholesterol and saturated fats down which is probably better for your health. Only animal products contain cholesterol, which is in both the fat and the muscle and it is in equal amounts. Shellfish and fish contain cholesterol but little fat. It's hard to gain weight on a mostly vegetarian diet. Cholesterol and especially saturated fat are in butter but there are terrific low fat and good tasting margarines and there are fat-free toppings such as "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter." The new margarines such as Promise, Take Control, and Benecol contain neither trans fats nor hydrogenation.
Cons: Eating a diet that is primarily vegetables but loaded with cheese, cream sauce and butter or excessive stick margarine defeats the purpose, as does eating batter-fried fish and poultry. Some of the fat free sprays require more squirts than given to keep them fat free but they are a better alternative.
1. When dieting, expect to fall off the wagon. Just get back on. Look, diets are hard to change. You get credit for trying. Your food is part of your heritage, your habits and it is difficult to eat different things even when you are convinced it is better for you. 2. Deny yourself stupid stuff you eat too often but don't deny yourself food you really love. Just don't eat as much and not as often (often being a few times a month). Take your health seriously. When you lose it you may not get it back. 3. Weigh yourself often if that's what works for you. But get a scale that measures your weight to a quarter or half of a pound. You don't have to do it every day, but try and lose 1/4 pound a day which is pretty easy and makes you feel wonderful when you make even a tiny dip in the more complex scale because you know you're on the right track. 4. Do serious amounts of exercise several times a week. Have some planned workouts with a trainer, a class at the gym, tennis with friends, a pilates session or work out with friends. Everything you do exercise-wise is good even if it begins with only once a month. Brisk walking is terrific but light jogging for a block or two during the walk is even better. That amount of jogging even on pavement won't hurt your feet if you have even reasonably good shoes. Jogging often on pavement for distances such as five miles isn't advised. Find a school track for that. 5. Do little bits of exercise each day like purposely using the stairs, walking farther to the store, walking faster when you are just strolling. Five minutes here and there can add up. 6. For some, eating about five small meals a day works. For other, especially those whose stomachs can't handle breakfast, two meals a day will work just fine. 7. Skip a meal? Why not if you aren't particularly hungry? Maybe have a juice drink or iced or hot tea or coffee but you don't have to eat three squares every single day if you don't always feel like it. 8. Become motivated. Make yourself be motivated. Make the effort at least because it won't happen by itself (if only). One simple way to do that is to eat meals with people who are already dieting, are already slim, or already have an interest or some knowledge about good health and healthy eating. Eating with friends who are too heavy (or who smoke) can keep you heavy especially if they aren't sure they want you to lose weight and be different than they are.
"Help! The scale isn't budging even though I've been eating less for six months, walking five days a week and honest, I eat practically nothing. What am I doing wrong?"
Everyone on a diet hits a plateau but if you do the work which is eating less, you will lose the weight. You may also be sabotaging your hard work and not know it. Some people new to exercising subconsciously cut back on everyday calorie-burners such as riding the bike to the store for small purchases or taking the stairs because they feel it makes them more tired than usual. Take the stairs. It will tone your legs. Or like most, they underestimate how much they actually eat -- in one study, dietitians who should know were off by about 200 calories a day. We all want to and tend to underestimate how much we actually consume. To see how much you are walking, for the next month, wear a good pedometer to track your actual activity. Then keep a food diary to note calorie intake. Losing weight is serious business and your health is worth it.
Get Enough Sleep and Rest
Women who slept for five hours or less a night were 32 percent more likely to gain weight than those who slept a full seven hours. Rest is also important and helps keep the stress levels down. A complete rest for half an hour during the day helps gives you the energy to face the rest of the day with more vigor.
Figeters are usually thinner. Tapping your fingers, swinging your foot, crossing and uncrossing your legs, playing the piano on your desk, raising your arms up and down several times while sitting and standing or walking around while you talk on the phone could add up to 350 more calories burned a day. Also use heavy pots and pans in the kitchen. They burn more calories.
Reset Your Thermostat
You may burn more calories if your body is working harder to maintain its core temperature, that means keeping your house both hotter or cooler depending upon the outside temperature. Obesity researchers speculate that some of the population's weight gain may be due to the increased use of heating and air conditioning which sometimes makes people just want to sit around and veg.
Purchase snacks that are your friend. Forget the donuts and cookies and buy popcorn and diet soda. You will feel just as full and you have eaten a whole grain (popcorn) and a no-calorie drink. Or eat guacamole with chips, celery and green beans as dippers. Avocados are good for you and using veggie dips instead of only chips helps reduce calories. You are probably going to snack anyway so pick a healthy one. Remember: If you buy it, you will eat it and if you eat it you will wear it.
Banish Saturated Fats First
Although the spotlight is on trans fats and hydrogenation, the really important fat to banish is saturated fat, found primarily in meat, cheese, and butter. Ah, but you love butter. Fine, but it is not in your best interest health-wise. Lowering your sat fat intake is the best thing you can do for weight and heart and artery health.
Then Banish Trans Fats
In a five-year study, monkeys that ate a diet high in trans fat increased their weight by more than seven percent although based on their calorie consumption, they shouldn't have gained weight. Even milk has trans fats so switch to soy milk and to margarines without trans fats or hydrogenation. There are several available now. By not using milk products you will also lessen your intake of unnecessary hormones because lactating cows have milk filled with natural hormones as they are nursing their young with a product meant to put hundreds of pounds on a calf in a few months.