Friday, December 30, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Weight Loss Resolutions

This past fall, I was sitting in lecture, in one of my RD Classes, when this girl next to me whispers: "Hey, hey, hey, what do you do? Diet-wise, what do you do?"

Before I even made sense of her whisper, she started at me, again: "I am thinking of doing that Paleo-Diet. Did you ever hear of that? Yeah, I'm thinking of doing that. Yeah, either that or the Engine2Diet."

I thought to myself, "Wait, aren't these diets total opposites? Girl, what you really need to do is lose that double espresso." The poor thing was fidgeting, blinking, twitching. Holy crap, my heart was beating fast just looking at her!
She was lost. Like so many people out there, she just wants a quick fix, a magic answer to lose weight and get "in shape."


So, on the eve of "Resolution Day", it makes sense to review some general guidelines that should be considered before committing to a program. Too many people follow crazy diets that, in two weeks time, compromises their BMI and leaves them hungry, desperate and susceptible to loss of bone and muscle mass, gallstone and kidney stone formation and weight gain at a faster rate than ever before.

Before starting a weight loss plan, ask yourself 5 Questions:
  1. Does it promote a healthy dietary pattern that you can follow for life?
  2. Does it promote a reasonable amount of weight loss?
  3. Does it promote physical activity?
  4. Does it promote a change in behavior?
  5. Is it scientifically sound?

"It's the best diet in the whole world!
I simply eat as much or as little air as I want!"
1. Does it promote a healthy dietary pattern that you can follow for life?
  • First and foremost, does the diet meet your nutrient needs? How about your health needs? Does it address problems you may have, like high cholesterol, blood pressure or anemia?
  • Is there enough variety, so you won't get bored? 
  • Do you like the food in that particular diet? Is it going to be easy to buy? Does it address any allergies you may have?
  • Does it require costly foods and supplements?

"They tell me I can lose twenty to twenty-five pounds in just four weeks!"
2. Does it promote a reasonable amount of weight loss?
  • Does the diet provide enough calories (not less than 1200 calories per day)?
  • Are realistic weight-loss goals established: 0.5 to 2 pounds per week?

"I hate exercising. I can lose weight without exercising."
3. Does it promote physical activity?
  • Does it include physical activity? Re: The ACSM recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week for health. This does not include ADL (activities for daily living) like walking up the stairs to your office or classroom, walking to the train station, dusting, vacuuming or gardening.
  • Why exercise? So you maintain your BMI
  • The ACSM is a wonderful resource and their brochures and fact sheets can provide ideas to help you develop an exercise plan that can work for you.

"Oh yeah, I am totally vegan all week long, 
so I can PARTAY LIKE MAD on the weekends!"
4. Does it promote a change in behavior?
  • Does the diet help you learn healthy eating habits?
  • Does the plan promote positive changes in behavior that can be maintained?
  • Do you have the social support you need? NOTE: People that care about you do not sabotage your goals, they are supportive of your goals. 

"Well, yeah, I know I'm eating a whole bunch of red meat and high calorie foods, 
but they say our bodies need fat & cholesterol!"
5. Is it scientifically sound?
  • Does the plan make sense, scientifically?
  • Did you get the plan from a credible and reliable resource such as health professional? 
The best diet resolution is the one that works for you: 
Every hour of every day of every year!

Some Basic Half-Crazed Suggestions:
Minimize Processed Foods
Cook Your Own Food
Beware of the Great American: Portion Distortion
Balance, Balance, Balance


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