Steering clear of fad dieting: part 2

As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, a fad diet is any trendy diet that promises fast and easy weight loss, like baby food diets, alkaline diets, Paleolithic diets, gluten-free diets, cleanses and fasts, etc. They're tempting, and the advertisements for the fad diets lure you in with grandiose claims of weight loss.

Just imagine, no need to worry about counting calories or exercising, just follow the rules and the extra pounds fall right off. They don't work, so don't fall for the fad diet hype. Fad diets are bad because they don't address the problems that caused you to gain weight in the first place.

Fat Burners

Don't fall for the claims of extreme weight-loss "fat-burner" supplements. Take your eyes off the svelte woman who just lost 30 pounds in a few weeks, and look down at the bottom of the fad diet hype ad. You will see a disclaimer in tiny letters, "weight-loss not typical, your results may vary." That means most people don't lose much weight.

Best Practices

Start by getting the word "diet" out of your brain. You want to make a lifestyle change that will allow you to maintain a healthy weight by eating nutrient-dense foods from all of the food groups in the amounts that are right for your body. That being said, you don't need to completely eliminate anything - even an occasional treat is okay.

Slow down and give yourself enough time to really change the way you eat. You didn't gain 30 pounds in one month so don't expect to lose it all so quickly. Fad diet hype will have you believing this is possible. Determine how many calories you need each day to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Keep track of everything you eat and drink with a food diary for a few months until eating healthful foods becomes a way of life.

Allow room for small treats. Most of us get sugar cravings that aren't good for us but taste yummy and the longer you fight a craving the worse it gets until you finally bury your face right in a bag of greasy potato chips.

Eating should be pleasurable as well as nutritious, so go ahead and indulge a little. The United States Department of Agriculture's old food pyramid and new allows you to have about 100 discretionary calories every day so you can enjoy a cup of soda, a handful of chips, half a candy bar, or a small cookie. The key is not to let the cup of soda turn into a 64-ounce super-sized soft drink every day.

Healthy Diet Tips:

  • Pay extra attention to eating fruits and vegetables, they are the key to good health.
  • Choose whole grains instead of processed white bread and cereals.
  • Enjoy lean meats, poultry, and fish, but watch your portion sizes.
  • Get enough calcium with low-fat dairy products, supplements or calcium-fortified foods.
  • Cook with heart-healthy canola and olive oils.
  • Don't skip breakfast, people who eat breakfast tend to stay at a healthy weight.
  • Start your dinner with a soup or eat a salad as your dinner.
  • Keep a food diary for a few months until choosing nutritious foods becomes a habit.
  • Don't forget about exercise; physical activity burns calories and builds muscle.

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