Monday, July 23, 2007

Does Dieting Work?

So long as you think 'diet' until you reach your desired weight, you'll never keep the weight off. About 85% of people can lose weight on almost any diet but only about 15% or people have kept it off after 2 years and only 1-2% after 10 years.

You need to change your mindset to 'new way of eating' and view this as a lifelong commitment. That way, once you reach your new weight or clothes size you'll stay there as you won't be tempted to think that you can now 'go off that diet'.

Your new way of eating must include 3 meals per day, contain adequate calories for your body to function and stay healthy and it must also contain a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Carbohydrates usually fill you up quickly whereas proteins will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Perhaps the easiest way to start your new
way of eating is to look at what you currently eat then cut out all unhealthy fats - this is the fat you find on your meat and what you cook your meals in. Some fats are good for you, in moderation.

Next, look at your portion size and plan to cut it by 20%. You should aim for 200g of meat, chicken or fish per meal. Most salads are 'free foods' that you can eat as much of when peckish. Plan that your plate will contain 1/4 meat/fish/chicken, 1/4 pasta/rice/legume and 1/2 salads or 'free' foods.

At first you might feel hungry when eating these smaller portions, but you can bulk up on very low calorie items such as corn, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, zuchinni etc. There are many 'calorie counter' books available to help you choose. Keep away from the breads as much as possible or eat a multigrain bread which is low gi and will keep you feeling fuller longer.

Exercise is very much part of any weight loss program. It is not necessary to join an expensive gym - walking to the bus stop, train station or work is excellent (if it is feasible). I live 12km from my nearest town so walking to work is not an option for me but I can walk to the local park for lunch and walk to the shops for small items such as bread and milk and tinned goods. Walking back carrying these items helps exercise my arms. Start gently with your exercise if you aren't used to it.

Speak to your doctor first if you have any health concerns. He is the person best suited to advise you.

Remember, that extra weight didn't arrive in one day or even one month. It will take time to lose it but you will be successful if you follow a plan such as the one below.

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