Forget Crash Diets. They Don't Work.
Dieting can become a bad habit, and crash diets can be very harmful to your health. In addition, they are also very ineffective for long-term weight loss.
Generally people use diets during a temporary period in which they tend to lose X amount of pounds.
There's that high school reunion in 3 months or that beach trip in two weeks and you want to look fabulous in your swimsuit.
You start out losing some weight by starving yourself and depriving your body of the foods they need and really like to eat.
Then when you're somewhat satisfied and/or tired of not being able to eat your favorite foods, you go back to your old ways of eating and end up putting on more weight then you had before.
Months later, you're fed up with your body and try yet another diet to prepare for that next big event you want to look great for. The crash dieting begins again. It's a never ending cycle.
This is called the rebound effect and it's terrible for your body because it affects your metabolism for the long-term and you end up gaining weight even faster each time.
The bottom line is...
Diets don't work.
A New Way of Thinking
If you want to lose weight, let's drop the dieting. The word "diet" sounds too temporary and is often associated with so many fad or crash diet plans like South Beach, Atkins, etc. By the way, I don't endorse any of them.
How 'bout adopting a new phrase instead -- new eating habits. In other words, make permanent decisions to cut out certain foods and replace them with new ones.
Of course, you'll treat yourself from time to time with your favorite foods. You should never fully deprive yourself of everything. Besides, if you're eating healthy 80% of the time, the occasional ice cream cone won't kill you.
This is a permanent lifestyle change and eliminates the rebound effect where your weight goes up and down like a yo-yo.
Now you might ask...."But what if I want to lose the weight fast"?
If you lose the weight too fast that probably means you're starving yourself and/or not getting the necessary nutrition your body needs to be healthy. That's never good no matter how much weight you lose.
Plus, weight loss that happens too fast can severely screw up your metabolism and cause you to gain weight quicker than you did previously if you start eating the wrong foods again.
I get emails all the time about how can someone lose 30 pounds in 2 months. That's just not realistic, nor is it healthy. You have to give it time.
The key to a healthy, effective weight loss plan is one that consistently cuts out the saturated fats, involves exercise at least 3 days/week and increases the amount of protein and fiber you consume. And yes, it does take time.
You should also be eating more meals, more often because digestion actually helps boost your metabolism. (Be sure you're eating the RIGHT kinds of foods, though).
So ignore those fad diet plans that have you eating two meals a day or completely cutting out all carbs and fat.
Believe it or not, we do need some carbs and some fat in our bodies. The problem comes in when we have too much it. They aren't as bad for you if you consume them in moderation.
As I said before you can still eat the foods you love. Yes, I'm talking about ice cream, cookies, cakes etc. Again...moderation is the key.
If you completely deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy most, you'll get bored and run the risk of going back to your old eating habits.
Make Healthier Choices
Having new eating habits simply means making better food choices. It sounds much better than dieting, and it doesn't have to mean you're starving yourself.
Here are some ideas for changes you can make little by little. Remember, this is not a diet plan, it's a permanent lifestyle that you should stick to from now on while rewarding yourself with your favorite treat from time to time.
And here's the best part...you WILL lose weight! Accompany this new eating plan with exercise and you'll lose even more.
- Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread
- Drink skim or soy milk instead of whole milk. Soy milk is very heart healthy and has lots of protein.
- Eat brown rice instead of white rice
- Drink water instead of soda
- Eat turkey bacon instead of pork bacon
- Drink fruit juice with low/no sugar instead of sweetened juice
- Eat oatmeal instead of cereals high with sugar
- Eat baked potato chips instead of regular chips
- Eat popcorn (stove popped or hot air) instead of microwaved
- Need a light snack? Eat almonds instead of potato chips. If you have to eat potato chips, choose the lower fat brands and eat fewer of them
- Eat whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta
- When you buy meats, choose the leaner varieties
- When you go to a fast food restaurant, order grilled chicken or a salad. Many fast food restaruants offer salads and healthier choices now.
- Pick one day a week where you can eat whatever you want! (This is very important and helps prevent burnout.) Just be sure to not overdo it. ;)
Notice I'm not suggesting you starve yourself. You're just making healthier choices with the current foods you eat.
Also, grab a copy of the Abs Diet Book. It gives terrific advice on the kinds of foods you should and should not be eating for a flatter stomach and a fabulous figure. It also includes numerous meal ideas and healthy desserts.
Another alternative is to sign up for a meal delivery service. DietToGo will deliver healthy, fresh meals right to your home.
You may find that when your meals are already selected and prepared for you, you will be less likely to make poor food choices.
What About Calories?
Now you might be wondering about counting calories.
Well if you make healthier food choices like the ones above you are going to naturally be cutting calories (and fat) because the alternate foods I suggested have fewer of them.
Also, when you're eating out at restaurants, eat half of the meal instead of trying to devour the whole thing. Save the rest for lunch or dinner the next day. Portion control is very important.
So when the pounds start to shed and someone asks you if you've been dieting? Tell them you're not on any diet plan, you've just developed better eating habits. :)
Keeping your weight under control is not about dieting or starting the latest crash diet craze whenever the pounds start to come back on. It's about changing your eating habits for life! Your body and your metabolism will reward you in the long-run.
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this...
Diets don't work!