Lifestyle Diets

By Renee Feldman

It's become increasing clear that diets don't work. Most of the popular diets that people have tried over the past few years focused on restricting or even eliminating whole food groups. People lost weight on these diets and then, of course gained the weight back. Now there is a small and hopefully growing trend towards lifestyle diets.

Lifestyle diets focus on how one lives and then proposes easy to implement changes to help people to lose and most importantly keep weight off. This is very important because yo-yo dieting is dangerous and may cause some serious health threats. A study done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center by Dr. Ulrich found that the women who yo-yo dieted the most had a lower number of natural killer cells. These killer cells are the cells in your immune system that aim at viruses.

The statement above does not mean that people should not try to lose weight. Obesity contributes to many disease states and is being considered as a separate risk factor when health care professionals evaluate heart disease risk. What this does mean is that people need to lose weight by making small changes that fit into their lives. Here are some principles that people can follow to make small changes in order to achieve permanent weight loss:

Plan Ahead
Portion Control
Fill Up With Fiber
Take 3 Deep Breaths And Drink Water
Balance Your Choice

Plan Ahead: Eating mindlessly with no plan is like driving to a new destination with no directions. You need to have a plan for eating at home, work and while traveling or eating out. Fill your refrigerator with fresh cut vegetables and fruits so that they're easy to get to. If you have to keep high fat and sugar foods in your home, put them somewhere where it's difficult for you to get to and stay away from that food. Better yet, don't have it in your home in the first place. Buy pre-cooked lean protein, low fat high fiber cereals or low sodium, low fat frozen dinners so that there is always healthy food around.

Portion Control: This is one of the most important areas of any lifestyle diet. Some people refuse to eat "rabbit food" and have lives that socially revolve around food that isn't good for weight loss. These people will do best by significantly reducing their portions. Start by leaving a third of what you normally eat on your plate.

Fill Up With Fiber: Fiber is an essential part of weight loss because it makes you feel full and helps you with elimination. When purchasing cereals, check the label for a fiber number of over 5 grams. This will be under the carbohydrate section. You can also get lots of great fiber from fruits and vegetables.

Take 3 Deep Breaths and Drink Water: When you are about to binge and are eating out of emotion as opposed to hunger try this: stop and take 3 long and slow deep breath, exhaling as slowly as possible. Then drink a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes before you go for that binge. You just may skip it.

Balance Your Choice: This step has a small learning curve, but try to have a bit of a protein and a carbohydrate with every meal. This will help to control your blood sugar levels and insure more adequate nutrition.

Cheat: Everyone needs a break and if you stop eating all the foods that you enjoy, you will resent your eating habits and binge. Therefore, plan one day per week, it could be a special event where you allow yourself some of your favorite foods. Try to still be aware of portions when you do this.

Renee Feldman MA is an Exercise Physiologist and instructor certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. She is one of the first personal trainers in the United States, a champion competitive bodybuilder and dancer. Her new weight loss program: "Eat to Cheat" was the inspiration for this article.

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