Healthy Strategies for Your Ideal Body
By Grace M. Navarro
Once the dust and cookie crumbs from the holidays were swept clean, many people made some resolutions regarding their health, planning to shed some weight and get into better shape. By now, some are still carrying on with their good intentions, while others got derailed and are looking to get back on track. For both cases, here is some information and encouragement.
You've got lots of company if you are presently dieting or preparing to start. At any point in time, there are nearly 60 million US residents on a weight loss program. Given a
population of around 300 million, one out of five of the people you meet today are likely to be in the midst of dieting, whether it's necessary for them or not. Data from previous years indicate that during the course of this year, at least half of the population will go on a diet, meaning that half of the people you meet today are probably going to try to lose weight some time in 2005. Since three out of four women think they need to lose weight, a greater number of those dieters will be female.
As you can see, the weight loss industry has an abundance of potential customers. Many companies and individuals are competing for a piece of that lucrative financial pie - and
while there are good products and good advice available, there is also the well-known fact that some diet products don't work, and some actually revent weight loss. Understanding a few nutritional principles would help many people avoid the mistake of starting a diet plan that is destined to fail. Oftentimes, it is the flawed diet plan that fails the dieter, not the other way around. According to numerous studies, the average dieter stands a 97% chance of regaining all the weight they struggled and suffered to lose, plus an extra pound or two. Therefore, the single most important thing to understand if you are contemplating a diet is this: research is conclusive - traditional dieting methods based on restricting calorie intake do not work. Period.
In a nutshell, here's why simply reducing calories will not ever work. Our bodies are programmed in miraculous ways
for survival, and the part of our brain that does the work
to keep us alive couldn't care less about fitting into a smaller sized pair of jeans. Faced with a radical reduction of food, the alarms go off and our bodies set to work:
conserving energy, creating more fat, slowing down metabolism, and engaging in a battery of survival mechanisms that keep us from starving. In the process of restricting calories, people inadvertently trigger these "starvation responses," which make weight loss very difficult and which guarantee that when the diet is over,
all the lost weight will be regained.
Why do we fall for diet programs that defy common sense? Partly because there is so much conflicting information,
and also because there is powerful marketing competing for
our purchases. Another reason for nonsensical dieting, in truth, is that we want to believe it can be quick, easy, and effective - promises that are made to us by many diet plans and products. However, good research and information is out there if you know where to look, and it shows that simplistic, unnatural concepts like low-calorie, no-fat, high-protein, and low-carb do not, by themselves, have staying power. They are fads, not lifetime ways to eat healthfully and pleasurably.
Well then, what does work? Eating the foods our bodies are designed to eat, in proper proportion and combination.
Combining the right foods for weight loss is not tricky, but it doesn't seem to be common knowledge either. There are, however, good books available on the subject of effective food combining. The most clearly written and workable book I've found so far is "Good Calorie Diet" by Dr. Phillip Lipetz. The book was written in 1994, but it is based on sound research. And besides, the principles
regarding what foods we should eat in what combinations are as old as humankind.
The concepts in the book are easy to understand. The basics boil down to a few principles. The main two I'll
give here so you can get started on the road to changing your eating habits for permanent and real weight loss. Eat whole food, not processed (that is, avoid foods that come in a package, can, or box). Avoid combining animal protein
with starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice) or fruit. This is aligned with the way our ancestors ate, and it makes sense to eat according to the diet humans have thrived upon for millennia.
Grace M. Navarro is a frequent contributor to EZ eDiet Newsletter
the best on-line diet information resource. Grace's archive of articles is found at http://www.ezediets.com/