"Want to Lose 5 pounds in a week" or "I lost 4 inches in 2 days"; I know we have all heard the sounds too good to be true claims on TV and on the radio but what about that diet that helped my friend lose 10 pounds or even better the diet that completely changed my daughter’s life, she lost 100 pounds and is now healthier than I have ever been in my life.
I get questions all the time about the next "miracle diet" or "fad diet" and whether or not I believe they are going to help them lose weight. Allow me to start this out by saying that just about any "diet" that you try will help you lose weight or inches in the short term. The real question to me is how will this "diet" affect your long term health and how can I help my patients to lose weight correctly and keep it off.
Unfortunately the truth is that there is no short term fix to the diabetes and obesity epidemic that our country is facing and there is no short term easy way to lose weight and keep it off. Under most of the miracle diets that you hear about, you are asked to cut something or even sometimes everything out of your diet and only eat Kale salads or something similar (I will say Kale is good every once and a while but the thought of only eating Kale salads scares me right to the counter at Dicks to pick up a burger). The reason this works in the short term is that this shock to your system causes your body to try and find the nutrients it needs from your stores and then after one to two weeks your body is able to adapt to the new regime and you start storing again.
Thankfully there are some things that you can do right now to start on the process to losing weight. The first step in any weight loss plan is to set a reasonable goal. What I suggest for my patients is to try and shoot for 1-2 pounds per week and stay consistent in anything that you do.
The next step is to learn correct portions. Unfortunately here in the US we think that a 24 oz steak is one portion of steak because it comes in one piece on my plate. Truth is that steak is four portions and if you are eating like this every night for dinner, no wonder you are following all the guidelines but never seem to lose any weight. My suggestion for this problem is twofold, when you are eating at home quit using that hubcap sized dinner plate that we use in the US and instead use a smaller salad plate for your meals. This doesn't seem like much because I can always just have seconds and thirds but at least if you have a smaller plate you are more aware that you are having a second helping and not just one serving. The second step is that when you go out to eat, go ahead and splurge every once and a while! If you give yourself that leeway but you know that it is a special treat and not the norm, you will be more likely to stay on track.
The third step to any weight loss plan is to increase your exercising. This does not have to mean that you are joining a gym and getting a personal trainer (Although the best results are found with a personal trainer because you have a lot more of a commitment and you have someone to hold you accountable if you don't want to get up in the morning). My first step for all of my patients is to suggest 10 to 15 minutes walks every night or at lunch to get the blood flowing and then you can increase the length of your walks as you go. The correct pace to walk at is where you can talk with someone else, so you don't have to speed walk to the point that you are winded but you don't want to stroll and just shoot the breeze as you walk either, right at the midpoint of those is best.
Finally let me say that any weight loss plan that you go on should be fun and enjoyable, not a stressor. Take this chance to slowly change things about your lifestyle and learn new things along the way. Take chances and try out new food, new activities that get you active and try out new restaurants that serve locally sourced foods.
Be sure to check back later for blog posts on grocery shopping for a healthy life and home cooking with our busy lives.