There are a lot of tips and ticks that can help you along the way but with all the information out there it is so hard to decipher what is truth and what isn’t. Now, if you are looking into diets there are a few things you should watch out for…
1. Quick Weight Loss
Wouldn’t that be nice? But slow and steady wins the race really is true in this case (yes, I know that rhymed). Weight loss is more likely to last if it’s over time as opposed to rapid, dramatic weight changes. Healthy weight loss plans aim for a loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. Usually fast weight loss means you’re not losing fat, what your losing is water weight and often muscle too. Countless studies have shown you also will be more likely to regain the weight soon afterwards.
2. Quantities and Limitations
Don’t trust diets that allow “unlimited amounts” of any food like celery and grapefruit. Remember that moderation in all things line? It’s true too. Plus, it’s boring to eat the same thing over and over and hard to stick with monotonous plans. Also avoid diets that eliminate or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbs. We have all the food groups for a reason. They all provide different nutrients that our bodies need and even if you take a multivitamin, you’ll still miss some critical nutrients if you’re not including every food group.
Avoid diets that severely restrict calories as well. There are some diets out there that will tell you to only eat 500 calories a day. I’m sorry, what?? You’re body needs enough calories from food to give you energy and keep you alive . The recommendations are that 1200 calories is the absolute least amount of calories you should consume per day. Each person is different and your specific calories needed for weight loss and/or maintenance can be calculated by working with a dietitian or using sites such as ChooseMyPlate.gov to get an estimate of your personal needs.
3. Specific Food Combinations
Sorry, but there is no strong evidence to suggest that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day (like late at night) will help with weight loss. Eating late may not be the best idea for some because that is often when we tend to go overboard on the snacking of high calories and sugar/fat filled foods but it is not the time of day that is the problem it is the type of food we are eating. Similarly, eating the “wrong” combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines like some plans say they do.
4. Rigid Menus
Life is already complicated enough. Limiting food choices or following rigid meal plans can be an overwhelming and sometimes not very tasty. With any new diet, always ask yourself: “Could I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the plan is not for you. You need a plan that you would be able to stick with long term. That is why it’s important to allow yourself to indulge sometimes. No one can give up their favorite foods forever, and they shouldn’t have to! You can still be healthy and enjoy your favorite foods too.
5. “No Need to Exercise”
If a diet claims or even worse, warns that you don’t need to or shouldn’t exercise on the plan, RED FLAG! A healthy diet and exercise should go hand-in-hand. Regular physical activity is essential for good health for weight management. It’s important to find physical activities that you enjoy and to try to get 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week. If you hate running, don’t run. If you hate the stair stepper, step off. Find things you like doing but also push yourself. Get that heart rate up! One of my favorite ways to exercise is group classes, it forces me to stick it out for 60 minutes and it provides variety. If you go to a gym there are usually a pretty good variety of classes offered. Some of my favorites are combat, yoga, pump (weight lifting), zumba and attack (dancing/cardio/aerobics)
Information from this list based on and backed up by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
If you want to reach and maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and lose fat, the best approach is a lifelong combination of eating smarter and moving more. Seeing a certified nutrition professions (registered dietitian of course!) can help if you’re wanting to work on your goals and create a more personalized and specific plan tailored to your needs. They can help you come up with a realistic, flexible eating plan that helps you accomplish your goals and feel your best…had to put that plug-in for all my fellow RD’s out there.