oday I stepped on the scale for the first time in months. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say it’s not pretty. So it’s back to the dieting drawing board for me.
A lot of people I know have tried every weight-loss program under the sun, from an all-cabbage diet to herbal pills designed to help you clear out your digestive tract. I’m certainly not a fad dieter or even someone who enjoys following a regimen, although I did belong to Weight Watchers with some success during the year before my wedding.
This time around, I’d like to see if I can just improve my overall eating habits and glean the best advice or methods from the various plans I’ve heard about, rather than trying to stick to one (possibly unrealistic) eating plan. Hopefully, being a little more realistic about what I’m capable of will help me simply adopt long-term healthy eating strategies that will be less of a diet and more of a way of life.
Harvard Medical School has this to say about weight loss: “Any diet that helps you take in fewer calories will help you shed pounds.”
Talk about stating the obvious! But then again, we all know that this is easier said than done. Harvard also performed a rather interesting study in which more than 300 dieting women were monitored for one year to determine the success of their eating plans. The women were either on: Atkins (low-carb, high-fat), The Zone (balanced proteins, carbs and fat), Dean Ornish (very low fat and very high carbs) or LEARN (low fat and moderately high carbs). According to the study, the women who were on Atkins lost the most weight in the first 6 months (an average of 14 pounds). After six months, most of the dieters regained some of their weight back, but the Atkins group still fared the best and ended the year 10 pounds lighter, which was two to three times more weight loss than the women on the other plans.
Experts are quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that the Atkins diet is best. Instead, the Harvard study report says, “Diet books that focus on individual nutrients may be good for short-term weight loss but don’t necessarily offer good advice for a lifetime.”
Here are some of the most effective weight-loss tips that I’ve amassed through my research, as well as through previous successful weight loss experiences.
- Stick to healthy fats and proteins. Even if you’re on a high-fat, low-carb plan like Atkins you should focus on getting your fat from sources like fish or olive oil instead of butter and bacon.
- Be savvy about portions. This is one of the focal points of the Weight Watchers program — you can eat just about anything, as long as you eat a proper portion. For instance, one serving of pasta is a 1/2 cup. Try dishing out a a 1/2 cup and see how close you come to the actual amount. It is a good way to accurately gauge how much you are really eating.
- Eat multiple small meals. Many nutritionists believe that eating four or five small meals a day is better for weight loss than eating three larger meals. This is especially true if you find yourself getting hungry because you are eating smaller portions or different foods on your diet. Having a healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack (and eating less at mealtime) will keep hunger at bay and re-energize you during work.
- Watch what you drink. When I’m not dieting, I don’t think twice about ordering a fancy coffee drink at Starbucks, having a second glass of wine (after all, it’s good for me, right?), or sipping a glass of orange juice. However, the hidden fat and calories add up. Making small changes, like drinking coffee with skim milk and no sugar or limiting alcohol consumption to one glass of wine on the weekends, can really help with weight loss.
What are some healthy weight-loss methods or ideas that have worked for you?