John McGran, chief editor for Diet-to-Go, has been covering the fields of diet, fitness and health since 2000. He writes from the perspective of a dieter rather than a dietitian.
In my 11 years of working for top diet companies, I have interviewed dozens of experts and have come away with a list of the four main truths that all dieters need to know before diving head-over-rolls into a new weight-loss program.
Diet Truth #1: A Diet Isn’t Something You Go On and Off
By one estimate, up to 95 percent of dieters will regain the weight they lose. And, in some cases, the dieter will yo-yo to a heavier weight than what they were when they started the diet. For a diet to be effective, it has to involve a lifestyle change – one that you can stick with.
A diet is not something you go on, then go off after you’ve dropped a few pounds. The definition of diet is simply “the usual food and drink of a person or animal.” So to lose weight and keep it off you need to consume food and drink that promotes health, not deprivation.
Low carb may work well for you, but what happens when you start to eat bread, rolls and pasta again? Too often a return to your regular diet leads to weight regain. Pick a dining lifestyle you can see yourself still following and enjoying when you are 80.
Diet Truth #2: You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise BUT…
I’ve been dieting on and off for the past 30 years. The best results I have enjoyed are when I use the one-two punch of diet and fitness to slim down and tone up. Yes, you can lose weight with diet only. No, you can’t lose weight by working out but eating poorly. But you will lose weight more effectively if you combine a healthy diet with regular exercise.
Exercise boosts your ability to burn fat. Studies show that the muscle you build through fitness will continue to burn calories even after you’ve stopped working out!
Diet Truth #3: It’s All About the Calories
Low-fat… low-carb… vegetarian… flexitarian… The list of diets goes on and on. But recent studies have proved that it really doesn’t matter what type of diet you follow. Pick the one that appeals most to you – the one you can stick with for life – because the bottom line is all about reducing calories and burning more calories than you consume!
Yes folks, that is the simple secret to effective weight loss: Eating fewer calories than you burn. An effective weight maintenance plan then is eating the same number of calories that you burn through normal body functions and exercise.
Diet Truth #4: Slip is Gonna Happen
Trying to remain perfect while following a diet is setting yourself up for failure. You didn’t gain your extra weight overnight and you aren’t going to lose it quickly either. There will be slips on your way to a healthier weight.
Rather than throw in the napkin and quit when a binge happens, pick yourself up, dust off the crumbs and climb back on the dieting wagon. You’re in this for the long haul. Being “good” and following a healthy lifestyle the majority of the time should be your goal.
There will always be temptation, so learn to give yourself a few guilt-free passes for those occasions you eat more than you should.