We've tried the quick-fix diet plans. We've tried low-fat, low-cal, low-carb -- with low satisfaction.
And why? The reason is very simple:
Take the Long-term Approach: Make it a Lifestyle Change
It's virtually impossible to lose weight and keep it off if you don't modify your lifestyle. Diets are a short-term solution to a long-term problem. That is why most dieters regain their lost weight within a year.Make eating the right foods a permanent part of your daily life. This is the solution to weight control. You can beat the bulge and live a happier, healthier life.
Turn inward for a moment. Can you make a long-term commitment to the style of clean eating? Are you willing to bypass the seductive offers of diets that claim to "melt the pounds off" in favor of a focus on good health and learning how to eat for health?
Take a few minutes to think it through. Then answer the following question: "How do I feel about making a lifestyle switch to this way of eating?" Be honest with yourself. Give the part of you that wants to eat only chocolate as much of a voice as the part that promises never to eat anything "bad" again. Recognize that each voice is an extreme that exists in all of us. Lasting change happens somewhere in the middle, and it does not happen overnight. It is a growth process in which new behaviors and values gradually replace old ones. Now go back to the question and answer it.
Understand what an optimal diet involves. Think about what it means to you to "live for health." Reflect on what "to live for health" might mean to your family... to your grandchildren. Study the follwing principles of weight loss until you know them well:
- Think long-term. Shortcuts and quickie plans never achieve true weight loss or improve health.
- Do it for yourself. Improving your health and energy are better motivations than an up-coming class reunion.
- Prepare the way. Don't rush into a diet before you are ready for long-term changes. Keeping a diet journal will help you become more aware of what you eat and why. Document your weight loss goals, and celebrate your successes—on paper!
- Think fruits, grains, legumes, and vegetables.
- Control portion sizes. Use a smaller plate. Serve yourself smaller portions and put away leftovers before you eat. One easy way to roughly measure out your protein serving size is to select a portion that is the size of the palm of your hand. Example, a chicken breast or piece of fish that is the size of your palm. Picture your hand without your fingers and thumb. It’s that easy. A good rule is to have a serving of carbs that is approximately the size of your fist with each meal. For example, a baked yam the size of your closed fist would be adequate for a meal.
- Eat at least three to six meals a day. Eating at regular intervals will not send your body into a deprivation (starvation) mode, which may cause you to eat and binge more.
- Maintain your weight loss program. Successful weight loss managers realize that they are not on a temporary diet—they are starting a permanent new lifestyle.
- Exercise. It's fun and keeps you flexible. Activity is the key to successful weight loss, particularly in middle age.
- Don't overdo it. Don't push your weight loss goals to the higher end of the target range. A brisk one-hour walk a day is a terrific goal for steady, healthy weight management
- When you think activity—think "play." "Walking the dog," gardening, yardwork, household chores, sports, bicycling, and playing with kids are all productive activities. How do kids exercise? They play! You can have fun too.
Start putting them into practice. The reward is worth every effort. It will truly be a good start into a healthier lifestyle.