Strategies For Finding A Successful Diet

Dieting Do’s and Don’ts

Everywhere you turn these days, from celebrity books and blogs to gossip magazines and websites, it seems everyone thinks they have the secret formula for weight loss.  Unfortunately, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is and many of these diets are not based on sound science and may be ineffective or even harmful to your health. If you are trying to lose weight and want to do so healthfully and keep it off, the best approach is to avoid short-term dieting and opt for long-term lifestyle changes.  To help you achieve both weight loss and better health, follow these dieting dos and don’ts:

-Don’t think of a diet as something you are either “on” or “off”. Rather than adopting an unrealistic and restrictive diet that is impossible to maintain, find a healthy eating plan that you can maintain long-term. 

-Do seek diet and nutrition advice from reputable sources- The internet allows us to access a wealth of information at our fingertips but it is important to use caution when seeking health/diet related information on the web. To ensure the information that you find is accurate and based on sound science, visit sites that are hosted by reputable sources such as the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org) or the USDA’s MyPlate site (www.choosemyplate.gov).

-Don’t adopt a diet that requires you to avoid entire food groups. The five good groups, which include fruits, vegetables, proteins (lean meats, beans, etc.), grains and dairy, each provide unique and important nutrients that contribute to health. Excluding one of these groups could result in nutrient deficiencies.

-Do make sure to incorporate exercise into any weight loss program. Physical activity is essential for health and maintaining a healthy weight. Try to be active every day and find activities that you enjoy so that you will stick with it.

-Don’t be fooled by diets that promise quick fixes. Although dropping dress sizes in days can seem appealing, gradual weight loss (1/2 – 1 pound/week) is more likely to stay off long-term. In addition, weight that comes off too quickly may be water or muscle rather than fat.

-Do be wise about portion size. In addition to what you eat, pay close attention to how much. Read food labels and cut down on eating out and drive-thru windows, where portion sizes tend to be much larger. Also avoid eating snacks directly from the bag or when you are distracted as you may end up eating more than you intended.

-Don’t skip meals. You may think you can save calories by skipping a meal here or there but this is likely to result in overeating later on in the day. The best plan for health and weight management is to provide your body with healthy fuel every few hours and avoid going for long periods of time without food.

-Do think twice before beginning a weight loss programs that requires you to buy special foods, pills or supplements. In addition to being expensive, the ingredients found in some of these products may be harmful to your health. Finding a healthy eating plan that promotes real food and physical activity is the best strategy for health and long term weight loss.  Always consult with your doctor before starting any weight loss program.

For a delicious low-calorie and low-fat meal, try this recipe for Chicken Fried Rice.

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