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Weight Loss Diets: How To Make Them Work

Do conventional diets help us to reduce weight? Does the food composition of weight loss diets matter? How important is support when losing weight? Linda Smith, an experienced dietitian and nutritional consultant outlines the issues and provides answers.

diets, weight loss, support to lose weight, obesity, calorie control

As we all know, weight loss diets are big business. And looking at the statistics, it's easy to see why. Currently, an estimated 58 million American adults are overweight (BMI 25+), of whom an estimated 40 million are obese (BMI 30+), 9.6 million are seriously obese and 6 million suffer from super-obesity (BMI 40+). Worldwide statistics on overweight are equally alarming, as reflected in the new word "globesity". In China, the number of overweight people has risen from less than 10 percent to 15 percent in just three years. In Brazil and Colombia, the figure of overweight is about 40 percent - comparable with several European countries. Even sub-Saharan Africa is seeing an increase in obesity, especially among urban women. In all regions, obesity appears to escalate as income increases. And the higher the incidence of obesity, the higher the incidence of weight-related disease, including: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, and cancers of the breast and colon.

<b>CONVENTIONAL DIET METHODS</b>

Both the US Surgeon General and the Dietary Guidelines For Americans (2005) issued by the US Dept of Agriculture emphasise the need for calorie control and increased physical exercise to reduce the overweight epidemic, but evidence suggests that conventional diet methods do not provide significant weight reduction, due to poor compliance. Surveys show that annual weight loss resulting from convention diet and exercise programs averages less than 8 pounds per annum, while in a 4-year follow-up study of programs incorporating the use of obesity drugs, behavior modification, diet and exercise, the final average weight loss was 3 pounds. This apparent failure of conventional weight loss methods is often contrasted with the 30-40 percent average weight loss following bariatric surgery.

<b>FOOD COMPOSITION OF DIETS</b>

Fashion sells products, and weight loss diets are no exception. First we had low-fat diets, which were promoted as heart-friendly ways of reducing weight. Unfortunately, this message was interpreted by consumers as "all fats are bad, all carbs are good", and led to an unhealthy overconsumption of refined carbs. With the relaunch of Dr Atkins "New Diet Revolution", the fashion penduluum swung the other way. Now carbs were the enemy, not fat.<br>
After Atkins came the South Beach Diet, which offered us a more moderate low-carb approach. Now, it is GI diets - based on foods with a lower glycemic response - that are high fashion and, being scientifically more beneficial, are likely to remain so for some time. However, while the food composition of diets may change, the basic law of weight loss remains unaltered: calorie expenditure must exceed calorie intake. To this extent, provided a diet is calorie-controlled and includes foods from all food groups, the exact composition of foods remains no more than a matter of personal taste.

<b>GENERAL EATING AND EXERCISE HABITS</b>

When assessing the effectiveness of conventional dieting methods, due regard must be paid to general eating habits. In America at least, these do not appear to be helpful. Despite the mounting evidence of weight-related ill-health, social eating habits continue to develop in unhealthy directions. Value-for-money "supersizing" continues to attract customers, while fast-food sales continue to rise. And the continuing demand for "instant" food only inspires the food industry to produce more and more refined food options bulging with nutritional deficiency and calorie-overload. Is it any wonder that levels of diet-compliance among average dieters is so low? Meantime, an estimated 78 percent of Americans do not meet basic activity level recommendations, while 25 percent are completely sedentary.

<b>IS SUPPORT THE ANSWER?</b>

If conventional diet programs remain less than perfect ways of tackling overweight in the face of engrained eating habits, it would be misleading to write them off completely. Not only does research data from the US National Weight Control Registry demonstrate that long term weight reduction is perfectly achievable, a number of diet programs, especially medically-supervised clinic-based programs, are consistently effective. What distinguishes these diets is the level of counseling support which subjects receive. Nowadays, this support can be provided in various ways, including: mandatory group meetings, one-on-one sessions, online forums or chat-rooms. And it seems to work. For example, according to recent studies, the average weight reduction for a 10-12 week clinic-based obesity program involving meal-replacement diets, exercise and counseling support is 5.5 pounds.<br>

<b>FINDING MORE SUPPORT</b>

If getting proper support is one way of improving conventional diets, dieters need to rethink their approach. Instead of focusing attention on finding the optimal eating-plan, they need to look for programs offering optimal support. Weight Watchers is an obvious choice but diets organised around the workplace or other social groupings may also provide natural help. Online programs with forum support might also be considered. In any event, there is no substitute for a reliable dieting partner.

<b>ADOPTING HEALTHY HABITS</b>

Given the fact that losing as little as 7-10 percent of body weight can improve many of the problems linked to being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, some obesity experts advocate a less formal approach to calorie control. They recommend adopting certain healthy habits rather than following a specific diet. An example might be a 200-calorie-a-day reduction achievable by taking a moderate 30 minute walk, and switching from (say) whole milk to skimmed milk. This saves 73,000 calories a year - the equivalent of 20 pounds of body fat. The commercial response to this approach is already visible in programs such as the "Three Hour Diet", which recommends regular eating to maintain a regular rate of calorie burning. Expect to see more weight loss programs like this, which emphasise specific habits.

<b>CONCLUSION</b>

Current levels of overweight and obesity require urgent attention. To be effective, conventional diet programs need to provide optimal support rather than optimal food composition, in order to facilitate diet compliance. For people who are unable or unwilling to follow a specific weight loss plan, making small but specific changes may be sufficient to achieve significant improvements in health.

 

Weight Loss Products: How to Spot a Scam

Are you looking to lose weight? If you are, there is a good chance that you will start your own weight loss program. When many individuals start their own weight loss programs, they do so with the help of a number of weight loss products, like diet pills or exercise equipment. If you are interested in buying these types of weight loss products, you need to always be on the lookout of scams, as they do exist.

When it comes to weight loss products, like exercise equipment and diet pills, many people automatically wonder how they can tell if they are being scammed. Unfortunately, you often cannot tell by reading an advertisement in a magazine or online or by watching a television infomercial or even by looking at the weight loss product in question. The best way to determine if the weight loss product you are interested in buying is really worth your money is to do research first.

When it comes to researching weight loss products, there are a number of different ways that you can go about determining if the product or products you want to buy are worth the cost. One of the easiest ways to go about doing so is by visiting the online websites of retailers that allow their customers or the general public to rate or review their products. Many consumers like to alert others to a product that is a waste of money or even alert others to a product that is well worth the cost. If you are able to find weight loss product reviews, you are advised to read them.

When reading weight loss product reviews, like product reviews for diet pills or exercise equipment, it is important to remember that no product is perfect. Even the best products, like the ones that come highly rated and recommended, will have a few bad reviews. What you need to be cautious of is any weight loss product that has more bad reviews than it does good reviews. This is a surefire sign that the weight loss product in question may not be worth your money.

You can also find product reviews or just specific weight loss products being discussed by performing a standard internet search. When performing a standard internet search, you will want your search phrase to be the name of the weight loss product in question. Your standard internet search may lead you to online message boards where weight loss and other health issues are being discussed. These types of websites and message boards are a great way to also learn about weight loss products that you may not have otherwise came across.

Another way that you can determine if you are being “scammed,” by a weight loss product, is by examining the online website of the product distributor or manufacturer. When you buy a diet pill or another weight loss supplement, you should be provided with as much information as possible. Be cautious of any product whose website only claims to help you lose weight, but doesn’t explain how it is done. The same can be said for exercise equipment.

Another great way that you can determine if the weight loss products you are interested in buying are worth the money is by speaking with your doctor. Often times, you don’t even have to schedule a visit; a telephone call should get you the answers that you were looking for. Most doctors can let you know if a weight loss pill or supplement that you are interested in buying is worth the money. If they can’t tell you about the specific product in question, there is a good chance that they can at least review the ingredients with you. For exercise equipment, your physician may also be able to provide you with advice.

Of course, if you have the money to spend on weight loss products, you may be interested in going ahead and buying the product or products in question anyways. That is fine to do, but you also need to remember that many weight loss products, especially the ones featured on television infomercials are priced relatively high.

 

How to Make Losing Weight A Little Easier

If you are serious about losing that extra weight there are a few things you can do that will help make your quest a little easier.

weight loss, diet, lose weight

Starting a weight loss diet is one of the easiest things a person can do. Staying with it, well, that’s another thing entirely. There are so many reasons that people just can’t seem to stay with their weight loss attempts.

If you are like most people, you probably have a pretty full schedule nearly every day with what seems like more things to do than hours in the day to get them done. Between work, school and things at home that need to be done, it’s no wonder that it can be so hard to find time to lose weight.

Most of the time you are probably eating haphazardly, eating whatever is fast, convenient and can be eaten on the go. Your average day never seems to give you the time to exercise. Well, if you are serious about losing that extra weight there are a few things you can do that will help make your quest a little easier. It will still take some effort on your part, but you can do it.

To start with, you need to have a plan. Weight loss is a long term goal, and while long term goals may be important, they often do not have a sense of urgency. It is too easy for less important things, but things that have to get done right now, to take over and put your long term goal on the back burner.

The way to remedy this is to break your long term goal down into a series of short term ones, then break these short term ones into things that find their way onto your daily “to do” list. Make a list of what you want to accomplish with your weight loss plan and be specific. Rather than saying “I would like to lose this extra weight”, say “I want to lose 20 pounds in the next six months”.

Now that you have a long term goal for yourself, you need a plan of action to make it a reality. This is where you now say “to do this, I want to lose 3-4 pounds each month”. Now that you’ve set yourself up with a series of short term goals, you need to say to yourself “I will lose one pound every week until I have lost 3-4 pounds this month”. Now keep in mind that it is not enough to simply have the goal. You need to remind yourself of it everyday, all day.

Put your goal of losing one pound each week on your refrigerator door, on your computer screen, your calendar or your day planner, and even on the dashboard of your car. This way your plan is always there with you everyday, all day to keep you reminded of just how important it is, where ever you go.

You probably won’t be able to make all of the changes you want to all at once. To be realistic about it, select one or two things like snacking or fast food to eliminate, and focus on those things. Write down what you want to do different, and make it part of your ‘things to do today” list. Each day as you do these things, mark it off as done for that day. By doing this, you can see that you really are achieving your goals and you will feel so good about yourself each day for making yourself stay committed to it.

If one day here and there you didn’t accomplish your daily goal, do not feel defeated and do not get down about it. What you need to do here is sit down and assess the situation to figure out why it didn’t happen that day. Perhaps you just need to plan your day a little better.

If you had planned to bring a low fat, healthy lunch with you but got rushed and did not have the time to make it, start making it the night before and keep it in the fridge, then all you have to do is grab it and go. Remember, you are only human and you will make mistakes, but the important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and move ahead rather than letting them defeat you.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on everything that you did that day, and to plan out your next day. The little bit of time you take each day to plan will make a major difference in your weight loss success.




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