Diets and crazy weight loss programs continue to grow in popularity and sales. The "Diet" industry made $55 billion in 2006 and it is estimated that it will rise to $68.7 billion in sales and services this year. Leading the way were Weight Watchers, Nurtrisystems, and LA Weight Loss. These programs are sought after by a growing (in numbers and girth) population (estimated to be 72 million "dieters"). They provide a way of limiting Calorie intake and have helped people lose weight.
Though, that is all it is. A way of limiting Calorie intake, to achieve weight loss in the short-term. It isn't always "healthy" or a lifestyle change. Research shows that the majority of "dieters" gain all the weight that they had lost,while dieting, back and more.
Sometimes, low-level exercise is recommended to assist in the weight loss or help maintain it. This approach, I feel, is flawed. I look at good nutrition as a way of improving the effectiveness of my training programs. I take a different and what I feel is a more-effective, healthier, and long-term strategy. I get people started training and slowly have them apply my Five Food Rules. These are simple, straight-forward, strategies that will help clients eliminate extra Calories, improve their nurient intake, and support their training. Long-term weight loss is all about behavior change. It doesn't work as a quick fix. In fact, I will have a client implement these rules over a two to six week period. I encourage them to follow these rules 90% of the time and to "break the rules" one out of ten meals.
Here are my Five Food Rules:
1. Remove sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages from your diet. We all know sugar is bad for you. It is just empty Calories that raises insulin levels, stimulates your appetite, and makes you crave more sweets. Artificially sweetened drinks are just as bad. While they may not have the Calories, they can still raise insulin levels, stimulate your appetite and sugar cravings.
2. Prioritize Protein. Every time you eat, whether it is a meal or a snack, get one or two (depending on your body size) servings of protein. You need adequate amino acid levels to grow and repair tissues. Higher-protein diets are associated with leaner body compositions. Also, protein digests slowly and makes you feel satiated and full for a long time.
3. Don't fear fat. Dietary fat has been given a bad rap over the last three decades. Early research tied fat to a number of diseases and weight gain. However, more current research has shown that fat isn't as bad as it has been made out to be, especially naturally occurring animal, nut, and marine fats. In fact, a variety of fats, including polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and even saturated fats play important biological roles in the body. Additionally, like protein, fat makes you feel full. Include some fat everytime you eat.
4. Eat one serving of vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts, or seeds each time you eat. They foods are full of nutrients and fiber.
5. Cut out processed grains and limit grains in general (wheat, corn, soy). Processed grains are metabolized like sugar in the body. Whole, unprocessed grains provide more nutrients and fiber, but are still nutritionally inferior to the other parts of the plant (such as leaves and fruits) and provide a more concentrated source of carbohydrates.