Fad Diets for Weight Loss Have Long History

Fad Diets for Weight Loss Have a Long History

THE HISTORY OF FAD DIETS REVEALS THE STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT IS NOT NEW

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

As a registered dietitian I have spent as much time battling wacky weight loss diets as my clients have spent trying to lose weight. Sure, it would be great if you could “lose weight while you sleep” as one fad diet promised, but that’s just not possible. It’s just another empty promise that can do more harm than good in the end.

How can you tell if a fad diet is bad for you? Any diet that puts your health in jeopardy for the sake of losing weight is not good. And sometimes you can tell just by the name!

In honor of National Nutrition Month this March, I’d like to expose some of the fad diets from the past so you won’t be as likely to fall for them in the future. It’s a perfect fit with this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month, Get Your Plate in Shape. The theme combines the equally important messages to balance your food choices and be physically active to get your plate – and your body – into good shape.

Questions about how to get in shape have been around for as long as there have been scales and mirrors! Unfortunately, many of the answers have come in the form of fad diets and wacky weight loss gimmicks. See how many you recognize from this Fad Diet Timeline adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that spans over 200 years, and use it as a reminder that while fad diets may come and go, good nutrition is here to stay.

Fad Diet Timeline

1820 Vinegar & Water Diet, requires mixing apple cider vinegar and water to cleanse the body

1903 “Fletcherizing,” promoted by Horace Fletcher, requires chewing food 32 times

1925 Cigarette Diet, recommends that you “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”

1928 Inuit Meat-and-Fat Diet, includes caribou, raw fish and whale blubber

1930 Hay Diet, does not allow carbohydrates and proteins to be eaten in the same meal

1950 Grapefruit Diet, is based on the belief grapefruit juice can melt fat

1964 Drinking Man’s Diet, is made up of alcoholic drinks and meat

1976 Sleeping Beauty Diet, individuals are heavily sedated for several days, so can’t eat

1981 Beverly Hills Diet, allows only fruit, in unlimited amounts, for the first 10 days

1986 Rotation Diet, rotates the number of calories taken in from week to week

1987 Scarsdale Diet, is low in carbohydrates and calories

1994 First version of the Atkin’s Diet, a high protein, very low carbohydrate plan

1995 Sugar Busters, eliminates sugar and refined carbohydrates

1996 Eat Right for Your Type, is based on eating foods matched to your blood type

2000 Raw Foods Diet, focuses on eating just uncooked, unprocessed, organic foods

2004 Coconut Diet, replaces most animal fats and vegetable oil with coconut oil

2011 Baby Food Diet, starts with 14 jars of baby food a day and an optional adult dinner

How many did you recognize?

Calories, nutrients in food, physical activity and more can all be tracked using new online tool

Keeping Track of Food, Calories & Fitness Just Got Easier!

CALORIES, NUTRIENTS IN FOOD, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MORE CAN ALL BE TRACKED USING NEW ONLINE TOOL

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Have you been eating more fruits and vegetables? If so you can credit the USDA and its private sector partners for getting out the message to “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” That campaign began in September 2011 following the release of the ChooseMyPlate icon, designed to help reshape the nations eating habits.

Now it’s time to take it up a notch.

From January through April 2012 the key message is “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” I love the message because it reinforces the fact that eating is meant to be enjoyed – not something we hear too often from a government program!

The best part about this new campaign is that it comes with a great line up of online tools to help you plan and keep track of your food, fitness and health. It’s called SuperTracker and includes:

Food-A-Pedia – Includes over 8000 foods you can look up to see their nutrient content and make comparisons to other foods

Food Tracker – Lets you enter the foods you eat each day to track your intake and compare it to your nutrition goals

Physical Activity Tracker – Lets you enter your daily activities and tracks your progress

My Weight Manager – Get weight management guidance by entering of your weight and tracking your progress

My Top 5 Goals – Select your personal health goals then sign in for tips and support from a virtual coach

My Reports – Get reports to see progress towards goals and trends over time

All you have to do is login and create a personal profile to take advantage of all these valuable tools and resources. I can’t think of a better way to learn how to “enjoy your food, but eat less.”

There is No Need to Diet! Try This Alternative Instead

If Diet Means Don’t Eat to You, Don’t Diet!

REPLACE NEGATIVE DIET MENTALITY WITH POSITIVE APPROACH TO EATING

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read it here.

Diets just won’t go away. A perennial new year’s resolution, a guaranteed way to make money and a perpetual source of hope – dieting will remain a constant in our continually changing world as long as diet means don’t eat.

The only alternative is to eat! That’s right, if you don’t like the way it feels to be on a diet and want a way to abandon all diet plans and the diet foods that go with them forever, you must decide to eat instead.

Sound too good to be true? Let me explain.

Eating is about choosing foods that nourish your body. If done properly you can prevent most chronic diseases. And if you can prevent heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and many forms of cancer you won’t need special diets to treat them later in life.

Conversely, if you don’t eat to nourish yourself throughout your life you will need to go on a diet at some point to fix the damage. That’s when diets are prescribed to reduce fat, sodium and sugar and control calories, serving sizes and snacks.

The end result may be the same at this point – whether eating or dieting – but the attitude is not. Eating gives you the freedom to choose what you eat. Dieting gives you the rules about what you cannot eat. Even if you follow the same rules, by choosing them you defeat the need for a diet.

Why not begin eating today to nourish yourself and abandon diets forever? No matter what your weight or medical condition, it is simply a change of attitude. But that change in attitude may help you succeed where all diets have failed.

Use these simple eating tips for form good eating habits in the New Year

Eating Tips for Good Health and Weight Loss in the New Year

USE THESE SIMPLE EATING TIPS FOR FORM GOOD EATING HABITS IN THE NEW YEAR

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read it here.

Anyone old enough to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve will probably make a resolution to drop a few pounds in the coming year. It’s one of the top resolutions made in the first minute of the first day of every new year. If it’s on your list, I have a few eating tips that can help you reach your health and weight loss goals in 2013.

The key is forming good eating habits so the preferred behavior happens automatically. A habit is a habit whether good or bad, so swapping out your old way of eating for something new, and better, solves the problem for good.

The biggest challenge is interrupting the status quo. It’s like switching off the cruise control in the car when we’re driving on a highway. Once we do, we’ve got to think about maintaining the speed limit again. The same is true when we‘re making food decisions. It’s not that we dislike every brand of high fiber cereal on the shelf; we just keep selecting the same low fiber one over and over again because that’s what we’ve always done.

But that does not mean you should skip the resolutions when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. If you’re really willing to leave the old year behind, let this be the year you ring in good health and weight loss for the very last time.

Top 10 Eating Tips For 2013

  1. Pick a start date that works for you. There’s nothing magical about January 1st, or the 52 Mondays in the year, or your birthday. There’s also no reason to wait a minute longer if you’re ready. You can start right now.
  2. Be brutally honest with yourself about what has blocked your success in the past. Do you feel entitled to eat certain foods? Procrastinate about meal planning? Blame others for your food choices? It’s time to deal with those disabling thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Make educating yourself about good nutrition part of your commitment. It is much easier to eat well when you understand why it matters.
  4. Talk about the changes you’re making to those who need to know so they can be supportive of your efforts and so they’ll understand why you stopped eating the way you used to do.
  5. Don’t try to make anyone else change along with you, just be an example for them. You can only change yourself.
  6. Plan each meal and snack around a fruit or vegetable – or both – instead of thinking about the meat or starch first.
  7. If you eat out more than once a month, it’s not a special occasion. Those meals should be as well- planned and carefully selected as the meals you eat at home.
  8. Don’t worry about disappointing others if you don’t eat as much as you used to or celebrate with food the way you once did. Worry about disappointing yourself.
  9. Small changes are all it takes to overhaul your life as long as you make enough of them and you stick with each one.
  10. Make sure you never view any food as a reward, no matter how tempting or delicious. If you’re thinking, “I deserve to eat this,” don’t eat it unless you can say, “I choose to eat this.”

How many of your resolutions from last year did you keep?

Usrers of low calorie sweeteners have healthier diets than non-users

Sucralose Side Effects Myth: Does SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener Increase Appetite?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on November 27, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

It’s easy to start believing something if we hear it over and over again. That’s why advertisers use jingles that get stuck in our heads so we’ll remember their brands, and why gossip is shared as the truth after seeing it on Twitter 10 times.

Believing there is a connection between no calorie sweeteners (like sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners), and increased appetite is another example of the power of repetition. You may have heard that claim several times, but is it really true? There’s some new research about regular users of low calorie sweeteners that should help change your mind on the subject for good!

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers from Washington State University created a profile of the diets and lifestyle of regular consumers of low calorie sweeteners. What they found indicates that the people who use them also make many other smart choices to maintain their health and a healthy body weight. What they did not find was any indication that users of low calorie sweeteners have increased appetites or a tendency to overeat.

While I have written about the factors that influence appetite and cravings before, this new research provides further evidence that low calorie sweeteners are a helpful tool for people who want to enjoy sweet tasting foods and beverages, but without all the calories of sugar. So if you have an appetite for something sweet, you should not hesitate to keep using SPLENDA® Sweetener Products!

Here’s what researchers Adam Drewnowski and Colin Rehm discovered after analyzing NHANES data from 1999-2008 for nearly 22,000 adults.

  • 30% reported using some type of low calorie sweetener, either in a tabletop form or in foods or beverages
  • Based on scores from the Healthy Eating Index, consumers of low calorie sweeteners have better quality diets with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meat/beans, diary and oil than non-users
  • Consumers of low calorie sweeteners are less likely to smoke than non-users
  • Consumers of low calorie sweeteners are more likely to engage in physical activity than non-users
  • Consumers of low calorie sweeteners are more likely to be trying to lose or not gain weight than non-users

You can find more fascinating facts about users of low calorie sweeteners on this Infographic.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

For more information:

Drewnowski, A., Rehm, C. Consumption of Low-Calorie Sweeteners among U.S. Adults Is Associated with Higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI 2005) Scores and More Physical Activity. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4389-4403; doi:10.3390/nu6104389

Food Insight: New Studies Support Use of Low-Calorie Sweeteners for Weight Management
 

don't beleive all the myths people dig up about potatoes

Five More Myths about Potatoes

This blog was originally written as a guest blog for the Alliance for Potato Education & Research. You can see the post here.

With the start of fall comes the start of the potato harvest, the busiest time of year for potato growers. Since I busted several potato nutrition myths earlier this year, this seemed like a good time to return and address some other misperceptions so you can get beyond the myths and enjoy nutritious and delicious potatoes more often this harvest season and all year round.

MYTH #1. MOST PEOPLE EAT TOO MANY POTATOES.

Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of potatoes in all forms is well within current food intake recommendations. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 – 8 cups of starchy vegetables per week (based upon calorie needs) and potatoes fall into this vegetable subgroup, yet Americans only eat about 50% of the vegetables they should. One way to close this gap is to eat more potatoes since research suggests that consumers of white potatoes, on average, eat more vegetables than those who don’t eat potatoes.

MYTH #2. MOST COOKING METHODS DESTROY THE NUTRIENTS IN POTATOES.

While boiling potatoes does cause a small loss of water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B6, the white potato retains most, if not all, of its potassium and dietary fiber regardless of cooking method, such as baking, boiling, or frying. You might be surprised to learn that frying, because it decreases water, actually increases the concentration of key nutrients including potassium. In fact, a recent study found that on a gram weight basis the white potato in all of its cooked forms provides more potassium and as much dietary fiber as other commonly consumed fruit and vegetables.

MYTH #3. ADDING TOPPINGS TO BAKED POTATOES MAKES THEM TOO HIGH IN FAT AND CALORIES.

The only thing coming between you and a great tasting baked potato is your imagination! Traditional toppings like butter, sour cream and bacon bits can be high in fat and calories, but there are plenty of others that are not. Here’s a list of tasty and nutritious toppings to help you discover many new ways to top a baked potato. Use just one or try a combination to create the perfect flavor profile for you.

Dijon Mustard Sautéed Mushrooms Crumbled Feta Cheese

Low-fat Greek Yogurt Caramelized Onions Grated Smoked Gouda

Chunky Salsa Sliced Scallions Melted Pepper Jack Cheese

Marinara Sauce Diced Black Olives Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Guacamole Black Beans Shredded Manchego Cheese

MYTH #4. IF I GIVE MY CHILDREN POTATOES AT DINNER, THEY’LL FILL UP ON THEM AND WON’T EAT THEIR VEGETABLES.

One thing most parents quickly find out when planning family-friendly meals is that children love potatoes! That’s good news for kids and parents alike because potatoes are vegetables and provide the same key nutrients, or more, than other family favorites. For example, a medium baked potato provides more vitamin C than 5 cherry tomatoes, more potassium than a banana or a cup of chopped broccoli, and more folate than a large carrot, plus it’s a good source of fiber and vitamin B6. And research shows children who consumed potatoes that were baked, boiled, mashed or roasted actually ate more other vegetables, too.

MYTH #5. FRESH POTATOES SPOIL TOO QUICKLY, AND THEN THEY MUST BE THROWN AWAY.

Potatoes actually last much longer than most fresh vegetables. According to the Idaho Potato Commission, by storing them in a cool, dark place, between 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they can last several weeks. If held at room temperature potatoes will keep for about one week. An easy way to prevent spoilage is to not buy more potatoes than you can properly store and use in that amount of time.

If you see a greenish color on your potatoes it may be chlorophyll, a natural plant pigment that is tasteless and harmless if eaten. Greening of potatoes may also indicate the presence of excess solanine, another natural compound produced in potatoes by exposure to light. Since solanine makes the potato taste bitter, and it’s not possible to tell by looking whether it’s chlorophyll or solanine making the potato green, it’s best to peel the potato to remove the green parts before cooking.

Sprouting on a potato is a sign the potato is trying to grow and should be cut away before cooking or eating. Proper storage will help reduce sprouting.

Disclosure Statement: Robyn Flipse was compensated by the Alliance for Potato Research & Education for her services as a guest blogger, but all opinions expressed here are her own.

If you are what you eat, make sure you're eating enough!

Following the Latest Eating Trends Might Be Bad for Your Health!

This post was originally written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com, so you can also read it here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

I once saw a magazine cover showing a man’s head made up of an assortment of fruits and vegetables. The caption read, “You are what you eat.” It was a simple, but effective, way to illustrate how the food we put into our bodies can affect the way we look and feel.

That picture would look much different today.

The theme for many of our current eating trends is, “You are what you don’t eat.” This includes many fads, such as detox cleanses, not eating anything that cavemen didn’t eat and going gluten free, lactose free or GMO-free.

What people may not realize when they adopt one of these fads is that there are sometimes unintended consequences. For example, eliminating some types of foods from the diet can also result in eliminating certain valuable nutrients that the body needs; or the omitted foods might be replaced with ones that are no better, or even worse.

MODERATION IS THE KEY

Practically every food you can think of has been on a “Do Not Eat” list at some point in time. Red meat, butter and eggs have been there and so have white bread, potatoes and sugar. Even ingredients we consume in tiny amounts that have undergone rigorous safety reviews by experts from around the world, like low calorie sweeteners, have come under criticism without justification. (Read more about the safety of the low calorie sweetener, sucralose, in my previous blog, “Is SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (Sucralose) Safe? Authorities We Can Trust.”

Fortunately, once all the excitement created by the headlines dies down, people often realize that fads are often not based in good science, and that they do not have to give up the foods they love to be healthy. Any food can be included in a balanced diet as long as it is eaten in moderation. And even though there are rigorous processes in place to ensure that ingredients used in food are safe, no food or beverage can be consumed in unlimited quantities and still be good for you.

NUTRITION KNOWLEDGE IS EXPANDING

The study of human nutrition is a relatively young science so we don’t have all the answers yet, but we know much more today than we did 50 years ago. As our understanding of the way in which nutrients affect our health expands, we should be prepared to make adjustments in what and how much we eat to incorporate the new knowledge. But this is a gradual process and rarely requires the complete removal of any food from our diets.

That is why I have always advised my clients not to eliminate anything they normally eat unless it is a medical necessity. Instead, the goal is to keep as much variety in our meal plans as possible to benefit from all that we do not yet know. By doing that, the image of “you are what you eat” will change over time as more and more foods get added to the picture. By not doing that, the image might disappear!

For more information, readStaying Away from Fad Dietsby the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Care packages from home can contribute to college weight gain

Tips to Prevent College Weight Gain

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

CARE PACKAGES FROM HOME CAN CONTRIBUTE TO COLLEGE WEIGHT GAIN

Now that everything has been purchased and packed to send your recent high school graduate off to college, what’s left to do? For many parents and grandparents, it’s time to start worrying about the notorious freshman 15.

College weight gain is a bigger concern today than ever before because so many more young people are arriving on campus overweight. Packing on five or ten pounds between now and winter break and another five or more by the time they move back home in the spring can saddle them with excess weight they may never lose.

The health risks of starting adulthood overweight should not be ignored. As anyone who has tried to lose 15 pounds – and keep it off – knows, it’s not easy. Taking steps to prevent gaining those unwanted pounds in the first place is far easier.

As the author of Fighting the Freshman Fifteen, I can show you how you can help your college student do just that.

What Causes College Weight Gain?

Life on campus is filled with opportunities to eat, drink, and party too much. The rest of the time is often spent sleeping, sitting in classes (sometimes both at the same time) and studying. That combination of overconsumption and under activity is all it takes for some kids to gain a pound a week, which happens to add up to 15 pounds at the end of the first semester.

Yes, the school has a state-of-the-art fitness center, a campus that stretches over several acres or city blocks, and round-the-clock recreational activities. But somehow all of that opportunity to burn calories is underutilized. It’s sort of like all the home exercise equipment and gym memberships that go unused.

Another source of unneeded calories are those care packages that come in the mail filled with all their favorite foods. Bags of Twizzlers, boxes of Cheez-Its, and tins of homemade chocolate chip cookies arrive one day and are gone the next.

Repackaging those care packages from home can eliminate the temptation, and extra pounds that go with them. Try some of these instead.

Care Packages That Prevent College Weight Gain

Hair Care

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Gel or Mouse
  • Spray or Spritz

Dental Care

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash

Laundry Care

  • Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Dryer sheets
  • Stain remover

Body Care

  • Bar soap
  • Shower gel
  • Bath powder
  • Deodorant
  • Body lotion

Appliance Care

  • Printer cartridges
  • Computer paper
  • Batteries
  • Gift cards for apps

And whatever you do, don’t keep reminding them of what it was like when you were in college!

Getting motivated to lose weight takes more than money

Weight Loss Motivation – Can Low Calorie Sweeteners Help?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

If motivation could be sold as a pill, we would all eat right every day and get plenty of exercise. The fact that we don’t always do those things isn’t because we don’t understand the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity for good health; we just have a hard time staying on track day in and day out. That’s why figuring out what motivates you is a prescription worth filling!

Do you think being paid to lose weight would motivate you? Studies are beginning to show that money is an incentive for weight loss, but there’s more to the payoff than you might think.

A recent study done at the Mayo Clinic found participants who knew they would receive $20 each month if they reached their weight loss goals lost more weight than those who received the same education and behavior modification program but had no financial incentive. The interesting thing about money is that it not only motivated the subjects when they were earning it for losing weight, but also when they had to pay a $20 penalty any month they did not meet their goals. At the end of the program, those who paid penalties actually lost more weight than those who had no money at stake!

Another study based on an employee-sponsored weight loss program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found competing for a bigger financial reward was a better motivator than working toward individual goals. In this case the subjects were divided into two groups. Half of them had a chance to earn $100 a month if they met or exceeded their individual weight loss goals. The remaining participants were randomly assigned to teams with five people in each, but they were not told who their teammates were. What they were told is that only the people who met or exceeded their monthly goals would have a share of their group’s $500. This meant that if only two people achieved their goals one month, they would get $250 each. After six months the team participants lost more weight than those who had the chance to earn $1000 a month by reaching their individual goals. One reason for the success of team members is that they remained more motivated over the six months than those who did not have a chance at the bigger rewards.

While it is easy to conclude from these studies that all we need to do to get people to lose weight is offer them a financial incentive, that notion misses a very important piece of the puzzle. The money only serves as a motivation to do the work that leads to weight loss. For example, maybe some of the subjects in these studies set their alarm an hour earlier so they could go to the gym before work. Maybe they planned their weekly menus before food shopping or started keeping track of everything they ate. Maybe they started other calorie-lowering strategies like substituting a no calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners, for sugar. So, while money was likely an incentive, what may have really helped people over time was the chance to form new eating and exercise habits. And once those new habits were in place, they became their own rich reward.

That’s what we have learned from members of the National Weight Control Registry who have successfully lost weight and kept it off for more than five years. Success comes to those who make changes they can live with. Using a low calorie sweetener, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener is just one strategy, and it may be one you live with to help you reach your goals, too.

For further info. on this topic, read my previous blog post on this topic: “How Counting Calories is Like Saving Money.”

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.
References:

  • Driver SL, Hensrud D. Financial Incentives for Weight Loss: A One-Year Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Am Coll Cardiol.2013;61(10S):Moderated Poster Session
  • Kullgren JT et. al.(8). Individual versus group based financial incentives for weight loss. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(7):505-514

 

Diets don't lead to weight loss, healthy lifestyles do

A Healthy Lifestyle – What Does It Mean?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

What do you think is the best way to avoid gaining weight or to successfully lose weight? Did the word “diet” come to mind? If so, is there a diet that you believe really works to accomplish these goals? Most people I know can name several different diets that have worked for them for a while. Then, when life got in the way they were “off” the diet. If this sounds familiar, instead of looking for another diet, it may be time to examine your life!

The simple truth is establishing a healthy lifestyle, not another diet, is the key to losing excess weight and maintaining a lower weight.

Of course, eating right is part of a healthy lifestyle, but all of the factors that make that possible are tied to our way of life. For example, if your best breakfast options are either makingblueberry oatmeal with fat free milk and topped with blueberries, or bringing a high-fiber cereal bar, container of fat free Greek yogurt and a banana to work with you, that means you have to:

  1. shop regularly so you have all of those foods on hand
  2. allow enough time in the morning to prepare and eat breakfast before you leave
  3. have a tote bag with an ice pack so you can take your breakfast with you

Each of these steps is tied to lifestyle choices. Did we make the trip to the grocery store on our way home yesterday to buy more fresh fruit and milk? Did we avoid downloading another movie at 10:00 PM so we could get a good night’s sleep and awake in time to eat breakfast? Did we put the ice pack in the freezer after using it last so it will be ready to take tomorrow? Those are the choices that make it easier to eat breakfast and do all of the other things that help us feel our best.

PRIORITIES AND PAYING IT FORWARD

While this makes sense to most people, many still tell me there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. That’s when I remind them that we all get the same 24 hours a day, so why is it that some people with demanding jobs and busy families do manage to strike the right balance? When they’re stumped for an answer I tell them it’s all about priorities and paying it forward.

If your priorities are aligned with a healthy lifestyle you use your time differently. For example, maybe you take a walk after eating lunch instead of catching up on Facebook. Maybe you write a weekly menu and shopping list before going to the store so you’re sure to have the things you need to make the meals that fit your schedule. Maybe you set limits on your children’s activities so you’re not chauffeuring them around every day during dinner time and resorting to a fast food meal. Having your priorities in order can help make it easier to make the right choices.

A healthy lifestyle is also a way to “pay it forward.” For example, no one wants to get sick, and when we do, it can cost us time and money to get well again. By taking the time to get routine medical checkups we pay it forward by reducing the likelihood we will need to see the doctor because we are sick. The same is true with eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. If we do those things now, we can pay it forward by lowering our risk of developing “non-communicable lifestyle diseases,” such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which are so common today.

It’s important to remember, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Not even close. It means you are making better choices whenever possible that support good health. If you smoke and can quit, that will have a significant impact on your health, even if it’s the only change you make. If you take the stairs instead of the elevator, that will help, too. And if switching to a low calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, helps you reduce the added sugar and calories in your diet, control your weight and stay on track, that’s a good lifestyle decision, too.

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Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.