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“For any given person, it’s really a matter of what can they stick with,” says Michael Jensen of the Mayo Clinic, summarizing an extensive review of long-term weight loss studies. In other words, whether a person loses with low-carb, Paleo, Mediterranean, or some other diet, what matters most is not the diet type, but whether or not that person’s still on track beyond the six-month point. Staying on track for a year or two, and then forever, is what promises the best and most lasting results for improved weight and health. This bottom line seems to emerge whenever diets are compared over longer periods: there are no magic bullets, and the best diet is the one you’ll stick with.
What will you stick with, though? That question itself can be hard to answer. Depending on the search terms you use, you can find over 69,000 diet books on Amazon.com (that’s for “Health, Fitness and Diet”). And the site promises, in addition, over 5,000 new releases within the next ninety days. How do you possibly know which regime will suit you, which advice will help?
The Best Diet
When I think of “the best diet is the one you’ll stick with”, I envision a two-part project. Each part deserves thought, and usually also time for learning and trial-and-error. First, the question of what will indeed suit you needs answering. Many people, I find, know pretty much what this is. Melanie, for example, absolutely knows she feels best, loses weight, and cuts cravings when she eats a very low carbohydrate diet. Jacqueline, however, hates eating all that meat and prefers a more vegetarian routine. She finds that avoiding sugar is the key for her to stay on track. Mark always does best when he puts the limits on eating out and focuses on simply eating a little less at each meal—portion control. Once he does that, the rest seems to fall in place. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you encourage or freak out if your normal weight teen wants to diet? When it comes to the thin-line of adolescent girls’ “not quite” eating disorders, parents face new challenges—even when childhood eating issues have been minimal or non-existent before. For more thoughts and guidance, check out “Thin From Within” at Psychology Today.
I offer some thoughts on supporting each other, assertive dieting techniques and more in my recent “Thin From Within” blog at Psychology Today.
What Should Children Eat? Asks this year’s Food Issue of the New York Times Sunday magazine. The issue explores how to get kids to eat more adventurously, what kids around the world eat for breakfast (not always sweetened cereal….), and more. In our heightened concern with healthy food and eating practices, looking at how our children relate to food makes sense. I add to the discussion here by reprinting an article on how to talk to kids about food—what encourages better choices, what instills too much fear?
I revisit this important topic in my most recent Psychology Today “Thin From Within” blogpost. For more, check the “weight loss surgery” archive, left, as well.
Even with all the media focus on diet and weight, it’s not often that two significant stories appear in the same week. This week both the New York Times and the Today Show highlighted different findings that fine-tune our understanding. And both of them, in the end, point to key Eat Sanely messages.
The Times report summarized studies looking closely at low-carb vs. low-fat diets. While the findings are complex, the bottom line is that the low-carb diets, which did not skimp on fat, proved better. This doesn’t mean that all the successful dieters ate no carbs, though. In the end, the main take-away point is that refined carbohydrates, as in sugarey and processed foods, impair weight the most. Complex carbohydrates, as in vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, remain healthy food choices, along with high quality proteins and fats.
The Today Show (9/2/12) highlighted not so much what to eat, but the fact that you can “rewire” your brain to want good foods instead of junk. In sum, the more you eat “real” food—as in those proteins, fats, and vegetables—the more you’ll want them. Conversely, the less you eat sweetened and processed foods, the less you’ll crave them. Brain science proves what anybody who’s cut down on junk will tell you—the less you eat, the less you want, and vice versa. It takes some time and repetition, however—and that where your efforts come in.
So, those key Eat Sanely messages, have always included: 1.) eat real food, and 2.) practice, practice, practice, until choosing real foods becomes a habit, your new normal.
Here is a reprint of a post on my Psychology Today (PT) blog, “Thin From Within” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thin-within) that suits this time of year.
Fall, and Back-to-School time, lend themselves to resolutions. Think about it: This is a time of transition, often with a recommitment to routine. It’s a season, too, that lacks the pressure that charges New Year’s Day. Resolutions to change specific, sometimes small, habits are those most likely to succeed, in any season. Lists of “Eat Healthier” or “Eat Lighter” targets have caught on, appearing helpfully at years-end and elsewhere. These suggest small but significant changes that build toward better weight and health. This fall, however, I’m thinking of “Eat More Sanely” targets instead. Such targets surely bolster those aimed at diet. Attitude, self-care, and behavioral goals emerge here—and any one will render the desired weight and fitness goals more likely to happen, and more likely to stick.
As with other resolutions, you can easily scan a list and say, “I need to do all of these!” However, starting with an item that’s potentially manageable can make a bigger difference than you might think. Starting with this one, however small, lays the groundwork for others. This one can help build confidence and a readiness for further change. Also, with these kinds of targets, perfection doesn’t count. Getting started, and keeping at it, counts.
Here are eight potential “Eat More Sanely” targets that can spur important shifts. (Each item ends with a link to related reading to get you started.) Read the rest of this entry »
Media-watching is part of the Eat Sanely mission–how can it help us, and how does it hurt us, in our efforts to eat more sanely, be happier and healthier? Recently, more good news than usual seems to be emerging. For some updates, and thoughts on how to use the emerging information in your own personal efforts, see my most recent Thin From Within column at Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thin-within/201405/saner-eating-makes-news-and-four-ways-use-the-news
Lately, a number of readers have rediscovered my April 12, 2011 blog, Be Kind to Yourself: It’s Better for Your Diet….judging by recent tweets and retweets. So, I offer the link here to make this still-timely article easily to locate: http://www.eatsanely.com/be-kind-to-yourself-its-better-for-your-diet
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