Guest Author - Christina Schlacter, PhD
Which diet works best?
Even though the majority of the United States still has a layer of snow, it is hard to imagine swimsuit season is right around the corner (conveniently located a few weeks after New Year's Resolutions usually fade away). You can go to virtually any book store and be bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of dieting options for you to try (Amazon houses 60,141 books on dieting!) So what is a smart, busy girl to do? The answer: get back to basics. Here is a start.
Eat Less. Move More. It is basic thermodynamics: the fewer calories you consume and the more you burn (hopefully you are doing both), the more weight you will lose. Read any magazine article and the bottom line is simple: fewer calories in, more calories out. Do it tip: It takes a deficit of 3500 calories a week to lose a pound of fat (not just water), which is the equivalent to taking 200-250 calories out of your daily diet (replacing that bag of chips with carrot sticks will do) and going for a 3 mile walk.
Eat Smarter. I love researching different diets, and shyly admit I have tried almost all of them. Less carbohydrates, only raw food, less fat, Mediterranean diets… the list goes on and on. When it comes right down to it, the diets that are nutritionally based for lifelong healthy eating habits are those that encourage eating less processed food and more natural ingredients. If it comes in a cellophane bag: bad. If it comes from the produce department: good. Do it tip: Replace one meal a day that is as organic, pesticide free, and lacking as much commercial packaging as possible (e.g. cellophane or cardboard).
Start the day right: You’ve heard it before: Starting the day with breakfast kicks up your metabolism by telling your body it is time to wake up and get moving. Coffee has no calories and while it may perk you up, it does little to keep your energy up until lunch. Do it tip: A breakfast of unprocessed oats with fresh apples, milk, and cinnamon is always a good option. If you really do not have time to sit down, try making your breakfast sandwich the night before so you can grab and go: A whole wheat English muffin, topped with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter and an apple provide all the necessary food groups (and you can eat it while you walk to work).
So there it is: Cut back on processed food, move more, and don’t starve yourself. No cream or pill can compete with these basics in the long run.
My stand-in for losing a few pounds and wanting to feel a little healthier: I cut my dinner in half (saving half of it for lunch the next day) and eat two or three extra pieces of fruit or servings of veggies in the morning.
It works for me, and I hope to hear what works for you in our forum.