News Flash! This "just in" hot off the presses...
Researches now say that that Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets do not help when it comes to staying thin. In a comparison between low-carbohydrate, low fat and reduced calorie diets, all participants started to regain weight after six months, and by twelve months there was little difference between the groups. "There is no clear evidence that Atkins-style diets are better than any others for helping people stay slim, despite the popularity and apparent success of the Atkins diet," says Professor Arne Astrup of RVA University in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ok... so maybe this is a bit melodramatic, but it drives home a point. We are living in a world of dietary confusion, a Land of Oz and make-believe, where facts are hard to find and commercial diets aim to keep us in a confused state and distract us from the truth. This is just one of the many barriers that people face when trying to lose weight.
So how are we expected to deal with all this dietary misinformation? Here is a suggestion. Ignore the hype, find a safe and healthy diet that makes good common sense, and stay with the plan for life. While this might not seem like any great revelation, it's amazing how many dieters beat their heads against the wall struggling to lose weight, hoping that "this time" the results will be different. My friend, if this describes your experience with dieting, you are following the wrong plan and need to consider a different approach.
Think back for a moment about how many times you have heard that to lose weight you must be "disciplined" in your approach. Or to put it another way, to lose weight you must be willing to just give up eating your favorite foods (like ice cream) and dining at your favorite places (yes, those fast foods are definitely out of the question). If this ill-advice actually worked, The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics would no longer rank obesity as one of their leading health problems!
It's not that Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach or any other weight loss plan can't help us to lose weight. Ask almost anybody, and they will tell you it's a snap to lose a few pounds. And, in fact, it is! We have no problem at all losing weight on virtually any diet. The problem surfaces its ugly head when we step on the scale six months down the road. Our high hopes and aspirations for losing weight get crushed when we realize that our weight, like the prodigal son of Biblical report, has found its way back home.
Take a moment to consider this fact: According to a nationwide survey (Gardenburger Inc.) it is estimated that more than three-quarters of all women between the ages of 25 and 54 make a decision to lose weight each year. In this same survey, nine out of ten respondents reported disappointing long-term results (some respondents actually gained weight instead).
You see, losing weight is easy! Anyone on basically any diet can lose weight. The difficult and tricky part is in keeping the pounds from creeping back-on over time.
We've been misled with just about every possible explanation and cause for gaining weight, ad-infinitum. If it's not our lack of commitment, then it's our low self esteem, failing to plan, or for some other reason. You name it, and there's an explanation out there! But, the truth be known, when it comes to getting and staying slim, most of these "explanations" don't make much sense.
What really, really matters in the long run is whether our everyday eating habits and energy intake are in-balance with our everyday energy expenditure.
The reason 95% of commercial diets eventually fail is because they violate this simple principle. They are designed for the "quick fix", not for normal everyday eating that can last a lifetime. Most commercial diets require additional time and effort to start and follow, and worse, attempt to deprive us of our favorite foods and stop us from eating at our favorite restaurants.
With our busy schedules and increasing demands both at home and work, trying to find even an extra 10 minutes a day can be a challenge. Spending hours, or even days trying to adjust to a new diet plan is not only unrealistic, but is a total waste of precious time!
We all love the novelty and intrigue of trying something different and starting the next new "fad" diet plan is no exception. But unfortunately, the outcome for most of these plans is unsatisfactory. Once the novelty and excitement wear off we're usually right back to where we started.
Attempts to force-fit changes in our diet generally follow a pattern that goes something like this...
- We start a new diet program. Excitement runs high, we are motivated to the max, the pounds are dropping like crazy, and the World is a wonderful place.
- Our busy schedule gets even busier. There are kids to take care of, bosses to satisfy, and of course there are always those new diet guidelines to learn and follow.
- At some point we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a time management crisis, and looking for ways to save time.
- We decide to skip a few of the time consuming "special" diet meals and recipes "just this once".
- Our "stash" of diet foods starts getting depleted, there's no time for a full-blown grocery shopping experience, and we make the inevitable run to our local convenience store instead (ops... how did those snacks get into the grocery cart anyhow?).
... and so goes the story. We soon find that the restrictions, regulations and requirements of our new diet are incompatible with our normal eating habits. Before we even realize what's happening we're back to our old unhealthy, but more convenient way of eating. And the pile of dieting books and other special dieting paraphernalia we spend our hard earned money buying continues to grow.
The moral of the story is this; beware of diets that come loaded with all sorts of gimmicky and strange requirements and attempt to change our normal eating behavior. They are doomed to failure right from the start.
Find a diet that is practical, nutritious and in-balance with your everyday energy requirements. Do this, and you are guaranteed success!