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Win Your Weight Management Journey in 2020
With every new year there are new resolutions to lose weight. It’s a fresh start to redo again what one has failed to do the previous year. Those who are motivated to lose weight seek out a variety of pills, programs, and fad diets to lose weight rapidly so they can look good for the summer. With the holiday festivities behind, it’s no wonder why people want to eliminate the extra pounds they gained. But is all this really healthy for you? Let’s examine some main theories out there that promise results. Then we will examine barriers and also what the evidence says about all this.
It’s TRUE that fad diets just do not work. Proponents of these diets claim effectiveness but in the long run fail to deliver. One of the biggest diet fads for the past few years is the Ketogenic diet (“Keto” diet). This year U.S. & World Report ranked 35 popular diets with input from a panel of health experts. To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. The top of the list was the Mediterranean Diet.
The Keto diet was ranked #34, the whole30 #33 and Adkins #32. Source: https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall.
What’s your macro? You may be hearing more people, websites, and programs asking this. This refers to macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Proponents of macros tell you specific ratios of macros are important to reach your weight management goals. Recommended macros by then UDSA are 50-65% calories from carbohydrates, 15-20% of calories from protein, and 30-35% calories from fats. But proponents of fad diets recommend different levels of macros based on the program. Keto diets call for up to 75% calories from fat (and 15% or less from carbs) while low carb diets (i.e. Atkins diet) tell you protein intake should comprise up to 30% calories and 65% fat (15% carbohydrates). Most of these carb-restricted diets throw your body into ketosis, which is not a normal condition. It is an abnormal condition. AMD there is much debate on this.
Barriers to Success
Whatever diet you follow to lose weight, different barriers can come in the way for even the most dedicated people. Hectic schedules, family or social stressors, health problems, inclement weather, sudden financial stressors (who hasn’t had your furnace break down in the middle of the winter?), mental illness, peer pressure, toxic food environments, and a variety of other factors can derail you off your plan, and it may take considerable effort to get back on.
What the Experts Say
Fortunately, there are piles of research that tells us the best approach to sustainable weight loss. The NIH Heart Lung & Blood Institute’s Aim For A Healthy Weight ( nhlbi.nih.gov) handout summarizes the guidelines for you. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/) offers up to date dietary guidelines. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND) is the leading resource for nutrition information.
Seek Professional Help
Only qualified and experienced Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can help you navigate through the guidelines to develop a plan that is right for you. They work with what you are already eating to determine what needs changed and give practical tips for making small sustainable changes that last. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 12 sessions over a 6 month period for the best results.
The Main Idea
There is no quick fix for sustainable weight loss. It takes considerable effort, time and commitment to be a success story. But are so many resources out there now to help make it easier. Meeting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is your best bet.
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