Eating for Health in the New Year
The new near has arrived and with it, the resolution to lose some of those pounds put on by the holidays. Do you know the one thing that almost every diet has in common? They fail.
According to a recent survey, the number one resolution for the year is to lose weight. About 45% of Americans make resolutions and by far weight loss tops the list. About 25% of those resolutions are broken during the first week of the diet and another 10% fall by the wayside during week two. The best estimate is that 95% of resolved dieters will be off the diet by the beginning of the summer.
Why do so many people struggle with keeping their weight loss goals? For many people, the holidays have been a time of over-indulgence in everything—food included. They make a resolution to drop the weight and they want to do it quickly. They get pumped up to finally achieve it and they soon find it is more difficult than they thought it would be. Temptations come and they soon give in. They spend the rest of the year either feeling sorry for themselves or guilty they failed at another diet. Rather than thinking that 95% of people are failing at their diet plans, perhaps the truth is that 95% of diets fail people.
Many of us equate the word “diet” with short-term deprivation of some foods for immediate visible results. A diet is something you go “on” and ultimately go “off.” According to Claudia Peterson of Diet Center Cincinnati, that is one of the biggest reasons that they fail.
“Americans live with almost a drive-through mentality. We want instant everything, including weight loss. But that isn’t what your diet should be. It should be a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise,” she says.
According to Peterson, the Diet Center’s method of weight loss and management success is different than most. It begins with a personal assessment of the body needs of the individual. After determining the right calorie level that is uniquely “you,” the center helps you find a way to plan meals based on your habits and lifestyle.
Diet Center’s program is based upon four essential phases: conditioning, reducing, stabilization and maintenance. The plan focuses on preparing balanced meals and more appropriate portion sizes. Peterson points out that there are two main causes for the issue of obesity in America. First, the portion size of our food servings—probably based on the amount of eating out that many of us do—is far too large. Second, most of the food that we eat has been blitzed with additives and chemicals.
Can the average person actually lose pounds and keep them off? Peterson recognizes that there are some physical and psychological reasons that hinder weight loss, but affirms that the vast majority of people actually can lose weight and maintain it.
“Remember though that you did not gain weight overnight. You aren’t going to lose it overnight either,” she says.
Some practical suggestions for a lifestyle eating change include education, realistic expectations, control of portion size and consistency.
“It all starts with education. You have to understand what your body really needs for its intake of calories,” says Peterson. Though we are motivated by instant success, realistic expectations understand that long-term success is more important than immediately dropping ten pounds.
Counting calories may seem like a chore, but being careful about portion sizes can go a long way in reducing calorie intake. Consistency is the final important ingredient in this healthier lifestyle. Understand that it takes time and effort to change a habit. Poor eating choices usually come from years of bad habits.
Knowing the right amount of calories for our bodies and then controlling the portion size, taking the time to eat as fresh and organically as possible and consistently including activity and exercise can get your year off to a healthier, happier start.