When I see somebody on a low-calorie diet and a strict exercise regime, I want to look them in the eyes and shout, “Stop! You’re wasting your time!”
Crash dieting may help you dramatically lose weight in a short period of time. But fad diets starve your body of essential nutrients good for your health. You are sacrificing nutrition and good health for weight loss.
What’s more people who achieve dramatic weight loss by cutting too many calories typically gain back most or all of the weight as they cannot stick to these diets. For some people yo-yo dieting is the norm. You gain some weight, you spend a couple of weeks working hard to reduce it, you go back to your normal habits and when you regain those couple of pounds, you just diet again.
The following diet and exercise comments set off alarm bells in my head:
- “I’m working out every day now”
- “I skip lunches”
- “I’ll have a donut instead of my lunch”
- “I eat less than 1200 calories a day”
- “I’ve cut out carbs”
- “I can’t go out for a meal as I’m on a diet”
The reason that I’m wary of such comments is because a) they are unhealthy habits or b) these habits cannot be sustained long-term.
I believe that you are far better off adopting healthy habits that you can stick to. Make small gradual changes to your diet and exercise routine that can be sustained. This is better for your body and you are gaining healthy habits that will help you stay in shape forever. Here are my tips:
- Aim to lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds a week
- Eat fruit and vegetables as snacks rather than cookies and chips
- Eat salad without dressing
- Cook in olive oil and cut down on consumption of butter
- Substitute milk for cream
- Scale-back on desserts
- Avoid fast-food restaurants
- Eat more fish
- Eat whole-grain bread instead of white bread
- Eat small portions
- Make exercise a part of your life
- Make exercise fun – do what you enjoy!