Dieting: The Basics

weight loss guide healthy eatingEvery year, millions of Americans start looking for new ways to lose weight. The majority of these dieters have already tried losing weight in the past. Some were successful at first but eventually re-gained weight after returning to their previous habits; others barely saw the scale budge at all.

Most people who look at medical weight loss programs have first-hand experience with the weight loss process. They know the frustration of yo-yo dieting and the challenge of cutting calories on a highly restricted diet. There are plenty of fad diets that get a lot of popularity, but that doesn’t mean they work.

What is a diet?

Dieting has become synonymous with weight loss. To go on a diet means to stop eating a collection of foods for an indefinite period of time in an effort to lose weight.

There are a few features many diets share. They often are low in calories, and encourage people to cut out things like:

  • Fat
  • Sugar
  • Carbohydrates

There are diets that will completely restrict what you eat to just a handful of items. These are known as deprivation diets, and while they can sometimes deliver fast results, they are not healthy or practical to stay on for any long duration. Examples of this type of dieting are the cabbage soup or cookie diet. These weight loss plans contribute to the well-known problem of yo-yo dieting and almost always result in weight re-gain.

A diet should be more than a temporary fix to help you lose weight. Instead of focusing on what you are taking out of your diet, start looking at the nutrients you can put in it.

Your diet is the body’s primary source of nourishment; it is what provides you with sustenance and energy to live a healthy lifestyle. When you make the decision to go on a diet for weight loss, it can’t be a temporary thing. As you embark on your weight loss journey, your diet may need a full overhaul.

You need a diet that isn’t just a quick fix, but is something that you can realistically follow and adjust to as a means of improving your overall health.

Changing your Diet through Healthy Habits

The greatest problem with deprivation diets is that they do not set you up for long-term success. Cutting calories from your diet can help you lose weight. To maintain that weight loss you’ll need to continue making healthy food choices long after your initial diet comes to an end. Adopting a healthy diet is a lifestyle change. By learning about the different nutrients in your diet and developing healthy habits, you can turn your diet to lose weight into a long-term diet for a healthier way of life.

Healthy dietary habits include:

  • Eating nutrient rich foods, especially foods that are high in protein
  • Setting a dining schedule and eating at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid spikes and drops in energy levels
  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Avoiding foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories
  • Only eating when your body physically requires sustenance

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. This is why low-calorie diets are so highly recommended for weight loss. However, simply cutting calories isn’t enough. As you make changes to your diet in an effort to lose weight, consider the ways you are benefiting from eating healthier foods. Focusing on the positive aspects of dieting and less on the deprivation associated with food restrictions might help motivate you to keep moving forward.