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12 Days of Fitness 2016: Day 4 – Never Diet Again!

December 14, 2016 0 Comments

(This is Part 4 of a 12 part series to provide you with some useful health and fitness info over the holiday season)

An impending New Year always conjures up thoughts of making better and healthier choices, particularly exercising and losing weight. According to a Boston Medical Center study, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Whether it’s Atkins, DASH, or Paleo, how well are those diets really working? Most dieters will be able to keep up the eating plan for a few weeks, maybe a few months if they’re lucky. But as their bodies start to crave the foods and nutrients eliminated by the diet they chose, it’s a slippery slope back to old eating habits and frustration. Fad diets are tempting for they prey on emotion. They promise quick weight loss by restricting one or two types of food or some bizarre combination of foods and/or timing. When sticking to a plan that pays attention only to nutrition, there is minimal if any guide to exercise or cook at home. Instead, dieters end up slipping back into their old eating habits and regaining the weight they lost after quitting the diet.

Don’t Follow The Herd

According to a study from UCLA, up to two-thirds of people who try these diets regain the weight they had lost. It’s time to get out of that cycle and start taking real control and responsibility of your nutrition? It begins by ignoring the fads and making lasting behavioral changes that will lead to long-term weight loss. It begins with smarts and common sense. Fad diets that promise a quick fix often promise minimal effort. That’s what makes them so appealing. What appears to seem logical and “backed by double blind studies” is nothing more than a smoke screen to get you to buy books, bars, pills, or programs. The joke is on you!

Real Keys to Success

Everyone always wants to know what’s the best way to lose weight? The answer is more complicated than a simple one or two word answer but a really good short answer is by adopting one healthy habit at a time. Changing day-to-day behaviors is the best way to make weight loss last long term and put an end to yo-yo dieting. The good news is that building new habits sounds more daunting than it really is. There’s no need to change everything in one fell swoop. In fact, that belief is the opposite of how weight loss should be approached. Instead, making small, gradual changes will help decrease calories and kick start weight loss. Start by choosing one new daily habit to incorporate and try it out for a week. For those having trouble making the habit stick, try setting calendar reminders or enlist a professional, friend, or family member to help. The first healthy habit should be one that makes a big impact to help boost motivation.

Here are three simple steps to get started with long term, not short term weight loss. It’s not sexy, won’t sell a lot of books or magazines, but has an undeniable track record for success.

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast:Numerous studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast helps promote weight loss. While there’s nothing magical about eating breakfast, what it does do is set a precedent for the day, one of which should be fueling the body, not starving it. Avoid pre-packaged foods for a healthier start to the day. Whole foods like fresh fruit, oatmeal, and eggs are smarter choices.
  2. Keep a daily food log: It doesn’t matter how it’s recorded — on your computer, in a notebook, or with the camera on a smartphone — keeping a record calls attention to recurring food habits and creates accountability. When starting a food log, the focus shouldn’t be on counting calories. The key is to be consistent in writing down everything consumed throughout the day and seeing how even the little things add up. Once the habit of keeping a food journal is established, the next step is to review it that night or the next morning to set goals for the following day.
  3. Eat REAL food: If you glance through a grocery store circular one thing that should be staring at you is the fact that most of the discounts and deals are on packaged food items. Poor nutritional habits have their roots in the fact that we are bombarded by convenience food, some sold as “healthy” or “better for you”. It’s much easier to tear, grab, and go than it is to chop, slice, and cook. Real food preparation may take more time, but it will be more fulfilling and better nutritionally decreasing and/or ending the desire for highly energy dense, non-nutritious food.

You’ve had the power all along. Stop listening or reading to what sounds in theory to be a great idea. If this has been a yearly resolution for you, it’s time to end the madness now. It’s your choice.

See you tomorrow for Day 5 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.


Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day 1 – Why Not Eating Enough Won’t Help You Lose Weight
Day 2 – 5 Ways You’re Self-Sabotaging Your Workouts
Day 3 – 10 Fitness Fibs You Tell Yourself


Filed in: Nutrition, Wellness • Tags: ,

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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