The ‘no diet’ zone |

The ‘no diet’ zone

Caution! You are about to enter a “No Diet Zone.” By definition, a diet is a temporary alteration in eating habits with the hope of losing weight. The key words here are temporary and hope. To successfully lose weight, however, permanent changes in eating and exercise are required.

Diets induce starvation and leave one feeling deprived. Often they cause nutritional deficiencies triggering cravings, resulting in “blowing the diet.” A vicious cycle of dieting and gaining weight continues to obesity.

Americans spend $30-50 billion each year trying to lose weight. What are we doing wrong?

Dieting, that’s what! Low-carb, grapefruit, cabbage, low calorie, high protein – take your pick. You might as well eat a totally chocolate diet. Permanent change is the only solution. We must choose to exercise more. We must choose to eat different foods and especially ones that provide nourishment. Eating proactively to maintain your health is the opposite of dieting with its accompanying feelings of deprivation and disappointment with the inevitable failure.

You probably won’t get it right immediately. Instead, expect to make incremental but sustainable changes. Moderation and an understanding of what works for your body is the right approach.

Finding alternatives to fast food, eating smaller portions (use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate), and being more active are essential. Consider watching less television. When you do, instead of snacking, do needlepoint, knitting or work a jigsaw puzzle.

Enjoy the outdoors. Experience the beautiful walking trails in Nevada County – perfect for an invigorating walk. Take up a sport. Tennis or golf will give you new friends and exercise. Whatever age you are – give yourself permission to go outside and play!

Find friends interested in a healthier lifestyle. Meet for exercise and healthy meals. Eat the majority of your calories early in the day so you can “spend” them before you retire.

When cooking, use healthy oils (canola, sesame and olive). Increase fiber consumption by drinking orange juice with pulp; eating bread with a minimum of three grams of fiber per serving; and eating healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans.

If you wonder if getting fit is worth the effort, consider the alternatives. The health risks associated with being even 10 percent overweight are serious.

They include increased risk for a heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis, gall bladder disease, depression, breast and colon cancer, lung disease and esophageal reflux disease.

No “perfect diet” exists. No single answer to getting healthy works for everybody – each of us is unique. Lose the word “diet” from your vocabulary and think permanent lifestyle changes to reduce health risks.

Forget about the newest fad diet. Instead, choose a healthy lifestyle you can enjoy today, assuring you will have lots of tomorrows.

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