Forget the fad diet! Lose weight by eating healthy
Recently, I watched a report on an extreme weight loss method called the tongue patch diet. The women featured were undergoing an “aversion therapy” by having a hard plastic mesh, designed for hernia surgery, sewn onto their tongues that would inflict pain if they tried to eat any solid food and enable them to meet their goal of losing 20 pounds in one month.
I was flabbergasted. What happened to eating right and exercising? Have we become so addicted to unhealthy food and behaviors that we’re willing to go to such extreme measures? The cabbage soup diet, the Paleo diet, the Zone diet, the Atkins diet ... With so many fad diets out there, where do you turn?
I recently enlisted the help of Staci Small, a registered dietitian and owner of highly rated The Wellness Philosophy in Greenwood, Ind., to speak about diets at one of the wellness lunch and learns at Angie's List. Small says fad diets aren’t an attainable lifestyle — your body won’t function properly with lack of nutritional support.
“The average adult should eat three to five small meals and snacks throughout the day,” Small says. “Choose appropriate portion sizes and strive to fuel your body every three to four hours. Try to attain an 80 percent nutritionally balanced diet, only allowing the occasional unhealthy fats and sugary foods, as well as extras such as alcohol, in moderation.”
Highly rated Dr. Dawn Ayers, director of Riverview Hospital’s Diabetes Center in Noblesville, says fad diets can cause short-term complications such as “dehydration, resulting in dizziness, muscle cramping, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, electrolyte imbalance and acute kidney failure.”
Ayers also warns to watch for symptoms of gallstones. The bile in the gallbladder can become stagnant and form stones that then lodge in the duct once you resume a higher fat diet. Ayers says consuming less than 500 calories per day can be dangerous. “Very low calorie diets don’t support our nutritional needs and they equate to prolonged heart arrhythmia, severe dehydration and post-diet weight gain.”
Small helps clients strive for optimal nutrient intake, decreasing the amount of processed foods they eat and focusing on fresh foods. She shows them what a serving of fruits, vegetables, proteins and grains should look like and what a balanced plate looks like. She says to strive for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day because it makes us feel full and gives us a sense of satiety.
“Nights out, celebrations and busy work/life balance can get in the way,” Small says. “Allow yourself to indulge and enjoy food in moderation.” She suggests making small manageable changes and educating yourself from credible sources who will help you strive to make a lifetime of good, healthy lifestyle choices.