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Going on a Diet is a Bad Idea

Updated on August 30, 2012

At one point or another almost every single one of us will say, “I’m on a diet.” But the truth is you’re always on a diet. The word diet means the kinds of foods that a person usually eats. So if you normally eat pizza and donuts, then that’s what your diet is. But in today’s society the word diet takes on a different connotation and usually means you’re restricting what you’re eating and trying to change what you usually eat. As a personal trainer, I know how difficult it can be to come into the gym every day, work hard but never see the scale move in the direction you want it to. That’s because what you eat affects your metabolism, affects weight loss and affects how quickly you’ll see results. Here are five tips to help you use your diet the most effective way to help you reach your goals.

Don’t consider it a “diet.”

Since many people think diet implies restriction, limitation and only for a short period of time, using the word diet will only cause you problems. Ditch the word diet for good and focus on creating a healthy nutritional plan. A healthy plan should include all of the major food groups, including carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each macronutrient is essential to maintain a healthy body.

Eating healthy is not about taking away foods but it’s about eating more of the healthy items that are good for you.

Don’t think about taking away foods but think about replacing foods with other foods. For example, instead of removing bread from your diet, replace the white bread with whole wheat bread. And instead of taking away your dessert, replace it with sweet fruit.

Don’t obsess about tracking only calories as there is a lot more to a healthy diet than how many calories you consume.

Look at how many key nutrients you get for those calories. For example if you eat 150 calories, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat versus eating something that has 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat, you can clearly see which one is a better choice but you might not have known that by just looking at the calories.

Keep your calorie intake to a healthy number.

Often times, especially with women, diets include a very low number of calories. This is a bad idea because your body needs a minimum number of calories each day just to keep your brain, heart and other organs functioning. If you go below this number, which is referred to as your resting metabolic rate, then your body will hoard every single calorie you intake and slow your metabolism down. When you’re trying to lose weight, that’s the last thing you want your body to do. You want your metabolism fired up and the only way to do that is by eating at least 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories for men. But remember these numbers refer only to your resting metabolic rate so add in any activity and you need to take that into account.

Set realistic goals and don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Think about how long it took you to put on the weight so it’s going to take time to take off the weight. You want your results to be life-changing and to long-term so a quick fix is not going to be a good long-term solution. Maintaining a healthy nutritional plan is a lifestyle that you want to adhere to for long-term. Healthy goals for losing weight is aiming for 1-2 pounds a week initially but after the initial drop, this number might be harder to reach, so don’t get discouraged. As with exercise, a way to keep losing weight is to add variety into your plan and to try new foods.

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