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Bouncing From One Diet To Another

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -
Bouncing From One Diet To Another

Many of us change our diets more often than we change the sheets on our beds. And we often tell ourselves "If one doesn’t work maybe another one will."

A high percentage of the population spends much of their lives switching diets. This social phenomenon in part may be happening because of the increase in overweight and obesity and because many people are unhappy with their figures, even if they are not overweight or obese.

Many overweight people and those who think they’re overweight, spend a large portion of their lives changing from one diet to the next. Instead of working on resolving their self-esteem issues, this unhealthy pattern of dieting actually makes things worse.

Overweight and Undernourished

Two main features characterize the diet-to-diet lifestyle. One is calorie restriction. People restrict calories without realizing they shouldn’t eliminate certain foods from their diets simply because of their high calorie content. The daily calories you need to function properly and stay healthy should come from a variety of foods. In addition, many dieters reduce their intake of non-calorific nutrients. Although only small quantities of these are needed (hence the name micronutrients), they play an essential role in our health. This reduction almost always occurs when foods are eliminated based on their calorie content, regardless of whether or not they contain essential micronutrients.

Almost every diet eliminates too many essential nutrients, but we don’t think about the need to make up for these deficiencies. We can’t expect our bodies to function properly under such circumstances. In fact, people who live this way often become undernourished without having lost that bothersome excess weight.

A healthy diet only eliminates two things: excess and imbalance.

Analyze the real causes of your weight problem. This way, you can take action and achieve the figure you want without harming your body.

Overfed and Overweight

Overweight and obesity result from eating more than the body needs. How many calories we need varies from person to person. Each one of us differs in the amount of calories we need to eat daily to stay healthy, maintain an acceptable figure, and remain active in the lifestyles we lead. The amount of food a highly active person needs differs from the amount a person with a sedentary lifestyle requires. Furthermore, the same amount of food can have different effects on different people’s bodies.

People who are unhappy with their weight must analyze and assess their lifestyles and habits. This way they can establish a balance between how much they eat and how much energy they expend (according to their occupations, their activities, and their exercise routines). If they eat more than they need, they must adjust their dietary habits. If they lead a sedentary lifestyle, they need to increase the amount of physical exercise they are getting. Exercise can help you lose weight and prevent chronic diseases.

Don’t eliminate the foods you eat too much of. Instead, reduce the frequency and size of your servings. Sometimes you have to do more than control a couple of these variables. Always follow this nutritional truth: eat some of everything without eating too much of anything.  This recommendation contradicts many people’s ideas of a diet. People assume they have to stop eating their favorite foods and instead consume foods they dislike. When someone starts a diet, they often wonder how long they’ll have to stay on it. The truth is, people almost always need to make permanent changes in their eating habits to maintain a healthier weight. Having the attitude that the positive changes in your eating habits are only needed short-term will cause problems. Once the dieting period ends and you return to the same ways that caused your weight gain in the first place, the weight you have lost will likely return as well.

*Dr. Lara-Pantin, a nutrition specialist, is Vice President of Product Development for DrTango, Inc.


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