How to choose a weight loss plan that's right for you?Anyone else notice that the closer we got to December 31st, 2012, the more weight loss commercials popped up on TV? My favorite commercial is the one for a powder that you sprinkle onto your food or into your drink making you feel full sooner. The comical part to me are the skinny actors and actresses playing the roles of those using the product to be fit. Isn't that part of the game though? The marketers of the commercial are saying, "Look, if you use this quick fix product you will look like this size 2 two actress and it's that easy!" Or is it?
The culture around us through varying forms of media teach us to desire quick fixes; look at our reliance on technology for communication. Gone are the days of home phones with answering machines; now anyone can be reached at any time and there is no excuse for being unavailable. It's a quick fix. If you have a question or need to make a statement, simply make the call or text and poof! Problem solved and "crisis" averted.
Let me tell you the truth about health and fitness: There is not a quick fix. I wish there was one but the amount of time it took for me to gain 70 lbs wasn't overnight so it's only natural that losing that same weight wouldn't happen overnight either. The same principles that you learned in P.E. and health class during grade school are still applicable today: burn calories and energy to lose excess fat. No pill, fad diet, magical powder, wrap, or strenuous, unattainable exercise regime is going to be maintainable. If you want a healthy lifestyle, if your goal is to be healthy then you must put in the work to lose the weight. Choosing a quick fix method may give you quick results but let me tell you, they will not last.
How do you pick a diet plan or workout routine? I feel that you have to look at the big picture when you're assessing any kind of weight loss plan. Here are my 3 S's at picking a weight loss plan:
Simple - Make sure that you're choosing a weight loss plan that will fit into your lifestyle. The majority of you who are reading this are parents, you may stay at home or you may work, but because you are a parent chances are your time is very limited. You need to choose a plan that is going to be easy for you to follow and will make you feel successful. If you aren't a numbers person, if you hate having to keep track of calories, any kind of a point system or calorie counting plan will most likely not work for you. If you are a detail oriented person and you like keeping track of things plans that focus on calorie, carbohydrate or any other kind of nutritional counting will probably suit you best.
Safe - I don't know if you remember the Cabbage Soup Diet or the Grapefruit Diet. They were fad diets popular in the late '80s and early '90s based on primarily eating grapefruit or a soup made from cabbage. The thing I want to caution you on when looking into any diet plan is making sure something is safe. Omitting entire food groups, having a diet that consists solely of smoothies, or consuming only one kind of brand food is not natural. Not only are you limiting yourself from nutrients that your body needs but you could also be severely inhibiting your caloric intake which may eventually lead to no weight loss as your body goes into survival mode. Your body needs food, it needs the nutrients found in food to create energy without calories energy is not produced. It's unhealthy when you are consuming too many calories or too little calories. The main point I'm trying to make is to be smart about this, you only get one shot at this life, one body to use so treat it with respect. Depravity or engorging is disrespectful and unsafe.
Sustsainable - On the topic of diet plans you also have to look at whether or not it is sustainable for the long term. For example, when I was doing the fitness challenge, Emilie, my personal trainer continually reminded me that the two workouts that I was doing each day was not normal. We were in a competition she would explain to me and I certainly could try to maintain a two a day workout regimen but then what would my life consist of? Working out and while it's important to be active, if it becomes the number one thing in your life above your role as a mother or a father then it's no longer healthy. What was important to her was that I created a habit of working out daily and she wanted for me to crave working out the same way I once craved eating a bag of potato chips. The same can be said of what I was eating during the last month of the fitness challenge, it was not normal and I knew that. Again, I was in a competition. The weeks prior to the last month were spent with Emilie training me on what was normal and healthy to eat. Any kind of diet plan that strays dramatically away from real life will not be sustainable for you. I'm putting it out there, no sugar coating here. If you choose to lose weight by doing something drastic as a means of getting quick results be forewarned that you will most likely gain the weight back in quick succession from when you stopped the diet. So unless you want to live a life that's made out of cabbage soup, try to change your eating habits to mimic a life you want to live and try to create a workout goal that's manageable for you and your family.
What is the easiest "S" out of the 3 S's for you to do? The most difficult?