Column: Dieting 101
Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2005
This week I received a letter from a woman inquiring about diets. She wanted to know: Why is it that diets do not seem to work? They may work for a while but then I start to gain weight back. What about diet pills you see in malls and on television? Are there health risks involved and do the pills really work? These are very good questions and we will address them in this article.
I believe to be on a "diet" it needs to be one that can be done for a lifetime. So what happens with someone who starves him or herself? Is this a good lifetime diet? In the beginning you may loose weight, so what happens when you get as skinny as you want?
I believe you have two choices: 1. Keep starving yourself and eventually die, or 2. Start to eat again and gain back weight. These choices may sound harsh, but when you really think about it, it is the TRUTH!
Then the cycle starts again. This is not a lifestyle diet. A lifestyle diet is one that you can maintain throughout your entire life. What about a diet where all you eat is cabbage soup? Will you lose weight - absolutely! Can you live on this diet everyday for the rest of your life - no way!
The next weight loss gimmick is taking weight loss pills. What do these do for you? The pills may suppress your appetite, which means you will in essence be starving yourself, and the pills may speed up your metabolism. Many of these pills contain "ephedra" also known as "Mahuang" which shrinks blood vessels and increases the heart rate. It also contains caffeine, which is not usually printed on the labels.
They use words like "ephedra" in place of caffeine. Possible side effects from this pill are: high blood pressure, psychosis, irregular heartbeat, stroke and seizure.
Is losing a few pounds worth the risk of any of these side effects? In some cases the ingredients from these pills have caused death because of problems such as heart attacks.
Many weight loss techniques will temporarily work for some, but how long did they keep the weight off? Ask yourself if you were able to keep it off for many years without gaining back the weight.
Going from diet to diet, losing weight and gaining it back over and over again ("the yo-yo effect") is not healthy. By losing weight and gaining it back time after time will only mess up your metabolic rate.
A person needs to have a way of eating and exercising that they are comfortable committing to throughout their life. A temporary fix does not solve the problem.
For example: If you put duct tape around a leaky pipe in the sink, what will eventually happen? It will eventually leak again. The tape is just a temporary fix. The more you keep re-taping it, the worse the pipe breaks down.
A person needs both exercise and proper nutrition. You cannot have one without the other. It is kind of like having a job and making money. You cannot have one without the other. If you do not work, then you cannot make money. If you do not make money for the business, then there will be no work.
I know people that have tried diet after diet and still have not lost the weight they want. Many people have given up on healthy eating because they feel like they have to measure everything out before they can eat it. I agree that would be no fun.
A person would probably get tired of eating healthy if they had to do that. Eating should not be a hassle or something that a person feels guilty doing. It takes time to learn how to eat right, but once you learn it is as easy as riding a bike.
Why will a person try so hard at perfecting their job duties, or their hobbies, but not with what they eat? Eating right is not just about losing weight. It is also about all the positive attributes it gives your body.
The first step a person should take is to commit themselves to be healthy. That begins with exercise and a healthy eating lifestyle.
Do not forget to sign up for the Niles-Buchanan YMCA coed adult softball league - deadline May 2nd.
Thought of the Week: Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. - Benjamin Franklin