To Your Health
June, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 06)
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Weight-Loss 101

Change Your Body By Changing Your Lifestyle

By Dr. Stephanie Pina

Low carb, no carb, low fat, raw food or prepackaged - which diet is your current favorite? In the quest to lose weight and live a healthier life, we have become addicted to following the latest trends in the diet world.

It seems as if every month a new diet, exercise contraption or weight-loss protocol springs forth, promising quick and painless results.

When the latest trend appears, we automatically think it's what we've been looking for the entire time. Some people seem to find the right fit and the results are amazing. For the rest of us, we might see some short-term improvement, but soon revert to our old habits of eating on the run, missing meals and not finding time to exercise. No matter which diet or combination of programs you choose to help you lose weight, there are a few common threads linking all effective diets and weight-loss protocols. Focus on these common concepts and take the first important steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

A plate full of strips of paper that have healthy words printed on them. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark It's About Food Replacement, Not Food Elimination

Most weight-loss protocols generally focus on limiting what you shouldn't eat and decreasing the amount of food you should eat. Some diets have their own spin on which types of foods are best to eat (or avoid) to achieve optimum weight loss. These diets have been successful for people who consume meals high in processed foods, limit the variety of foods they eat and/or often eat on the run. The guiding principle to remember is to introduce better mixes of foods into everyday meals. This helps your body change the way it uses food to make energy.

A middle aged couple shopping in the produce aisle. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark We also have to get more involved with our food choices, particularly when to start and stop eating. Diets do this by emphasizing the elimination of excessive eating, sugars and unnecessary calories, while introducing different food options that support weight loss instead of weight maintenance. Diets promoting foods higher in protein help by slowing down sugar absorption and providing essential amino acids for muscle growth. High-complex-carbohydrate diets help reduce appetite by prolonging the feeling of fullness (satiation) and improving intestinal movement.

When people choose or are placed on calorie-restricting diets, they often are left with few food choices, which leaves them constantly feeling hungry. A similar situation can be seen when whole-food groups such as wheat and diary are eliminated because of their inflammatory and allergenic properties. Popular juicing and liquid cleansing diets that limit whole-food consumption work by limiting the amount of digestive activity the body has to do. There are people who have reactions to certain food groups - those mentioned above being the most common - which can lead to weight gain and water retention.