Treat Your Self; to Healthy Living!!

How giving up diets could help you succeed in weight loss.

After years of obsessing about weight loss, first shunning high-fat foods and then high-carb ones, it seems Americans are giving up formal diets in favor of healthy eating and wholesome foods.

A recent report by the market research firm NPD, based on a survey of 5,000 people, found that the number of Americans on weight loss diets was at its lowest rate in decades. As of February 2008, 26% of women and 16% of men surveyed said they were following a weight-loss diet, down from 39% of women and 29% of men in 1990.

At the same time, a 2008 American Dietetic Association survey of nearly 800 adults found that 79% said they aren’t doing more to improve their diets because they're already satisfied with the way they eat; 73% said it's because they don't want to give up their favorite foods.

The good news? They don't have to, say the experts.

"All foods can fit into a healthy diet, as long as you exercise and practice moderation," says Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, PhD, RD,a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Healthy Eating vs. Dieting

So why are fewer people going on weight loss diets? One reason, some experts say, may be that they have learned from past mistakes.

Diet books, low-calorie, fat-free, and sugar-free foods abound, but don’t appear to be making a dent in obesity statistics. Many dieters have been lured over and over again by promises of fast weight loss from the latest diet schemes, only to regain the lost weight -- and then some -- as soon as they go off the diet.

Better Food, Not More

Trends like the "slow food" movement, an interest in organic foods and in eating foods grown closer to home  are further shifting the momentum away from foods to avoid to foods to enjoy.

"If you shop at farmers markets, you are going to be buying natural food, not junk food," says Cindy Moore, MS, RD, nutrition director for the Cleveland Clinic

It can be a lot easier and more motivating to focus on what you can eat instead of what you should avoid, experts say.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 reported that obese women who avoided high-fat foods and focused on eating more fruits and vegetables lost 20% more weight that those who only avoided high-fat foods.

So what exactly should you be adding to your diet? Go for more plant foods and whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in nutrients and naturally lower in fat, salt, and sugar, experts say.

"When you fill up on nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat dairy, and other lean protein, there is less room for empty-calorie foods," Nancy Rodriguez, PhD, RD, a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut says.

Healthy Eating: Slow Down

Not only what you eat, but how you eat, is important when you're trying to eat healthfully and lose extra pounds, experts say.

One big step toward taking control of your diet is to eat more home-cooked meals.

"When you prepare it, you have total control over what is in the food, you can make it exactly how you like it, and better for you than in restaurants, where you have no idea what is in the food," says Ellie Krieger, RD, host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and author of The Food You Crave.

Also, forget about eating on the run. You'll enjoy your food more and ultimately, eat less, if you eat slowly and savor the flavors. Enjoy the conversation at the table, and give your brain time to get the signal that you are comfortably full.

"If you sit down and taste the food, you are more likely to be satisfied with less," she says.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 17, 2010


© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved



1.) Docs have a couple assumptions on why people are trending more towards healthy living than dieting but for me, I'm tired of all the crap! Straight up dieting to lose on the scale isn't working but past experience tells me that when i tried to eat more fruits, veggies and plenty of good protein then got some type of physical activity in I felt better and lost weight. It's not brain surgery. 

2.) They then talk about how it's important to cook at home so you can control what go into your food. And they are right! BUT who has the time to constantly be cooking health whole food meals? By the time i get done with everything at the end of the day it all i can do to microwave a steamer meal and hit the hay. 

3.) WHAT I LOVE!!! is when they incorporate slowing down, enjoying a conversation or the bold or intense taste of the food. For me that is the essence of living!! That is what we need more of. While it may make a huge difference on the scale spending more time being present in the moment could help with our over all health

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