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Eat, Drink, and Exercise

Be merry with a good eating plan

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Eat, Drink, and Exercise

Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, Zone, and Bernstein diets are in mainstream practice. Yet research is clear that as long as we are dedicated and compliant, any weight-loss diet will work. Unfortunately, 95 percent of all dieters regain lost weight.

Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, Zone, and Bernstein diets are in mainstream practice. Yet research is clear that as long as we are dedicated and compliant, any weight-loss diet will work. Unfortunately, 95 percent of all dieters regain lost weight.

It is no secret that we overeat on a regular basis. With our cultural holiday traditions focused on customs of feasting and plenty, it’s no surprise many of us are looking for ways to lose weight. But restrictive diets interfere with good health, which is better achieved through a regular good eating plan.

Skinny Fat

Dieters also lose the wrong type of weight. Most conventional dieting results in loss of lean body mass, causing us to remain overfat, with an out-of-balance, lean-tissue-to-fat-mass ratio. This imbalance occurs when the weight we lose comes predominantly from muscle instead of fat–producing a “skinny-fat” body composition.

Looking normal on the outside but having excess fat on the inside may result in the same disease risks as those who appear overweight. What the scale says is not a definitive assessment of a healthy body composition.

What’s Wrong with Dieting

Dieters don’t get enough calcium, experience loss of muscle strength and endurance, have decreased oxygen utilization, thinning hair, loss of coordination, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, and they experience fainting, weakness, and slowed heart rates.

Dieting also impacts your mind. When you restrict calories, you restrict your energy, which in turn can restrict your brainpower.

On our continuous and elusive quest to seek a mythical diet that’s quick and convenient, sweet yet savoury, satisfying and still good for us, we usually let go of the one thing that we’ve known for generations: eat less and exercise more. This is a simple formula, yet an increasingly difficult thing to do when faced with provocative promises of easy weight loss and so many confusing, often deceiving, diet “solutions.”

Regular and Reasonable

To achieve optimal body composition and overall health, we must let go of archaic methods of dieting and begin enjoying our food in regular, reasonably sized portions, without bingeing. We must also integrate effective lifestyle changes that include routine exercise and stress management.

To not diet, and have it work for you, write out a two-week diary of your current eating habits. List everything you eat and drink, along with the times of day you do so. Don’t alter your habits until you review them on Day 15. If you are not doing all 10 things in the This Is Not a Diet guidelines (right), then find creative ways to work them into your routine. Evaluate yourself again after one month. Repeat this re-evaluation procedure until you find that all 10 guidelines have been implemented. You will end up with a healthy body composition and be successful at not dieting.

Food Facts

In 2005, Canadian consumers spent slightly more than $131 billion on food and beverages. Curiously, we then proceeded to spend more than $92 million on diet supplements.
Recent Canadian trend analysis suggests that 65 percent of adult females and 35 percent of adult males are currently dieting.

Apparently food is an obsession that we all pay for. An article published in 1999 in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association estimated the total direct cost of obesity to taxpayers is approximately $1.8 billion, or 2.4 percent of the total health care expenditures for all diseases in Canada.

This is Not a Diet

Maintain ideal body composition and good health with a nutritional routine that follows these 10 guidelines:

  1. Chew food well.
  2. Increase antioxidant foods to protect you from disease by eating beans, berries, chocolate with 85 percent cocoa solids, and one or two glasses of red wine daily.
  3. Drink plenty of water between meals rather than with meals, when it dilutes digestive enzymes.
  4. Eat small meals often (but don’t exceed your energy needs).
  5. Eat eight servings of veggies and two servings of fruit every day.
  6. Eat organic as much as possible.
  7. Avoid processed foods.
  8. Avoid meal replacements or nutrition bars.
  9. Supplement with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  10. Never eat fast food and don’t eat takeout or in restaurants more than once a week.
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