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Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D. Headshot

Diet Trends, Trendy Diets and Other Mistakes We Resolve Not to Make in 2013

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If you think superstars of the big screen and small are immune from the same weight issues the rest of us have, you're only half right. Yes, celebrities have doctors, nutritionists, personal chefs and fitness trainers at their beck and call (most of those benefits can be obtained from specialized, doctor-designed, nutritionist-supervised, affordable weight-loss food programs). But the stars are subject to the same psychological influences that stem from TV commercials, magazine ads and whatever the latest diet buzz is on Twitter. They get drawn in by so-called "sure things" such as the perennial "appetite-suppressing super berry" and the "belly-zapper contraction belt," as well as the "banana split diet." The temptation to go on a fad diet and lose and gain, lose and gain, and lose and gain some more, is overwhelming for celebrities, as well as the rest of us. Want to know what really happens with some of these wild and crazy fad diets?

Effects of Yo-Yo Dieting:

Yo-yo diets = very low calorie intakes.

Very-low-calorie diets trigger our bodies to go into starvation mode. Actually, it's more like "cannibal mode." Experts think that this is a built-in behavior mechanism that may have evolved as a defense against starvation. This means that your body becomes extra efficient at making the most out of the calories it receives. How does it do this? The body protects its fat stores for the long term and instead, it uses lean tissue and muscle as a calorie source. Ultimately, it results in loss of muscle. That's pure and simple cannibalism of its own tissues. Since muscle and lean tissue are the most metabolically active, they burn a lot more calories than does fat. The less lean tissue you have, the slower the body's metabolic rate (you will need fewer calories to sustain normal body functions). This, of course, is perfectly ideal in a deprivation situation, but not necessarily if you are trying to permanently lose weight. The natural tendency is to fall off the fad wagon, and, everyone knows what happens next. The weight comes right back on. Did you know that it is even tougher to lose that rebound weight? This is all the more reason why it is crucial to protect your metabolic rate during weight-loss efforts. You can achieve weight loss far more effectively and safely by consuming the correct proportion of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats, and maintaining a regular strength-training program.

Tips on How to Prevent Regaining Weight:

  • The first thing to do is to put on blinders and strictly avoid yo-yo diets.
  • Make a genuine effort to get the recommended amounts of exercise: two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week (brisk walking) and strength training on two or more days per week that works all major muscle groups.

    Or:

    One hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (jogging, running) each week and strength training on two or more days per week that works all major muscle groups

  • Get the right amount of sleep every night.
  • Do all you can to rid yourself of stress.
  • Love yourself as much as others love you.
  • Commit yourself to a lifestyle change at the beginning of your weight loss efforts.

Foods That Don't Make You Hungry:

If you really want to keep the excess pounds off, this is a very important tip to keep in mind: Try to stick with protein-based foods for your meals and your snacks.

A carbohydrate-based meal or snack will cause a spike in your blood sugar, causing insulin to be released in order to bring your glucose level back down to normal. As your blood sugars begin to drop, you will feel hungry again (typically craving carbohydrates) because your body wants to raise your blood sugar back up again. It is recommended that you combine complex carbohydrates with your protein in order to obtain the necessary quantities for a healthy diet. The protein will slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates, which will help your blood sugars to stay normalized.

Fiber-rich foods are also a great choice, as fiber takes longer for our stomachs to digest. Some examples of fiber-rich foods are beans, berries, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

Losing and maintaining weight is not about eating less; it's about eating better.

For more by Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., click here.

For more on weight loss, click here.