Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's the Best Way to Lose Weight?

This a very common question--with so many diets, diet books, fad diets, diet pills and meal plans, how do you know what really works, or what may even be harmful? I've come up with a short list to help you determine if a diet will work long term for you. Check to see that it incorporates these 5 F's:

1) Food: Is there real food on this plan? Or do you have to make powdered shakes, heat frozen meals, or order supplements from a company? The closer the plan is to how you usually eat, the easier it will be for you to follow. Consider what will happen if you run out of pre-packaged meals or feel like munching on something instead of drinking your breakfast. Sometimes substituting a shake in place of a meal will work; but if you have to keep it up, will you be able to for long?

2) Flexibility: Ideally the diet plan will allow for some changes. If it's a set-in-stone, "this is what you must have for lunch on Tuesday" type of diet, think about what will happen if you have company, want to eat out, have lunch served to you at a business meeting, etc. Good weight-loss plans shouldn't be only black or white: You should be able to substitute a food item, switch off meals during the day and between days, and include some "free" foods if you need a snack. Weight Watcher's is a great example of a flexible plan: you get a certain number of points to use during the day and YOU choose what you eat and when.

3) Financials: How expensive is this plan to follow? If it's all organic or requires a certain brand of snack bar or pre-made meals, you could be in for some sticker shock. How long will you be able to afford this meal plan? There are lots of diet plans that don't require any expensive add-ons. 

4) Filling: Will you be satisfied, or starving? If a diet leaves you continually empty and miserable, chances are you won't be able to stay with it for long. Healthy diet plans incorporate lots of fiber-containing foods to assure your stomach isn't growling long before it's time to eat again. The DASH diet is a great example of a filling and healthy diet.

5) Forever: The best diet is one you'll be able to stay on forever, literally. If you learn to change your habits, eat a bit less and move a bit more, it will simple become your lifestyle; not something you go on and off repeatedly.
The Beck Diet Solution is a great example of how you can change the way you think to change the way you eat. Judith Beck has books and workbooks available to guide you day by day to make these changes. Join us for a group teleclass (that means you can live anywhere in the world and participate with us); find out more and register here. Grab a friend and join us now!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Accurate are Online Calorie Calculators?

I looked online for a calorie calculator today because I'm trying to figure out how many calories I should eat each day. How accurate are these online calculators? I am a 21 year old female, 5'6" tall and 118 pounds. The answer was 1800 calories a day, but I am full when eating just 1600 calories. Should I continue eating more even though I am full at 1600?  Thanks, Donna L.

Hi Donna,

Many of these calculators work on scientific formulas that can very closely estimate your calorie needs based on your height, weight, gender and age.
The 1800 calorie level is the estimated amount necessary to maintain your weight, but is also based on your activity level. If you are more active you may need even more calories to maintain your weight. If you consume fewer calories you are likely to lose weight. 

You have to play around with the numbers a bit, as everyone is different. 

If you find you cannot maintain your weight with what you are eating, there are a few ways you can do this. One is to get less exercise (not usually recommended!) and another is to try to get more calories in. If you need to eat more calories, but get full too soon, consider cutting back a bit on high fiber foods like raw vegetables and replace them in softer form (cooked vegetables, soups or juices); or consider adding calories in the form of beverages like milk or juice.
There are  commercial high-calorie beverages like Boost, Ensure, and Carnation Instant Breakfast drink that can add 200 or 300 calories a day to your intake, bringing your calorie level right to where you need it.