Weight Management: The Alternative to “Diets”
We tend to be very impatient with weight loss because change is hard. After the excitement of new promises and new eating and exercise routines wears off, we are faced with a rigid plan that is hard to follow in our “real” world. It ignores our internal signals to eat, messes with our metabolism and interferes with the full enjoyment of our lives.
It is inevitable that rigid eating and exercise plans will become mundane. Most people will find them nearly impossible to follow. Many motivated people start a plan with so much intensity that they burn-out and sooner or later rebound to their old lifestyle patterns.
In order to find a plan that you can stick with and creates real change, consider these three different mind-sets: (hint: the non-diet approach works best!)
|American Lifestyle||Non-Diet Approach Lifestyle Change||Fad/Extreme Diet and Exercise Plan|
- Steady weight gain
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Large portions
- High taste (high sugar, fat and salt), highly processed, less nutritious foods
- Erratic eating style (less frequent meals, more frequent snacks)
Fad/Extreme "Diet and Exercise" plans
- Rapid weight loss
- Inflexitble lifestyle
- Rigid eating plan—often with low taste or low interest foods
- Ignore internal hunger and appetite regulators
- Requires high motivation and excitement
- May result in feelings of guilt when unable to follow the plan closely
- All foods can be included in reasonable portions (for instance, if you often eat 2 cups of ice cream, try 1 cup rather than none at all).
- Moderate increase in activity level
- Changes started that are enjoyable and sustainable (for example, if you love chocolate, work it into your meal plan).
- Slow change in body composition, which may be noticed as a change in clothing size. Less focus on the number on the scale, which can be slow to change.
The non-diet approach encourages:
- Knowledgeable eating
- Varied meal plan with portions adjusted based on hunger signals.
- Meal plan includes a variety of foods, and no foods are forbidden. However, snack foods, sweets and processed foods should be eaten in sensible portions with meals, not alone as snacks.
- Regular meal times based on your schedule, but with no more than 4 to 5 hours between meals. Eat within 30 minutes of feeling hungry.
- Balanced meals that include carbohydrate, protein and a moderate amount of fat.
- Moving your body in enjoyable activities
- Managing your stress and emotions
- Making lifelong changes instead of temporary fixes
Let’s get started! Write out at least three goals in each of the areas below with the help of your nutritionist.
Competent Eating Goals
Moving Your Body Goals
Stress Management Goals
Do you need help managing weight in relation to your other medical conditions? Would you like a program individualized to your lifestyle? Are you having difficulty knowing how to begin? Is it difficult for you to stay motivated? Then we encourage you to meet with a registered dietitian at any of our locations listed below.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/24/2012
Copyright © 05/24/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#406
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