Weight loss has to be a lifestyle change. Diets don’t work! There is data in the medical literature showing that 98% of people who lose more than 20 pounds regain all the weight by the three-year mark.1 We don’t even need medical data to know that. How many times have you lost the same 10 pounds? Meals and food need to be thought out and planned in advance. If you show up to work not knowing what you are going to eat, you will grab the most convenient, best-sounding food when you are hungry. Then you are going to be upset about what you ate and possibly use that meal as a reason to just “fall off the wagon.”
I recommended keeping a list of ten different meals you enjoy so you don’t have to reinvent the process of what is for dinner every day. I will help guide you on what types of foods to eat, but the exact meals have to be something you and your family will actually eat. I recently asked several of my coworkers what types of healthy meals they made for their families and then made them for my family. My kids and husband would not eat a single bite and are still complaining about those meals. I heard them loud and clear: they are never going to eat quinoa and chicken thighs. You need to make what you will eat. Then make enough of each dinner that you can take leftovers for lunch the next day.
Use a grocery app and order your food to pick up or be delivered. That will help keep you on track and save time. Most of these grocery apps have a “previously ordered” option, so reordering your favorite foods is very easy. By avoiding the grocery store, you will avoid all the traps of seeing the holiday baking goods and seasonal goodies that can be so tempting. You will also avoid buying all the stuff at Target you didn’t know you needed.
Food—OK, so what should you eat? Stay away from processed foods. The obesity epidemic in America began in the early 1980s when we switched our diet to low fat. In order for low-fat food to taste good, it was replaced with sugars and sugar substitutes. How many of you remember waiting for the grocery store to restock Snackwell cookies? Since the 1990s our waistlines have skyrocketed and, overall, we became an obese nation. It’s time to eat real food.
If you go to the grocery, shop the outer aisles of the store. Your body does not need processed sugars or flour. Your body doesn’t need anything processed at all. This does not mean you need to stay away from all carbohydrates. You can eat fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and starchy vegetables. This follows more of a Mediterranean-type diet. In the medical literature, this type of diet has been the only diet to demonstrate patients consistently losing weight and keeping the weight off.2 Again, these are lifestyle changes and not a diet. Although this way of eating is lower in carbohydrates, it is not giving you permission to eat bacon cheeseburgers all day as long as you don’t eat the bun. There is some new data showing patients who eat low carbohydrate but very high-fat diets are finding themselves with increased cholesterol and cardiac risk factors.3 A well-balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, and protein is the best option.
1. L. Montesi, M. El Ghoch, L. Brodosi, S. Calugi, G. Marchesini, and R. Dalle Grave, “Long-term weight loss maintenance for obesity: a multidisciplinary approach” (Feb. 26,2016); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777230/.
2. T. T. Fung, K. M. Rexrode, C. S. Mantzoros, J. E. Manson, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu, “Mediterranean diet and incidence of and mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke in women,” Circulation, 2009 Mar 3;119(8):1093-100.
3. C. Kosinksi and F. A. Jornayvaz, “Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies,” Nutrients (May 2017); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28534852.