Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

Weight Loss 101

Posted: March 4, 2009 in calories, diet, success, weight loss

Back to basics — that’s the message from the latest study on weight loss and it’s creating a buzz among health experts. Why? The research, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, is truly impressive, consisting of “the longest, largest and most rigorous test of several popular diet strategies.”

The bottom line: after years of fad diets, new research shows that successful dieters are the ones who simply go back to the old notion of cutting calories.

The best summary I’ve read so far is this one in the Irish Times. Here’s a small sample:

“There isn’t any one way. That is the nice thing about none of these diets in particular winning,” says Christopher Gardner, a nutrition researcher at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center. “We don’t have any right to push low fat or low carb or high protein. If one of these approaches is more satiating, where you will not be hungry and have cravings, that is the one that will work for you.”

As you might imagine, I’ll have a lot more to say about calorie cutting in the very near future. In the meantime, the photo above is worth at least 1,000 words — and if it keeps you away from fast food, it just might save you 4,000 calories!

There’s nothing like finding someone who agrees with you — especially on a touchy subject like the fact that diets don’t work. But now you don’t have to take my word for it … Pam Anderson (not the boobs-bikinis-and-boyfriends Pam, this is the one who’s based her career on being a great cook! In fact, she’s the CookSmart columnist for USA Weekend.) has a new book detailing how she lost forty pounds — and kept if off, hello!! — without giving up good food.

It’s hard to imagine a tougher situation than being an acclaimed food expert and trying to lose weight. So what’s her secret? In two words — common sense! After years of dieting, Ms. Anderson realized that the hunger and deprivation that go hand in hand with most diets are killers. Instead of a temporary solution (in other words, yet another diet), she changed her lifestyle — and lost the extra pounds she’d been struggling with for years.

If you’d like to know more, here is a link to an interview, plus an outstanding and very personal podcast in which she talks openly about her lifelong struggle with weight. Great stuff, all of it! (In the interests of full disclosure, I am not receiving any compensation of any kind for recommending this book. Also, I do not know Ms. Anderson and have no personal interest in her work. I just loved what she had to say, mainly because she agrees with me!!)

Back when I was in college, I read “Sugar Blues” by William Duffy (and not by candlelight — we had electricity, even way back then!). Ever since, I’ve been leery of sweets. There have been plenty of other books written on the subject and in theory the debate about whether or not sugar is good or bad rages on. I say “in theory” because the sugar and corn (makers of high fructose corn syrup) industries have powerful lobbies in Washington and there are literally billions of dollars involved. All this makes it tougher to sort fact from fiction.

So to make things easier, let’s reframe the issue and put aside arguments about overall health. Instead, let’s focus on weight loss — something most of the nation is concerned about. Simply put:

If you’re trying to lose weight, sugar is not your friend.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a great little summary from the Washington Post’s Lean Plate Club with some excellent food for thought.