- Remember the grapefruit diet?
I’ve read over 200 diet books and some of the advice I’ve come across is just plain wacky or even worse, dangerous to your health. Here are some of the nuttiest plans out there and suggestions on how to choose the right diet plan for you.
Oldies but Goodies
Some of the most famous fad diets are those that promote eating one specific food. These include:
Many of these diets have come out with updated versions that incorporate several well-balanced meals into their plan. However, their premise is still the same. They believe that eating more of a certain food is healthier and can help you lose weight. Unfortunately, more of one food usually mean less of another—and we should be eating a wide variety to make sure we’re meeting our nutritional needs.
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Want to know how to lose weight and keep it off? Registered dietitian Joy Bauer has helped folks lose hundreds of pounds on her Today show series Joy Fit Club. I had the privilege to speak with Joy on how people can achieve long-term weight loss success.
Q: Congrats on your new book The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan & Inspiration. What prompted you to write this book which showcases 30 the personal stories of folks who successfully lost weight?
Thanks! I started the Joy Fit Club series on the TODAY show about 4 years ago – we were looking for a powerful way to inspire viewers and show them that lasting weight loss is possible. Every other week, we induct a new member into the club — someone who has lost at least 100 pounds with diet and exercise alone (no pills, potions, fasting, or surgeries). The series was so popular and we got so many questions from viewers after the stories aired that we decided to put together a companion book, which would allow us to go into greater depth on the strategies our members used to achieve success.
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- Weigh the crazy dieting advice you receive very carefully.
Trying to shed pounds for bathing suit season? Be careful how you go about losing the weight. There’s so much nutrition misinformation out there—don’t get sucked into thinking you’ve found the magic way. Although there are many dieting faux pas out there, here are 5 common misconceptions I often hear.
#1: Avoid All Fruit
Fruit is nature’s candy and contains a form of sugar called fructose. Before you shun all sugar, it’s important to understand the source. Oftentimes, folks confuse natural sugar found in fruit with added sugar found in cookies, candy and sugary drinks.
Fruit contains about 60 calories per serving and a ton of vitamins, minerals, fiber and special plant chemicals that help fight disease. The sources of added sugar (like sodas, chocolate bars) typically contain hundreds of calories and not many nutrients. Of course, you need to balance out fruit with other foods, but any healthy diet plan should include several servings of fruit each day.
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The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet has been traditionally recommended for those with high blood pressure. However, this diet was recently ranked as the Best Overall Diet for Healthy Eating by U.S. News.
The DASH Diet was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in order to help prevent and lower high blood pressure (AKA hypertension). The diet promotes nutrients like potassium, calcium, fiber and protein, which have been shown help reduce high blood pressure. The plan emphasizes that you take in these nutrients by eating a variety of foods especially fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. High calorie meats (like red meat), high fat and high sugar foods are all discouraged, and reducing salt intake is encouraged. Although this plan was created for those with high blood pressure, it is no more than a well-balanced diet where whole foods are encouraged while high calorie and processed foods are discouraged.
The plan also encourages regular exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle including not smoking.
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Actor and comedian Lenny Clarke (star of Are You There, Chelsea? and Rescue Me) shed close to 200 pounds and has kept it off for 5 years. How’d he do it? I had the opportunity to chat with him about his weight loss success.
Q: You weighed 388 pounds, then went on Weight Watchers and lost 182 pounds. What was your “aha” moment that made you start taking action to lose weight?
Everything bad that I could do, I did do, including years of booze and drug abuse. To weigh myself, I had to go on a truck scale— at my heaviest it said 388 pounds. People were coming up to me and said “you look good” with horror in their eyes. They would rub my belly like Buddha and that was hurtful.
Even when I was filming my weight was an issue. During a scene in Fever Pitch, I was supposed to drive Jimmy Fallon to a baseball game. I was so fat I couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel and they needed to adjust it for me. When they shot There’s Something About Mary, I played the fireman who was supposed to come through the window to help Ben Stiller when he got himself stuck in his pants. I was too fat to fit through the window, so they needed to rewrite the scene.
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- Kick your weight loss efforts into high gear with these 5 easy rules.
Trying to shed a few pounds (and keep them off)? Do it the right way – these tips can help.
Rule #1: Eat!
Taking in fewer calories will promote weight loss, but cutting back too much can bring your metabolism to a screeching halt. Slow and steady is best: reduce your current intake by about 500 calories per day to lose one a pound per week.
Rule #2: Move
Regular physical activity keeps your metabolism working at a higher rate. Increasing your lean body mass also means you’ll burn calories more efficiently. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
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- Dietitian Cheryl Forberg
The NBC hit show The Biggest Loser has helped contestants lose hundreds of pounds and motivate a country in dire need of weight loss. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, including many hours of nutrition and food counseling provided by registered dietitian Cheryl Forberg.
Q: What was your role as the dietitian on The Biggest Loser?
As a member of the medical expert team, I participated in a week of screening physicals each season to help select the cast. I met with each prospective cast member to discuss their eating patterns, food preferences, weight loss/weight gain history to help me create personally tailored eating plans for each of them.
Q: I understand that you have both a culinary and nutrition background. Could you tell us about that?
Yes, I am a chef first, nutritionist second. I attended a sixteen month program in San Francisco to attain my chef diploma (formerly California Culinary Academy currently a Cordon Bleu school). I won an apprenticeship in France upon graduation and studied in restaurants in Champagne, Alsace and the Loire Valley. I returned to San Francisco to open Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio restaurant and moonlighted as a private chef to clientele, most of whom had some sort of dietary restriction — low fat, low sugar, low calorie. At the time there were few chefs with nutritional education and few dietitians with culinary training. I taught myself to adapt my classic French training to meet the needs of my clients. After several years as a private chef, I decided to legitimize what I was doing and returned to school at UC Berkeley to attain my BS in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics and become a registered dietitian.
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- Do you need help keeping your new year's resolution?
If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, it’s time to prepare yourself. Once times get tough, the excuses start coming. We asked top nutrition experts from around the country some of the most popular or outlandish excuses they’ve heard over the years. Do any of them sound familiar?
Excuse #1: “I end up eating my kid’s sweet snacks.”
D. Milton Stokes, MPH RD CDN, a Connecticut-based dietitian in private practice says “This is truly outlandish because the child doesn’t have to have those snacks (not that the snacks are forbidden, but unhealthy snacks aren’t manditory), but the parent seems to be using the child as a vehicle for dietary sabotage.”
Solution: Be mindful of the snacks coming into your home. Choose sweet snacks sparingly or for special occasions.
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- Should you announce your diet plans, or keep them a secret?
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. But once you begin your diet plan, should you announce it to everyone or keep your lips sealed?
Q: What’s the best way to ensure weight loss success, tell your friends and loved ones or keep it secret?
A: There’s no right or wrong way to do it. At the end of the day, to get rid of that gut, you’ve got to go with your gut!
Research supports that a lack of motivation and accountability are common barriers to dropping those pounds. That’s why weight loss programs like Weight Watchers consider meetings and weigh-ins keys to success. On the other hand, some experts argue that you’re better off keeping things quiet.
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- Which diet plan is the best?
With the holidays around the corner, the idea fitting into sparkly holiday outfit is starting to make some folks sweat. Many are tempted by diets that’ll help them lose 5 or 10 pounds in a flash. But is that really healthy or safe? U.S. News just released a new list of the healthiest diets, ranking the most popular diets from 1-20. You’ll want to give this a read.
What Are U.S. News Best Diets Rankings?
Many clients and friends ask me, “Which is the best diet?” That’s the million dollar question U.S. News set out to answer. To do so, they spent 6 months researching and analyzing 20 diets. In June, Twenty-two experts — medical doctors, dietitians, health educators — then rated each diet from 1 to 5 (5 being highest) in seven categories such as how easy it is to follow, short and long-term weight loss and its ability to prevent or manage heart disease or diabetes. Each diet was then ranked in 5 categories: Best Diets Overall, Best Weight Loss Diets, Best Diabetes Diets, Best Heart-Healthy Diets, and Best Commercial Diet Plans. You can see the results here. Today, US News added an additional category: The Best Diets for Healthy Eating.
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