Admittedly, seeing the many, new low-carb foods fly off of the shelves in supermarkets and restaurants has been a little shocking. However, what has been more shocking than this recent explosion in Atkins-friendly, carb-reduced diet fads is the sheer number of people who buy into it all.
The vast majority of us are sincere in our efforts to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, which is obviously a positive step in the right direction. But when recent surveys show more than half of the general population ignoring basic nutritional reality simply because TV commercials and co-workers alike insist that cutting out the carbs will melt the inches off of a waist, there is a problem.
No one source can really be blamed for so many people eating up a defective diet strategy. When fads take off, as fads often do, the hopeful among us look at our expanded waistlines and mounting dress-sizes, and jump on board amidst the guarantees of fast–and sustained–weight loss. A better ?you? is promised, with minimal effort required, combined with a simple to follow diet strategy. Bread is evil, protein is angelic, end of story. Such is the magic of the Atkins-esque low-carbohydrate diet–at least, that?s how it is presented to the masses.
No sooner than low-carb salad dressings began appearing on supermarket shelves does the Atkins cookie begin to crumble. Between increasing reports of low-carb dieters experiencing cholesterol levels shooting through the roof, and bread-free eaters beginning to gain weight back, many intrepid dieters have been left with a cold, empty feeling inside of them. The low-carb diet simply doesn?t work.
However, there is a new diet plan taking the nation by storm, one which is the ultimate alternative to the Atkins diet, and all carb-watching plans like it. Stranger still is the fact that this new miracle diet plan isn?t new at all–experts have been preaching it?s use since the late 50?s. This diet is guaranteed to melt those unwanted pounds off of you, and it isn?t a fad, or something heard from the friend of a friend of a friend. This strategy is 100% guaranteed to get each and every person in excellent shape, and once again fitting into those size 34 jeans and size 8 dresses. The miracle in question is called ?Get Off The Couch And Do Something.?
It all begins when you consult your family physician or local dietary expert, either of which will tell you that, while taking notice of the carbohydrates and fats entering your body is important, calories are the key to effective weight loss. ?Americans are under tremendous pressure to lose weight,? states behavioral psychologist Dr. John Foreyt of Baylor College of Medicine. ?As a result, people are willing to believe what defies science ? the notion that cutting carbs without cutting calories will generate lasting weight loss. The reality is, it is still important to control calories when following a low carb diet or any other type of diet.? Fat is the end result of calorie intake–if you ingest 4,000 calories in one day, and only burn off 3,000, the excess energy will be stored by the body in any number of ways, including fat. Almost 80% of doctors agree that a low-carb diet which doesn?t reduce calories is doomed to failure–keep that in mind the next time you wolf down a 318 calorie Beef Protein Platter from McDonalds, or a 440 calorie Chicken Bacon Ranch wrap from Subway?s Atkins-friendly menu.
While Calorie-watching is a vital part of any successful weight-loss program, it simply isn?t enough to produce positive and sustained results. Whether you are taking in 2,000 or 4,000 calories a day, your body still needs to burn away that excess energy, and the only way to do that is through exercise. Most medical experts agree that 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day are ideal for burning away extra calories, and these can take any number of forms: Walking, running, swimming, cycling, the list goes on. The method isn?t nearly as important as the end result–making your body burn up the fuel you?ve been generously feeding it. The only aspect of this step that is more important than the actual act of being active is embracing the understanding that weight loss takes time. Realistically, you should expect to drop between 1-4 pounds per week, which gives your body a chance to gradually adapt to the changes going on inside of it.
The key to honest and effective weight loss is accepting both calorie maintenance and regular exercise into your regular life schedule. ?Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best health insurance policies in the world. But despite its calorie-burning and heart-protecting benefits, its effect on weight loss is limited for many people, especially if it’s not coupled with dietary change.? claims Jonny Bowden, writer and medical analyst for iVillage women?s magazine. ?Cardiovascular activity is great for preventing weight gain and great for weight management, but when used alone, it’s not the perfect method for weight loss.? Only by finding a balance between smart meal choices and regular activity can you hope to realize significant weight loss that will last.
In the end, there is no magic formula for losing weight. So the next time a co-worker or friend tells you that a low-carb diet is the way to go, proudly take a bite out of your sandwich or muffin and give them a smug grin that screams ?I know better.? Sooner or later, the masses will shake out of their daze and realize the folly of their ways. And by the time they do, you?ll already be miles ahead in the weight loss game.