Statistics tell us that 36 percent of Americans are obese, so it's not surprising that the diet industry generates more than $60 billion each year. Consumers are bombarded with diet information touting the next "big thing" to help them lose weight.
While some diet plans are built upon sound scientific research and study, many more offer "lose-weight-quick" promises that are simply too good to be true. These fad diets often focus on unrealistic goals such as eliminating entire food groups; adding special bars, shakes or diet foods; or promising you don't need to exercise. The contradictory information can be confusing and frustrating to consumers.
The best way to lose weight and improve health is to adapt a healthy eating lifestyle—not a diet. One program that is designed to achieve a long-term weight control is the Mayo Clinic diet. (Although, I wish the Mayo Clinic folks removed the word "diet" at the end and replace with "lifestyle"). This program focuses on an individual's lifestyle, not simply what they eat. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach, rather it teaches you how to choose healthy foods and portions and to develop healthy lifestyle habits so that you can maintain a healthy weight for life.
The diet is broken down into two sections over 12 weeks: Lose it!" and "Live it!" Part one focuses on 15 key habits—ones to add and ones to break. Healthy habits to add may include exercise, eating a breakfast, eating lots of fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains, and consuming healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats. Unhealthy habits to break may include watching TV while eating, snacking, except on fruits and veggies and eating too much sugar.
In the second part, "Live it!" phase, participants learn how to balance their weight loss equation—how many calories are taken in through food and how many are burned off through physical activity—to help them meet their weight loss goals. It is possible to lose 6 to 10 pounds during the "Lose It" phase and an additional 1 to 2 pounds each week during the "Live It" phase.
The focus is not on calorie-counting – unlimited snacking on fruits and vegetables is allowed and no food group is completely off-limits. The focus is instead on developing a pattern of healthy eating to follow for life. The healthy foods the program emphasizes are easily available and affordable in any grocery store. Participants are also encouraged to keep food logs, activity records and set personal goals to achieve lifestyle change.
When it comes to the Mayo Clinic diet, the name behind the diet belongs to one of the most respected medical organizations in the world, so it's no surprise it is popular. It also means its experts have developed the diet through research and clinical experience, and stands by it enough to risk its good name and reputation on its safety and effectiveness. It is one of the most sensible and effective ways to lose and maintain weight for a healthy lifestyle.
Caldwell is a registered dietitian at Anne Arundel Medical Center . The next Mayo Clinic Diet class, led by a registered dietitian and an exercise physiologist, starts at Anne Arundel Medical Center on Tuesday, September 9th from 4:00-5:30 for 12 weeks. To get pricing or to register, visit AAMCevents.com (keyword: weight management) or call 443-481-5555.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun