Whether you’re flipping through a magazine, changing the channels on the television or standing at a bus stop; we are bombarded with weight loss advertisements.  Some promote low fat, others low carbohydrates, other meal replacement shakes.  Regardless of the program, they all claim to be the answer to all your problems.

Here is the truth….THEY ALL WORK…Sort of.

South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, Herbal Magic, Body by Vi, The Soup Diet, heck even the Grapefruit Diet will work for most people.  The science is simple; our bodies use food as fuel; to stand, walk, breath, sit, think, etc.  The term “Calorie” is what we use to quantify the amount of fuel we ingest in a day versus what we expend in a day.  All these diets (almost all diets) are plans that restrict the amount of calories we take in, so that even without exercise you are burning more calories (fuel) in your day then you’re taking in….End result is weight-loss!

So, if they all work then why do 80-90% of diets fail in the long run?  Answer…SUSTAINABILITY!

The ability to keep up with the diet forever is near impossible.  Imagine replacing breakfast and lunch with a shake for 30 days…most individuals would say this is very possible.  Now imagine replacing breakfast and lunch with a shake for the rest of your life.  I bet not too many people would be able to maintain that lifestyle.  Even if you were willing and able to commit, not many people could afford to continue buying these products forever.  The reality is that eventually you start replacing those shakes with real food and guess what starts happening?  You start gaining the weight back.  The situation is the same for all diets or programs.  In order for us to drop the pounds and actually maintain the weight-loss, it needs to be a lifestyle change that is realistic and attainable.  Yes, the results may not be as drastic or as fast but in the long term, you should be able to maintain the lifestyle more easily.

Now that I’ve probably disappointed and discouraged many of you, let me give you some motivation and direction to reaching your goals and actually maintaining them.

See a professional to help you get started – There are two good reasons to see a health and fitness professional to help you on this journey.  Firstly, most people not only need some direction in choosing the right foods to fuel there body they also don’t recognize how much or how little they should be eating.  Secondly, putting together an exercise routine that will be safe and effective is not as simple as TV or magazines make it out to be.

Exercise – This is the key to not having to go on a crash diet.  Because we burn calories when we exercise, this allows us to have some more freedom with our food choices.  No this doesn’t mean we can eat hamburgers everyday, but it does mean we can have that small piece of cake at the birthday party your going to, without feeling guilty.  Remember, sustainability is the key to long term success.  If we are able to still have that piece of pizza, or small French fry every once in a while, then we won’t feel food deprived, which often leads to falling off the wagon.

Eat 5 times a day – Once your health professional helps you calculate the amount of calories you should be ingesting, divide that number by 5.  That’s how many calories you should be eating at each of your 5 meals.  By having smaller meals throughout your day you help regulate blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism working throughout the entire day.

Drink more water – Water will not only give you a feeling of fullness which can help with cravings, it also helps boost your metabolism and eliminate toxins.  This is very important as many toxins and free radicals are stored in fat tissue.  Hence when we lose weight those toxins are excreted into the body.  If they aren’t eliminated they can affect the bodies overall function.

Stress Less – Chronic stress increases the hormone, “cortisol” which is associated with increased abdominal fat.

Sleep – Making sure our bodies have an adequate amount of sleep is imperative.  Without getting to technical, sleep has an effect on the increase or decrease in production of certain hormones that tell us when to eat and when we’re full.  Lack of sleep usually results in an increase in the “eat more” hormone and decrease in the “stop eating” hormone.