​Dieting Tips That May Keep the Weight On

Stack of three muffins.A new year, a new you, right? Well, if you have resolved to lose weight in 2010, you may think that as long as you follow diet advice, the number on the scale will drop. Not always. Let’s look at some of the advice out there and whether or not it really works.

  1. Drink eight glasses of water a day. It is important to be well hydrated, but drinking more water alone may not curb your appetite or prevent you from consuming high-calorie foods. Having a glass of water with a cheeseburger means you still get all the calories in the burger! What can help is to decrease intake of high-calorie beverages in favor of low-calorie items, including water, vegetable juice, sparkling water, coffee, and tea, so at least you aren’t drinking your calories.
  2. Cut portions to an absolute minimum. If you want to lose weight, you should slash your intake as much as you can, right? Wrong. We eat a certain volume of food every day, so if you go from a 12-inch diameter plate to a salad plate, you are probably not going to feel satisfied. It’s a better idea to gradually decrease the amount of food you eat — maybe two to three bites less at each meal.
  3. Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods. First of all, the calories in many of these items are identical to those in the regular products. Second, the word free implies “eat as much as you want,” so you end up consuming >MORE than you normally would. Third, these products really don’t taste as good as the “real” ones, so you may not be satisfied. So, use some fat in cooking — a small amount of olive oil, or a few nuts on a salad, or a small scoop of regular ice cream instead of sugar-free.
  4. Follow a diet 100 percent of the time. No one is perfect when it comes to eating, and the problem with this attitude is that if you “cheat” by eating a food that is not allowed, you may say, “Well, I’ve already blown my diet, so I may as well eat whatever.” Better advice: if there is something you really want, then make a deal. Have the cookie instead of the potato, rather than both.

Bottom line: to have a little less of you — discriminate, don’t eliminate, know what you eat, and take your time. Sit, chew, enjoy!

Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, Director of Sports Nutrition, UPMC

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