Source: Web exclusive: March 2008
With the rise in outdoor temperatures, an all-too-common spring ritual is beginning: The annual shedding of outer layers of clothing and along with them, the desire to shed winter insulation, a.k.a. body fat. But frequently, weight-loss efforts are abandoned well before the tulips lose their bloom. And whether it’s cutting too many calories or sticking to the same food—a recipe for boredom and bingeing—all too often people battle the bulge armed with the wrong weaponry and strategies. A smart approach to waist management can indeed make permanent weight loss a reality.
Losing a half to one pound a week can allow you to lose weight and not trigger starvation mechanisms like unrelenting hunger and fatigue. In addition, when the rate of weight loss is slow, only body fat is lost. On quick weight loss regimens, both lean body mass or muscle and fat are lost. And it’s the muscle you carry that determines your metabolic rate or calorie burning capacity.
This program offers interchangeable meal options that add up to 1350-1450 calories each day—which should result in a slow and healthy weight loss rate of one half to one pound (0.25 to 0.5 kilograms) per week. Each menu listing in a group provides a similar calorie count so that you personalize the plan according to your food preferences or daily schedules. Simply choose one of the offerings at each meal and snack. If you’re eating out, try to go for a similar meal size or calorie count.
If you’re working out regularly, have two snacks each day. As well, avoid long gaps between meals. If lunch is late, go for a snack in the morning and afternoon, if necessary.
But keep in mind that going for a variety of foods not only provides the likelihood of meeting all your nutrient quotas, but it can also stave off boredom. Eating the same foods day in and day out when you’re attempting to whittle away pounds makes decadent delights even more appealing.
Black coffee or tea can be added in moderation at any time. In addition to meals, include two cups/500 mL of skim or 1 percent milk or yogurt (200 calories, included in the plan total) at any time during the day—with meals or snacks, or simply when you’re hungry and in need of some fuel. Research also shows that they’re a super post-work food.
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Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian in private practice and is author of The Enlightened Eater’s Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods (Viking Canada).