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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Weight Loss Tips

News flash! Americans eat too much and that's why they're fatter than the French. I was just reading a news article about a study that was done where portion sizes were compared in restaurants in the US and in France and it turns out that portions in the US are bigger! No shock, really. Then standing in the supermarket line yesterday I also read a cheesy tabloid article on a woman who lost over a 100 pounds on a diet she designed herself. And what was this diet you might ask? She limited herself to 2-4 servings of vegetables per meal, 3 servings of protein and a similar amount of complex carbohydrates. Eliminated sweets and snacks other than fruit, at least I think that's what I read.

Lately a number of people I know are on the Atkins diet, the Zone diet or some version of those diets and the thing that strikes me is how complicated they are. No combining certain foods, measuring portions, counting carbs, and the end effect I think is the same. If you are paying more attention to your diet and limiting portions you are likely to lose weight. Never mind what you're eating.

I once went on a diet before I got married and for the most part it was about choosing healthy options and eating four small measured meals versus three big ones. It worked. What didn't work for me was switching to low-fat versions of favorite foods. Since the introduction of low-fat foods, Americans have continued to gain weight. Mostly low-fat foods aren't very satisfying and and when you eat something that doesn't satisfy, it leads to eating more and more and more. Also low-fat isn't necessarily low-calorie and taking in lots of calories, well, scientists seem to think it leads to gaining weight.

So here is my tip for losing weight--do like the French, eat fabulous food and just try not to eat too much of it. I know it sounds easy and maybe it's not, after all the study also pointed out that if larger portions of good-tasting food are put in front of humans we tend to eat it all, even if we aren't hungry. But in my opinion being on a diet is as much about paying attention to how much you eat as it is to what you eat. So skip the diet and just pay a little more attention.