It's a whole new year - time to start fresh! In light of new year's resolutions, many women look for a quick fix for losing weight... then wonder why they're back to square one a few short months later. According to dietician Melainie Rogers, R.D., it could be your diet plan that's keeping you from reaching your goals. Here are 5 diets to stay away from -- and 5 strategies to really help you lose weight.
Why It Doesn't Work: "The number one reason why a diet doesn't work is because it's not sustainable," says Rogers, whose New York City clinic melainie rogers nutrition llc helps more than 1500 clients lose weight each year. "Yo-yo dieting is very, very dangerous, because if you do that two or three or four times, next thing you know, your baseline weight [could be] 40 pounds above where it used to be," she says.
2. Diets that eliminate and/or promote specific foods. Some diets insist that you stop eating certain food groups, such as dairy, cooked food, meat, or even fresh fruit!
Why It Doesn't Work: These diets can ban food groups that contain vitamins and minerals your body needs. For example, diets that ban dairy foods such as milk and cheese can make it difficult to find good sources of calcium. Besides, Rogers says, that can backfire: "When people feel very restricted, eventually they're going to want to overeat on those foods," she says.
3. Diets that severely restrict carbohydrates, such as the Atkins Diet. These diets promise dramatic weight loss results so long as you swear off of carb-heavy foods, such as bread and potatoes.
Why It Doesn't Work: It takes your energy away--literally. Your body needs carbohydrates to build glycogen, which is important to keep you alert and moving throughout the day. "The body is naturally designed so that in between meals, some of the blood sugar is converted to a stored form called glycogen. That's stored in your muscles and your liver so that 2 or 3 hours after a meal as the blood sugar is starting to drop, the glycogen is re-released to the bloodstream as blood sugar, so it can be able to hold you through the next couple of hours," she says.
4. Detox diets, such as the Master Cleanse. This diet promises to rid your body of toxins (and extra pounds) by drinking glasses of lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water.
Why It Doesn't Work: The only reason why drinking this "cleansing" mix seems to work is because they severely restrict calories. Once you go back to eating actual food, your body will simply re-gain all that was lost. "It's like going into the steam room, and you just lose three pounds because you sweated it all out. But as soon as you drink and replenish the water... your weight is back up," Rogers says.
5. Diet Pills/Supplements. Hundreds of ads show "real" people who've lost weight and inches thanks to their product.
Why It Doesn't Work: The diet pill/supplement industry makes billions of dollars a year with false promises. These pills can even be life-threatening since they aren't even regulated by the FDA.
1. Faith. Studies show that people with a strong spiritual connection are more successful in life. Check out BV's article on how to use your faith to reach your weight loss goals.
2. Write it down. Record everything you eat. Studies show that those who write it down lose more than 50 percent than those who don't.
3. Forget about forbidden foods. A slice of chocolate cake won't prevent weight loss. "It's everything in moderation," Rogers says.
4. Exercise. Cardio and strength-training will burn calories and build lean muscle. It also releases feel-good endorphins that can prevent emotional eating.
5. Remember that it's a lifestyle change. Create a plan based on your life. Pay close attention to your daily routine, favorite foods and relationships. Come up with, gradual steps that focus on healthy habits. "Big changes can be very scary and non-sustainable, so try small, small, small changes that you add on over time," Rogers says.