In view of the millions of dollars Americans spend on weight loss programs and fitness, it is incredible that they swallow so much dietary nonsense. We pay large sums of money to support legitimate scientific research on health, and then perversely choose to follow the latest unschooled huckster who promises to show us how to lose 20 pounds in a week.
To be acceptable, any diet plan should incorporate these 10 features:
• Safety: The diet must provide through various foods sufficient nutrients and vitamins to meet the body’s needs.
• Effectiveness: Proper, well-balanced diets take time. Diets that are too fast, too ambitious or make ridiculous claims will usually fail.
• Maintenance: Look for a plan that puts you on a temporary calorie-restricted diet. People do not like permanent diets, with the result that most quit. Look for a diet plan that tells you not only how to lose weight, but how to maintain weight loss as well.
• Scientific: A successful and permanent reduction of weight is based on science. It is always nice to dream about effortless and struggle-free weight loss programs, but science tells us otherwise.
• Healthful: A successful weight loss plan not only reduces the risk of chronic disease, but also improves your quality of life. A proper diet and exercise program means better health in general, and this aids the body in fighting many physical disorders.
• Fitness: A person attempting to lose weight must participate in some form of daily exercise. Scientific evidence shows that weight maintenance is much easier for active people than for sedentary people. Regular exercise promotes physical fitness and frequently brings on other health benefits which cannot be achieved through weight loss alone.
• Exercise: As your level of activity increases, it becomes possible to eat more and still maintain a desirable weight.
• True loss: A gradual weight loss plan will promote the loss of body fat rather than merely water. This plan helps keep the weight off permanently.
• Inexpensive: A successful weight loss diet will stress inexpensive, healthful foods as well as exercise that can be designed to suit your lifestyle. Walking, cycling, swimming and jogging are basically sound, inexpensive exercises and burn off many calories. No pills, expensive “diet aids” or health spas are needed.
• Enjoyable: Progressive weight loss and enjoyable exercises can make dieting bearable. If the weight loss process is pleasant it will naturally tend to be successful.