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8 Secrets Popular Diets Won't Tell You

It's a secret!

If you've ever tried to lose weight by dieting, you might be surprised to learn that there are several important things diet plans don't tell you. This is my top 8 list.

There are only two non-surgical ways to lose weight. The first is by burning more calories than you take in, typically by exercising. The second is by reducing the total calories you eat.

If you read the suggested meal plans of many popular diets, you'll see they recommend consuming around 1,200 calories a day. That's 800 calories LESS than what the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the typical American should eat and less than HALF what the average American IS eating. If you cut your calories in half, you'll lose weight, but who can stay on a diet that drastic?

Diets are temporary. Over half the people who start a diet, quit within the first 90 days. If you really want to lose weight you've got to do little things to change how you live, not just what you eat. Many people lose weight by writing down everything they eat. It's easy to eat a bag of candy if you don't have to be accountable to anyone. It's much more difficult if you have to write it down and those empty calories stare back at you from a notebook.

Any diet that emphasizes one food, or one type of food, is destined to fail. It goes against the basic rules of good nutrition. Just eating one type of food all the time can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Even worse, it's boring. Do you want to go through life eating nothing but grapefruit or cabbage soup? According to the American Heart Association the only balanced diet is one that includes a variety of foods from every food group.

It's not about the special food restrictions, it's about changing your habits. Think your problem is too many carbs, too much white food or too much meat for your blood type? Wrong.

Food prohibitions are trendy gimmicks to help you modify your eating habits, they're not the reason you lose weight. You don't need a gimmick to develop good habits, only repetition. If you're trying to learn a healthy habit, concentrate on it for at least 90 days to make it stick.

When you start a diet, you'll probably feel tired. When you start a diet, you'll probably feel tired. To lose weight, a typical diet will cut your caloric intake. You body needs fuel to keep running. If you don't get enough, you'll get tired easily and your body will hang onto every fat cell it can. Fight that tired feeling and boost your metabolism by eating small meals throughout the day.

You have to exercise. If you don't, your metabolism will slow down as you lose weight, and you'll have to eat less to maintain the new lower weight. If that's upsetting, blame it on your ancestors.

A pound of fat burns about 2 calories per day. A pound of muscle burns three times as much. If you were living in a cave, the last thing you would want is a bunch of muscle, burning your calories up and making you hungry. So your body tries to get rid of muscle whenever it can. You have to fight to keep that muscle on, and exercise is the only way to do it.

No diet is designed just for you. In an effort to sell more books, "diet guru's" will design their plans to fit the broadest range of people possible. Unfortunately when they do that, they don't take into account your individual likes, dislikes, preferences, lifestyle and time constraints. Losing weight and getting in shape requires you to change habits in your life, not adopt the habits of a tofu eating yogi that can afford to spend $400 a day on a personal chef.

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It's your money that's important, your health is only secondary. Nobody is more interested in your health than you, so it's up to you to look at any dietary advice with a skeptical eye. Trust, but verify.

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7/29/2007