Pyramid Diet Secrets
What are the best foods to reach a healthy weight?
Using the Pyramid to Lose Weight
MyPyramid is designed to create an eating plan that balances calories in and
calories out -- a plan that will maintain your current weight. To lose weight,
you can tweak that plan in several ways, experts say.
- Cut back slightly on serving sizes. If your MyPyramid plan
includes a 6-ounce glass of orange juice, for example, cut back to half a glass
and you'll save 52 calories a day.
- Don't spend all your discretionary calories. MyPyramid allocates a
certain number of "discretionary calories" for sweets and treats.
That's important, since diets that force people to say no to treats usually
don't work. But you don't have to use all your discretionary calories. Skipping
a treat now and then will further reduce your caloric intake.
- Establish a sensible "first step" weight goal. Let's say you
currently weight 185 pounds. Instead of entering your actual weight in
MyPyramid, enter a sensible goal you'd like to reach on your way to a healthy
weight -- 175 pounds for example. The program will automatically recalculate
your eating plan, reducing its calorie content. Once you've reached your goal,
you can enter a new goal. It's always wise, if you plan to lose a significant
amount of weight, to talk to your doctor first.
- Be more active. Physical activity burns calories. Your body burns
roughly twice as many calories during a brisk walk as it does sitting on a
sofa. If you follow the pyramid eating plan but burn an additional 500 calories
in exercise, chances are you'll slowly lose weight. By exercising more, you can
eat more -- a trade-off many dieters are happy to make.
Healthy Weight Loss You Can Live With
The secret behind the Pyramid Diet isn't revolutionary. Indeed, it's based
on what researchers have long agreed is the only way to lose weight: consume
fewer calories than you expend.
And it still requires commitment and concentration. "Even with MyPyramid
you still have to be careful to watch portion sizes and make sure foods don't
contain added sugar or fats," says Krebs-Smith. "When the program
recommends 3 cups of milk, for instance, that's based on skim milk. Half of the
recommended servings of grains are meant to be whole grains."
Following the Pyramid diet, in other words, will require most people to make
changes in the way they eat. But unlike many fad diets, they are all changes
for the better.