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Are You a Low-Carb Diet Dropout?

Make the change to a healthier lifestyle

Diets Don't Work

All diets work, and no diet works. What this means is that any diet -- from low-carb to cabbage soup -- can help you lose weight. But usually, the extra pounds quickly return.

Fad diets take off weight because they dramatically lower your calorie intake. However, most are hard to stick to because they are unrealistic. They may forbid normal, healthy foods; ask you to eat certain foods in quantities that are impractical; or leave you so hungry that you end up bingeing. Many fad dieters say that the worst part is the strong craving for "forbidden" foods -- especially when they're foods usually classified as healthy.

The diet mentality implies that there is a beginning and an end to the weight loss journey. But unless you change your habits, when you go "off" the diet, you go right back to the same behaviors that caused you to gain weight in the first place. And your lost pounds get a return ticket.

How Atkins Measures Up

A study published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine evaluated the effectiveness of the Atkins diet, compared to a traditional low-calorie, low-fat diet. Study participants who followed the Atkins diet had lost more weight than those on the low-cal diet after three months and six months. But after a year, there was no difference between the two groups.

Sustaining weight loss is not a problem unique to the Atkins diet or other low-carb diets. The reason most diets eventually fail is that they don't tackle the eating habits that led to the weight gain.

Read the success stories on the Weight Loss Clinic home page and you'll have to agree: what works is a program like ours.

Weight Loss That Lasts

People who have succeeded in losing weight for the long term have taught us not only what it takes to get the weight off, but also how to maintain the loss.

According to the experts, a successful weight loss program is usually one that includes:

  • An eating plan based on normal, healthy foods that you like.
  • Self-monitoring of eating behaviors, using a journal or some other way to track what you eat each day.
  • Daily physical activity.
  • Support from family or friends (such as the ones you'll find on our message boards). This is critical for overcoming the inevitable obstacles.
  • Changes in your eating style, from cooking up lighter versions of favorite family recipes to eating out less often.
  • Modifying your lifestyle. This means making small changes that you're able to continue as a part of your daily routine.

Losing weight requires vigilance about your food choices and a commitment to physical activity. But before long, it feels less like a conscious decision than a way of life.

So forget about any fad diets you may have fallen for in the past. Instead, focus on getting healthier -- with a healthy, sustainable eating plan and lifestyle changes that will last forever.

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Reviewed on October 03, 2004

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