Step Diet: Count Steps, Not Calories
The Step Diet: How It Works
Diets don't work because most are temporary solutions or quick fixes. The Step Diet is a diet plan that shows you how to make small changes in eating and exercise habits that really do add up. Dieters are encouraged to take a hard look at their habits during the first week of the program. Then behavior tips throughout the book are designed to help you become more aware of eating mindfully and gaining control over problems.
The answer to long-term weight control is understanding energy balance. Calories eaten minus calories burned is the basic mathematical formula for energy balance and weight control. The Step Diet, based on scientific studies and research from the NWCR, shows dieters simple ways to trim calories and how to burn more calories to achieve weight loss through a negative energy balance.
On this plan you won't need to count calories or eat particular foods. The goal is to eat a healthy diet that satisfies hunger and results in slow and steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Emphasis throughout the book is on making small, permanent, easy changes in your diet and lifestyle that will promote a healthier energy balance.
To get started, use the pedometer to assess the usual number of steps you take daily. Then add 500 steps or walk a minimum of 2,000 steps a day (a 15-minute walk). Each week, add 500 steps until you reach the goal of 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles or 75 minutes) per day.
Don't have 75 minutes? You don't have to do the steps all at once. By using a pedometer, you can accrue steps throughout the day and let it serve as a motivator to find ways to add more steps, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car in the corner of the lot.
You can continue the Step Diet indefinitely, but the authors suggest just maintaining your initial weight lost on the plan before resuming the program again to lose additional weight. Why? Believe it or not, "losing weight is the easy part," says Hill, "the tough part is keeping the lost weight off forever." He explains that most weight loss occurs in the first 12 weeks, so it is a good time to get comfortable with your new weight and learn how to maintain it before going back on the program.
The Step Diet: What the Experts Say
What sets the Step Diet apart from other diet books is the emphasis on physical activity and the common sense approach of taking small steps to change eating behaviors. What could be easier than walking more and cutting 100 calories every day?
Susan Finn, former president of the American Dietetic Association and chairwoman of the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition, loves the Step Diet. "It is one of the easiest strategies for weight loss -- all you need is a pair of sneakers, a pedometer and some simple guidance on proper portions and healthy eating behaviors to be successful," she says.