Do You Know Nutrition: Lifestyle change will aid in weight-loss quest

By Phylis Canion
March 13, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 12, 2012 at 10:13 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

Like many others, I started a diet after the new year. I have tried many with little success. Can you please share with me why so many diets just don't work - or at least for me? I have tried diets from the cabbage soup diet, low fat diet, low-carb diet and banana diet to name a few, and while I may lose a little, I always seem to put the weight back on, sometimes even more weight than I lost. It is frustrating and I am at my wits end trying to figure out my next step. Is there a better diet for women? Please help me.

The bottom line is that most diets are a temporary fix for a permanent problem. In order for a diet to work, you should change your eating behaviors (i.e., chew your food properly) and lifestyle (i.e., do not eat at 9 p.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m.), reduce your stress and it should not be an on/off program.

The most effective way to begin a lifestyle change is to gradually add healthier foods, supplement with whole food daily vitamins, drink plenty of good water and incorporate exercise a few times a week.

If you want to lose weight, you will have to eat fewer calories (than you burn daily).

I recommend you choose foods that you can see yourself enjoying, yet they are still nutritious and healthy and you can continue to include those foods in your eating program, even as you age.

Do not cut your calorie intake too dramatically because if you deprive your body of the necessary calories, your body will think you are in the middle of a famine and will do its best to keep you from dying of hunger. By going into starvation mode the body lowers the metabolic rate to preserve fat and energy reserves.

The result is that the body will consume your muscles before it will start on your fat stores because muscle tissue requires the most calories. Your body is very smart and programmed to survive. Unfortunately, we are a society of instant gratification - open something up, zap the contents and hurriedly eat it.

I believe that old saying, "You are what you eat," has a clearer meaning now than ever before. The management of stress plays an integral role in dieting. Be it mental, physical or emotional, stress is not a state of mind.

Studies indicate that regular stress causes a chronic immune response, which is not conducive to weight loss. There are many ways to employ a successful diet, and some diets do work better for some than for others.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that low carbohydrate diets work better for men and that the Mediterranean diet works better for women. Bottom line, a successful eating regime is multi-faceted and requires discipline, desire and commitment.

Thought For the Week: In order to change, we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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