Avoiding 'Diet Traps'
Dr. Emily Senay On The Wrong Ways To Shed Pounds
NEW YORK, June 1, 2006
(CBS) It's June already, so if you're not ready to put on that bathing suit and hit the beach, you're probably thinking about what you can do to shed those extra pounds in a hurry.
Well, advises The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay, watch out! All those miracle diets that promise you'll achieve your goal weight in a flash are usually all flash and no substance!
She says there are many "diet traps" you should and can steer clear of.
For starters, so-called yoyo dieting, which means the weight comes back almost as quickly as it comes off.
"We've all been through it," Senay observes. "You torture yourself to lose the weight. Then, if you're determined enough to take it off, as soon as you stop dieting, it creeps right back up on you, sometimes very quickly. The problem is that a lot of these quick fixes don't teach you how to eat, and you're not losing the kind of weight that's going to stay off.
Other traps include:
Thinking you have to starve yourself to lose weight
If you starve yourself, Senay says, yes, you'll lose weight, but you'll lose water weight first and some fat, and then your body is going to start attacking muscle to sustain itself. Very low calorie diets are dangerous. You need a certain amount of calories for your body to function and, when it doesn't get them, vital organs can start sputtering and eventually shutting down. So, don't starve yourself. There are much healthier ways to lose weight.
Diets that promise that you can eat all you want and still lose weight
If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, and that's the case here, Senay comment. Typically, claims like this come from diet pills. Sometimes they claim to cause some sort of chemical reaction that breaks down the food and prevents it from being stored in your body. Other times, it's a diet suppressant: You can eat whatever you want because this pill is going to prevent you from wanting a lot of food. Either way, our bodies have to obey the laws of physics. In order to lose weight, you have to expend more energy than you take in, and if you eat more than your body needs, all the extra stuff is going to have to go somewhere – usually, right to your thighs.
Fad diets that work for people we know, but not us
There are many of them out there, and you've got to be careful. A diet really shouldn't be a diet. It should be a way of life. If you choose a fad diet that completely eliminates whole groups of foods, such as carbs or fats, it's not teaching you how to eat. You need fats and carbs in your diet, and after you've been on the diet for a little while, your body is going to crave whatever it's missing, and you won't be able to stay on the diet. You can lose weight quickly when you make drastic changes in your diet like these, but you'll put it right back on as soon as you go off the diet.
Diets that promise things such as, "Lose 20 pounds in two weeks"
Often, they work, Senay says. There are ways to lose a lot of weight quickly, but it's not real weight loss. The majority of the weight you lose is usually water weight, and it won't stay off. Experts say the best way is to lose a pound a week. That means eating 500 fewer calories a day or burning off 500 extra calories a day. Eat healthy and exercise, and those pounds will slowly come off. It may take a while, but you'll establish healthy habits, and you won't gain it all right back.