Today is Thanksgiving day! So to every one a “Happy Thanksgiving”. Kitchens around America will be in full swing pumping out delicious foods of various kinds. We will be enjoying turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and more food then is possible to consume. So we think. I will eat and watch my waist expand before my eyes as I enjoy all that is set before me. Then there is dessert! Pumpkin pie with gobs of whip cream yum. Then football and more food. Oh and then then the infamous turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberries double yum. Yes the food will be plenty the company great. Did I mention more food?

So on today of all days why would I want to write about dieting? Because it seems we are a nation obsessed with trying to lose weight.To be honest I also know that I need to lose weight to get my blood pressure down.

According to new statistics Americans spend 60 Billion dollars a year in an attempt to lose weight. This equates to about $3,000.00 dollars every minute of every day, 365 days a year. Considering the fact that 75 million Americans are actively trying to lose weight, that’s $800 per person per year!Yes despite this massive amount of money being spent yearly 2 out of 3 of Americans are still considered overweight or obese. But why? Because dieting simply does not work, I know from experience. Yes you lose some weight and some people a lot of weight. But guess what happens when you stop? The weight comes back and for many they end up weighing more than when they started the diet.

Being overweight is becoming the new normal. When other family members are overweight it bothers us less and less.

Why Dieting Fails

Have you ever tried to lose weight with a trendy, so-called “diet” or weight-loss gimmick only to experience frustration and failure? You’re not alone. These types of plans often set you up for failure.

Diets Fail Because:

Diets deprive us. Many diets involve eliminating certain foods or even whole food groups. This is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic for the long term.

Diets are temporary. Once they have reached their goal, most people go back to “normal” eating, so the weight comes back.

Diets often don’t fit into normal life. Weighing and measuring food may help you lose weight, but aren’t practical as long-term strategies for most people.

Diets can be expensive. Buying special foods can rack up a big bill quickly.

Diets can actually lower your metabolism. When you drastically cut back on calories, your metabolism tends to slow down. You burn fewer calories and the diet becomes less effective.

Diet is only half of the equation. Lifetime weight management is not just about what you eat. It requires physical activity as well. Experts recommend 60-90 minutes a day most days of the week.

The other problem with diets lies in the very way we describe them. In today’s nomenclature, the term “diet” usually refers to a temporary change in food choices that will help us fit back into our bathing suits or look good when we see an ex at an upcoming wedding. More importantly, what it doesn’t always imply is a long-term change that will redefine how we view and eat food for the rest of our lives.

Commitment can be scary, but this is one area of our life that we should welcome permanent change because lasting changes in our diet can also mean lasting changes in our energy levels, health, and waistlines. In general, as a culture we could benefit from replacing “going on or being on a diet” with “having a well balanced diet.”

Dieting Or Lifestyle Changes?

According to two researchers, Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, A call for an end to the so-called diet wars. In the they are all equally as good, or bad, in helping people fight obesity.

In the end, people become confused thinking that one diet is superior to another, they said. But in fact changes in lifestyle, not diet types, are the true ways to prevent weight gain and the associated ills of diabetes and circulatory disease.

“The amount of resources that have gone into studying ‘what’ to eat is incredible, and years of research indicate that it doesn’t really matter, as long as overall calories are reduced,” Appelhans told Live Science. “What does matter is ‘how’ to eat, as well as other things in lifestyle interventions, such as physical activity and supportive behaviors that help people stay on track in long term.”

The researchers cite numerous studies that demonstrated only moderate success with various types of diet that focus on macro-nutrients: protein, fat or carbohydrates; but regardless of diet, without a lifestyle change, the weight comes back.

Conversely, several large and recent studies — such as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study — found lower weight and lower incidence of diabetes among study participants many years after the study’s initial completion because the subjects were taught how to lose weight through lifestyle interventions.

Lifestyle Changes Trump Dieting

Pagoto described lifestyle interventions as three-prong: dietary counseling (how to control portions, reduce high-calorie foods and navigate restaurants), exercise counseling (how to set goals, target heart rate and exercise safely), and behavioral modification (how to self-monitor, problem solve, stay motivated and understand hunger)


“The ‘foods’ used within a lifestyle intervention can be low-fat, low-carb, etc. It doesn’t matter,” Pagoto said. “In fact, at least one study compared a low-fat lifestyle intervention with a low-carb lifestyle intervention, and it made no difference. The diet itself [is not] instrumental to the lifestyle interventions success; it is the behavioral piece that is key.”

Pagoto agreed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and heart disease. A massive study involving more than 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in JAMA in June, found that dedicated vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians (who eat fish) live longer than meat eaters. But that doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet is all it takes to help you stay healthy.

“Adherence is key, and the way to destroy adherence is forcing foods on someone they do not like, do not know how to prepare, or can’t afford,” Pagoto said.

I think on Thanksgiving Day that is enough information to swallow. No pun intended. Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to January 1st I will be investigating various lifestyle changes that have been scientifically proven to work in the loss and managing our weight. I am not going to advocate one over another. As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts”. I will present the facts about these Lifestyle modifications and in the end it will be up to you the reader to choose. But for now I will enjoy the sumptuous feast set before me and enjoy without the guilt. Happy Thanksgiving from your RESPeRATE Team.

Have an idea for an upcoming article? We would love to hear from you. Contact me, Eli, at [email protected] 

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