If you are looking to maintain your New Year’s resolution and shed some pounds, be cautious of the too good to be true diets out there. Whether it is low carb, low fat, liquid-only or a crash diet, there seems to be a diet plan for everyone.
The reason for the hundreds of diet options is simple: no two people are the same. Aside from some plans just being gimmicks, you have to consider the potential health risks associated with diets that promise unrealistic and unhealthy results.
Fast food is usually the villain in America’s obsession with weight, with good reason. After all, why order a salad when its dressing, cholesterol, sodium or fat content is just as unhealthy as the greasy menu options? Check out this comparison of five unhealthy salads. For example, the Tostada Charbroiled Steak salad from Baja Fresh has almost twice the amount of calories and sodium of a Crispy Chicken Salad from McDonald’s. In fact, the calories from fat in the steak salad (560) come pretty close to the total 630 calories for the entire chicken sandwich. Once you start adding on dressings, sides and soft drinks, you start taking in more calories in one meal than you need for the entire day.
Figuring out how many calories you need to consume to either maintain your current weight or lose a few pounds depends on a few factors. Your doctor will often take into account your gender, physical activity, current height and weight for determining how much fuel you need for your body. Instead of setting your weight loss or management goals on your favorite celebrity’s swimsuit body, have a look at the Body Mass Index. Based on your height, you can figure out an average range for what is considered underweight, healthy, overweight or obese. This does not take into account your muscle versus fat content, but will be more realistic than the media’s perception of healthy.
Always consult with your physician before beginning any weight loss program. Healthy weight loss can only come from a change in lifestyle, not a few weeks of sacrificing french fries. Your doctor can let you know if the diet plan you are considering will be beneficial, based on any preexisting conditions, current concerns or your weight loss goals. If you are more focused on a target area of your body, increase your daily physical activity and decrease your intake of junk food.