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The Ten Golden Rules of Dieting 
 
by Carol Fisher June 10, 2005

Whatever diet you choose, there are some basic rules you need to follow to lose weight successfully and, just as important, keep it off.

There is an enormous range of diets and so losing weight can be a matter of choosing the one that suits you and your lifestyle best. Some people prefer calorie counting while others find that the Atkins Diet or meal replacements work for them. The problem, for some dieters, starts once they have achieved their target weight. Many find that the pounds slip back on again and they have gained more weight than they lost while dieting. If you like your diet, or like it as much as is possible with any weight loss regime, there are some basic facts or rules you need to understand to lose weight successfully and then keep it off.

Rule 1

If you are overweight, you are eating too much. The body uses food as fuel and, what it doesn't need, it stores as fat. Unless you have a medical condition contributing to weight gain, usually, it's that simple. If your body needs 2500 calories a day to perform all the functions you ask of it and you eat 3000 calories a day, you will put on weight. To lose weight you have to eat fewer calories than you need.

Rule 2

If it has taken 5 years for you to put on weight, you cannot expect to lose the excess in a few weeks. Crash diets don't work. You might lose some weight in the first two or three weeks but, in the long term, it is counter-productive. First of all, it is very hard to stay on a strict diet without cheating. Secondly, if you are eating too few calories your body will start to consume muscle, not fat. When you come off a crash diet your body will be far more likely to lay down fat as an insurance against a future famine, i.e. a strict diet. Many doctors and dieticians recommend a target weight of loss of about one pound per week.

Rule 3

Strange eating regimes only work because they restrict your calorie intake. Perhaps you have tried diets where you don't mix food groups. Have you thought how these work? If you eat protein without carbohydrate, that actually restricts the amount of protein you can eat as well. Most protein (or fat) is unpalatable without carbohydrates. If you eat meat or eggs, you really want something like bread or potatoes to go with them. Similarly, if you are on a low fat diet, it restricts the amount of carbohydrates because they are unpalatable without some kind of fat - not many of us relish eating a slice of dry bread, for example. Diets that restrict the types of food you eat can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiency if you aren’t eating from a full range of food groups.

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