Thursday, January 31, 2019

Feeling the Burn....Out With Your Diet? Diet Programs Work!

Yum, this display of vegetables makes weight loss look fun!
You can join some weight loss programs from home. 
All of us encounter pitfalls in our diets.  With the Super Bowl days away, some of us are wondering if we can white-knuckle our way through a Super Bowl party teeming with spinach dips, nachos, sliders, and, of course, beer.

Despite their sometimes bad raps, diet programs really can provide tools and accountability to help us navigate the most salivating Super Bowl buffet. 

Here's a few I've participated in and how they've helped me.

I'm Betting You'd Like to Make Money Losing Weight!

DietBet is an online diet program where you can make money losing weight!  You participate from your home.  All that's needed is a digital scale, smart phone, PayPal account, and a minimum of $10.

  • How it works: With DietBet, you join a game where all the players pool a set amount money ranging from $10 to $100. You submit a photo of yourself at the beginning and end of the game, which lasts for either four weeks or six months.  The objective is to lose either 4% of your weight in four weeks, or 10% over six months.  If you've lost the weight, then you receive your money back, plus any extra money thrown into the pot from people who didn't achieve their goal.  Have some pocket money and look good – not a bad bargain! 

  • How it helped me: I achieved my weight goal, and the motivating factor was the financial reward.  The online community at DietBet, where we shared our successes, anxieties, and asked questions, also helped. 

  • What I didn't like: The short time-frame for losing weight (I had three weeks, as I started the game after it started) led to crash-dieting in order to get my weight down, rather than achieving long-term weight loss. 

A Sensible Approach to Weight Loss

Starting in 1948, TOPS, or Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, is a community for losing weight that doesn't advocate any specific diet program, but facilitates a supportive community and provides resources on healthy living and weight loss. 

  • How it works: You join a chapter that meets weekly and have a doctor-approved target weight.  At the beginning of each meeting, everyone weighs in and shares with the group whether or not they've lost weight.  The members then take turns leading a health or diet lesson.  These lesson cover things like the importance of drinking water, creating healthy 400-calorie meals, and tricks for cutting an extra 100 calories from your diet.  Nothing was pushed, and members chose what was right for them.  You pay an initial fee and monthly dues to participate. 

  • What I liked: TOPS has been my most positive experience with a weight-loss program.  The supportive community, accountability from weekly weigh-ins, and diet tips facilitated an environment where I lost weight and developed skills to keep it off. 

  • Life Skills: I achieved my goal weight within a few months of joining TOPS.  The skills I gained, including food-journaling, regular exercise, and drinking water, have kept me at my goal weight for nearly a decade. 

Apple or Oreo?  Pointing You Towards a Healthy Diet

Undoubtedly, you've heard of Weight Watchers.  Even celebrities like Oprah have endorsed it as effective. 

  • How it works: Each week, you have a certain number of points to measure your diet.  For example, an Oreo cookie is two points and an apple zero points.  You have around 28 points a day.  You weigh-in at the Weight Watchers center every week, with the option to participate in a meeting.  There is a monthly fee.  You have a goal weight that's based on a healthy BMI for your height and gender. 

  • How it helped me:  As solid fruits are zero points, I found myself incorporating fruit into all my snacks and meals. 

  • What I didn't like: Weight Watchers had a very corporate feel and lacked the intimacy and homeyness of TOPS.  The heavy penalty on sweets and carbs forced me to eliminate them almost completely from my diet, which felt impossible.  Also, I found my lifestyle constricted.  Calculating points was difficult when eating out, where I couldn't measure portions, so I ended up mostly eating from home. 

Don't Let the Super Bowl Derail Your Diet!  

Don't fret if you're not in a diet program!  Here's a few tips to help you out at the Super Bowl party on Sunday:

  • Bring a tray of crudités or another low-cal snack food that you know you like, in order to ensure you'll have some healthy options. 

  • Be realistic: it's ok to cheat (a little bit) on your diet.  Go into the party planning to maintain your weight for the day, rather than lose weight.

  • Drink a few glasses of water before the party. This will create a feeling of fullness, and you won't feel so compelled to reach for the tray of buffalo wings again and again. 

I've found that it's easier to lose weight when I'm plugged into a program. The community offers support, the weekly weigh-ins accountability, and the resources help me develop skills that assist with keeping the weight off. 

What are the most successful experiences you've had losing weight?  Were they related to a program you were involved in?  Let me know in the comments!  

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