#366 (7/21/2009) LOSE WEIGHT ON ANY DIET!
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If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out.

Jean Kerr

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Choose and Lose: How to Lose Weight on Any Diet

By Whitney Provost

When it comes to losing weight, everyone has an opinion about what works best. Low fat, low carb, or Mediterranean style—you've probably heard stories of people dropping major pounds by following one of these diets. The truth is you'll lose weight on any diet as long as you take in fewer calories than you burn. Keep reading to find out which diet is best for you.

Smiling Foods

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 800 overweight adults over 2 years, and researchers found that as long as people made healthy choices, the percentage of protein, carbs, and fat consumed didn't really matter. All the study participants (divided into groups eating low fat, high fat, high carb, or high protein) lost about the same amount of weight when they ate fewer calories than they burned.

The bottom line: The diet you choose should make you feel good, keep you satisfied, and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods. So how do you decide what plan will work for you?

  • Try balancing various amounts of lean protein (poultry, fish, and lean beef), complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), and healthy fat (nuts, olive oil, and seeds). Find the combination that makes you full and energetic.
  • Keep a food journal of what you eat and how you feel. Over time, you'll start to see patterns emerge.

When you decide what kind of diet to follow, here's how to get the most out of it:

  • Low-fat diet. The amount of fat you eat varies according to the diet's creator. The Ornish Diet, designed by cardiologist Dean Ornish to help people reverse heart disease, recommends that you eat 10 percent of your calories from fat. The American Heart Association, on the other hand, considers low fat to be up to 35 percent from fat. A low-fat diet should consist of lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes, and little meat. It is not an excuse to eat mountains of pasta or processed carbs (like fat-free cookies or crackers), as these will spike your blood sugar, make you hungrier, and add a lot of unnecessary calories.
  • Low-carb diet. Plans like Atkins, South Beach, and the "Paleo" diet claim that by cutting carbohydrates your body will have to dig into its fat stores for energy. That is often true, at least at first, until your body adapts to the decreased energy from carbs and rapid weight loss slows. Plus, if you chow down on artery-clogging bacon, butter, and steak every day and don't choose heart-healthy protein and fat sources (like lean meats, nuts, and olive oil), you can develop other health problems and nutrient deficiencies. Watch out for saturated fat in foods like whole milk, butter, and meat, and be mindful of portion sizes when you're following a low-carb diet. You might find it hard to sustain a low-carb diet over the long term because you have less energy and feel tired a lot. If that happens, just switch to another diet plan.
  • Mediterranean SaladMediterranean-style diet. This has gained popularity over the last few years as a healthy, balanced approach to eating. It emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fats from nuts and olive oil, and lean protein like fish and chicken. You don't want to overdo the pasta, cheese, and alcohol on this diet because these calories add up quickly. This is a moderate-fat diet that offers a variety of choices and will suit many different tastes. You'll find that most Beachbody® nutrition plans follow guidelines that are similar to a Mediterranean-style diet. It's easy to get all the nutrients you need to sustain a healthy, energetic lifestyle with this method of eating.

When you've found the diet that suits you, you may notice that your weight starts to drop without a lot of effort. You'll be more satisfied and less prone to cravings, which will help you be consistent with your plan. As long as you stick to your diet and combine it with a workout program that also fits your preferences—Slim in 6®, ChaLEAN Extreme®, or whatever you choose—you will be able to lose weight and keep it off.

Related Articles
"A P90X® Restaurant Guide"
"7 Common Factors of Successful Weight Management"
"Big Breakfasts for Big Results"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, July 27th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!


Whitney Provost If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Did You Know?

Tony HortonDid you know that Tony Horton, the muscle-bound creator of P90X®, eats a primarily vegetarian diet? Most bodybuilders will tell you that to build muscles like Tony's you need to eat a lot of meat for protein. Tony is a great example of someone who follows a diet that makes him feel good rather than eating the way others think he should. And he has an incredible physique.

Click here for more about Tony Horton.

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, July 27th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


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Test Your Mind-Body IQ!

By D.V. Donatelli

Mind-Body LoopWith the recent release of Shaun T's brand-new INSANITY™ workout, I've been thinking about the connection between the mind and the body. For a very long time in human history, the two were considered completely disparate. Doctors studied the body; theologians studied the mind (or "soul"). However, experience has shown us that the two are much more interrelated than the past's prevailing authorities were willing to admit. How much do you know about the interplay between the body and the mind?

True or False?
  1. True: Rene Descartes is considered the modern founder of the mind-body dilemma. The "mind-body dilemma," which asks how an "immaterial" substance like the mind/soul/consciousness can interact with a material substance like the human body, remains a hotly debated topic in philosophical circles. Some argue the idea presupposes the existence of a soul (they explain consciousness as being the corollary of an intricately complex human mind), while others say the idea holds merit because even modern science still can't precisely explain human consciousness and volition. As for me, I just want the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl.
  2. True: You can paralyze yourself using only your mind. A few years ago, I was talking to a neurologist, and he told me about a peculiar patient of his. A woman had been wheeled into the emergency room, totally paralyzed. The neurologist put her through every test he and his staff could think of, but they could find no physical reason for her being unable to move. Then he began talking to her about her mental state and about how sometimes a person can become so anxious or depressed that he or she can paralyze himself or herself—a process called somatization. Needless to say, the woman required some psychological counseling, but she walked out of the hospital under her own power. The mind is a powerful thing, but if left unchecked, it can hurt you just as much as it can help you. Like a baby with a gun.
  3. False: Anxiety increases your respiratory effectiveness. Speaking of anxiety, and speaking from experience, let me say that anxiety is just brutal. Not only is it a mentally pernicious nag that can inhibit otherwise healthy behavior, but it can also lead to physical somatizations that are no less injurious, notable among them being the restriction of respiratory effectiveness. Translation: When I get anxious, my breathing shrinks to shallow levels, which leads to an even deeper anxiety. Fortunately, I learned from an old therapist a good way to help myself in the anxiety battle—progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). PMR works like so: Flex the muscles in your feet for a couple seconds, and relax them. Flex your calf muscles for a couple seconds, and relax them. Flex your thigh muscles, and relax. Go all the way up your body—butt, abs, lower back, chest, upper back, biceps/triceps, forearms, neck, face/head—tensing and relaxing each muscle group. When you finish, you should feel a nice warmth wash over you as your body pulls in deep and wonderfully relaxing breaths. If that doesn't work, there's always PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon®).
  4. False: Western countries lead the world in mind-body studies. Hindus and Buddhists in Asia have been studying the relationship between the mind and body for thousands of years. I have read stories about feats that would blow your mind-body, such as that of a Yogic practitioner who was able to turn one hand stone cold while the other hand dripped with sweat. I've read about a man in meditation who was able to decrease his heart rate to an unbelievable two beats per minute. I've also read a story about a meditation test that involves wearing only a light garment, ascending a mountain, and using the "inner fire" of meditation to keep warm throughout a freezing-cold night, during which the person meditating is drenched with cold water and must use the inner fire to warm himself or herself dry. Some skeptics consider these stories apocryphal, but there is a good amount of evidence that shows that the mind-body connection has a fantastic capacity. To quote a favorite joke, "I'd try yoga, but I'm afraid I would levitate into a ceiling fan."

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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