"Diet" is a 4-Letter Word

by Sheryl McWilliams, RN, MPH, Parkview Adventist Medical Center, Brunswick, Maine

Spring is here, that glorious time each year when we venture onto a nearby scale to assess the "damage" done from winter hibernation. Just how much "fluff" did I pack on this year? We don't let anyone see the number as it flashes the results like a neon sign. With the shocking revelation of our weight comes the famous declaration that "I'm going to lose weight so I can go to the beach this summer". So we chart and plan, do research on the latest dieting technique and tips not forgetting to stock up on the latest dieting products, books, exercise equipment, supplements and so on. And so the cycle continues year after year, decade after decade.

Have you ever thought about how many people go on a diet and lose those extra pounds just to find them again? Some things are better lost than found! Therefore, my disdain of the word "diet" when referring to weight loss. It is a 4-letter word and should be removed from the vocabulary of anyone truly wanting to lose weight and keep it off for good. Yes, you can go on the Atkins "diet" or the South Beach "diet" or the Grapefruit "diet" or a thousand other "diets" that proclaim to be the latest and greatest. Will you lose weight? Probably. Will you keep it off? Doubtful. And the reason is that you eventually come off the diet and go back to life as usual. And in time most of the weight you lost is found again, often with a little extra.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off for good, you must learn to eat and move differently. It's all about lifestyle. There are no magic bullets, no pills, and no special "diets" that can do it for you. As you make healthier choices in what you eat and drink and how you move your body, the weight will come off naturally without the need of expensive equipment, special foods, supplements, etc.

Many of us need a little nudge however in order to make the necessary improvements in our lifestyle. Consider joining a group such as the Lifestyle Choices program at Parkview Adventist Medical Center. This program in known for the excellent outcomes participants achieve. Not only do they lose weight but their cholesterol goes down along with their blood sugar. And they have more energy and sleep better. So stop dieting, stop living on the yo-yo plan and start learning how to get healthy and stay healthy.

Sheryl S. McWilliams, MPH, RN, is a health educator and Vice President at Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick, Maine. Parkview offers the popular. Lifestyle Choices Program, a series of classes that offer group learning, support and continuing education on health and wellness topics. The program runs 2 weeks and focuses on reducing one's risk of major chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. It also helps to reduce complications of these diseases if one already has them. The next Lifestyle Choices Program will be held at the hospital in May.


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