Too Many Choices Make Us Fat

We've all spent a random Friday night binging on pizza and beer only to wake up Saturday morning in a panic. We rush to the Internet or the bookstore, hoping to find that brand new diet, fat-burning

We've all spent a random Friday night binging on pizza and beer only to wake up Saturday morning in a panic. We rush to the Internet or the bookstore, hoping to find that brand new diet, fat-burning pill or workout that will cancel out all of the damage and help us drop 20 pounds in 30 days. We go to extremes, from all-protein diets to nothing but salads to cleansing soups or two-hour workouts.

The sad thing is, in the end we typically wind up gaining it all back and then some.

In Ohio alone, obesity has risen to 26 percent for adults and 14.2 percent for children, making us the 15th fattest state in the nation. So how, with the plethora of diet information, weight loss gizmos and personalized training programs that can be e-mailed to you in an hour or less, do we as a society keep getting fatter? The answer, in my opinion at least, is too many choices.

If you think back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, a large portion of the information available to us now didn't exist or at least wasn't so easily available. There were fad diets and thigh master commercials, but for the most part losing weight was a simple math equation: Eat a little less and work out a little more. That was about it.

Whether you jogged, did aerobics, weight lifted or did yoga, you knew you had to pick something you enjoyed and "just do it." You knew you had to cut out the junk food, have a few more fruits and veggies, pick baked food over fried and avoid fast food as often as possible. My experience was that this usually worked.

These days, most dieters feel lost in a sea of information. They might do Atkins for one month and then hear through a friend that Atkins will give them kidney damage. So they stop Atkins and try vegetarian, only to find that they're hungry all day long and are just dying to binge on peanut M&M's.

The constant flip-flopping from diet to diet, combined with the endless cheat days in between, seem to cause more hopelessness in dieters than success.

Weight loss isn't magic. You can't pop a pill or cut out an entire food group and expect to drop 30 pounds in a week. Realistically, if it took you a year to put on the weight, it very well could take you a year to get it off. Yet in a world where everything is fast paced and on an "I needed it yesterday" basis, we're programmed to believe that there must be an easier way.

Weight loss and being healthy requires far more than a diet — it requires a complete lifestyle change. We have to learn how to eat healthy on a daily basis, how to incorporate all of the food groups and even how to still be able to have that ice cream or that Big Mac without feeling we need to order the entire menu.

Each person needs to come to the realization of what foods they know they can eliminate and which ones, if eliminated, will only drive them to eat everything that's not nailed down.

So if you really want to lose weight, forget about dieting. Start by just cutting your portions in half or having pizza just once a week instead of three. Replace soda and coffee with water. Most importantly, move your body.

A 30-minute walk with your dog might not burn as many calories as a 90-minutes spin class, but it's a start. And remember, while changing your body can change your life, you'll have to change your entire lifestyle to achieve that success.

Contact Sian Bitner : [email protected]

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