Ask the Right Questions to Lose Weight

The other day I was in line at a Taco Bell (yes - there are some decent choices here!) and the woman in front of me asked the cashier if they had anything "low carb" on the menu. She was rewarded with a blank stare from the teenage cashier. I was tempted to tell her that if she bought a burrito and removed the shell and scooped out the beans and/or rice, she could have a nice high calorie, high fat pile of cheese, fatty ground beef, and sour cream to eat as her low carb meal. This is a perfect example of a key problem most people have with losing weight: they don't know what questions to ask and where to find the answers.   

These days, you need to be even more careful when you choose foods - there are no quick answers. If you go with the idea that anything "low carb" will help you shed those pounds, you won't lose weight - this is a huge oversimplification that doesn't work. More importantly, you will likely gain weight because when you cut out carbohydrates, what's left to choose are foods high in fat (which has 2 1/2 times the calories as a pure carbohydrate), or protein, which has an equal amount of calories as carbohydrate, gram per gram. To lose weight, you may need to cut back on carbohydrates - but if you're like most people, you'll need to reduce fat and protein as well. Instead of simply cutting out all carbohydrates (or reducing them to extremely low levels) you should have a weight loss plan that gives you a specific amount of each nutrient, with the right balance of nutrition and the right amount of foods for your personal needs. And, to reach your weight goal successfully you'll need to get answers to some key questions: 

  • What's the right amount of calories for me so that I can lose weight consistently? 

  • How do I figure out if I'm eating the right amount of food so that I lose weight?

  • How much and what kind of foods should I eat so that I have the energy I need to stay active, motivated, and satisfied even while I'm on a diet plan?

  • How do I make the right eating choices in any situation so that I don't have to follow any more restrictive diets and live like a normal person? Lose Weight - now!

Once I reach my weight goal, will I have a new way of eating that I can live with and will help keep me at goal weight so that I don't have to go on another diet? 

I don't follow the latest fads and we don't blame carbohydrates or any single type of food for the obesity problem - it's just not that simple. We designed our diet on what nutritional science has been shown to work best for most overweight people: a balanced and flexible plan that meets your personal needs, the structure and support you need to follow it, an emphasis on building new habits instead of just following the latest diet, with guidance and help from real nutrition experts so that you can take control of your health and weight issues once and for all. 

Carolyn Classick-Kohn,MS,RD is chief dietitian of the California based PersonalDiets weight loss program.