Combat Fad Diets

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Sarah Mohrman, RD, MA, Dietitian, Fort Wayne Cardiology, answers her clients’ and collegues’ questions on fad diets and weight loss with a simple question, “How long did it take you to get to the weight you are at now?”

Typically, their answers range from 5 to 20 years of ongoing weight gain. This helps put their hopes of 40 pounds of weight loss in 2 months into perspective. Sarah proceeds to talk about how many of the fad or high-protein diets may promote short-term weight loss; however, once the diet is ditched, the weight returns. So if their ultimate goal is long-term weight loss, she encourages them to change their lifestyle behaviors as well as eat well-balanced, frequent meals. Gradual, small changes over time will promote sustained behavior change and weight loss. Sarah challenges clients and collegues to look at their weight loss not in terms of a “diet” because diets are only temporary; instead, view weight loss as a lifestyle change that includes more healthful eating, adequate activity and more healthful habits for life.

Pat Stiles, MS, RD, CDE, Community Hospital, Colorado, tries a more personal approach. She tries to become a listener, and she asks questions before offering advice.

Her first question is “What do you mean by low carbohdrate?” Then she presses more, “Tell me about your meals.” “Did you actually read the Atkins book?” “What other diets have you tried?” “What did you not like about them?” How does this differ from what you normally eat?” Pat finds this helps them to listen to her suggestions, which include the benefits of fruits, vegetables, lowfat dairy and whole grains.

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