Dieting dos and don'ts

Simple truths to successful weight loss

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At any given time, 50 percent of American women are on a diet. Last year, Americans spent almost $70 billion on diet books, workout equipment, and specialty foods, but still 95 percent of all dieters will gain the weight back within five years.

There's one thing you can count on: Diets come and diets go, and no matter how easy new diets might seem some basic diet moves endure the test of time.

Dr. Rachel Franklin, medical director of OU Physicians Family Medicine, doesn't just talk diet to her patients, she lives it. Exercise plays a huge roll in her life and she manages to pass that on to her patients.

"What really works is adopting something that you can stick with that will keep you healthy for a long time," said Franklin.

Sara Loveless lost more than 135 pounds after bypass surgery. A surgery that Franklin says fails in 75 percent of patients after two years, but not Loveless. She cut back on food and found her success in martial arts training.

"You're not going to win a weight loss battle at the table," explained Loveless.

You might say Robin Obert is all about what's on the table. As the executive chef for the governor of Oklahoma, food is her business. She also works out heavily five days a week. She discovered a sensitivity to wheat product and decided to cut out bread with a gluten-free diet.

"I dropped about six pounds immediately," said Obert.

Whether you need to lose a little or a lot, here are the top five diet dos and don'ts. First off, cutting too many calories can be bad for your waistline. Severely restricting your diet jolts your body into starvation mode, forcing it to steal calories from lean muscle. This slows your metabolism and stalls weight loss.

Next, you do not have to avoid pasta and bread when you're on a diet but you do have to watch your portion size. Dietitians recommend two or three ounces of uncooked noodles per person or half of a one pound box to serve a family of four. Most importantly stay away from soda, regular and diet.

"When you drink something sweet the brain expects that sugar rush," explained Franklin. "If it doesn't get the sugar rush it may seek actual sugar to replace those calories."

Those morning lattes might seem harmless, but whole milk, syrups, and sugars catapult a low-calorie coffee into the small meal count territory. A vente whole milk latte is around 180 calories, which is the same as a pint of beer.

Also be careful what time you eat and drink. Studies show that you are more likely to misjudge how many calories you consume when you eat late. The easiest weight loss advice is get more sleep. Researchers say that by sleeping an extra hour, you can cut calories by 6 percent.

The keys to truly successful weight loss, Franklin says it's simple: eat less, move more.

Two more tips: people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off weigh themselves often. New research shows a step on the scale at least once a week builds awareness and helps to keep dieters on track. It's also good to keep track of your weight loss in a journal. Keeping a diary of what you eat can double your weight loss and help you quickly see what you're doing right and wrong.

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