By Rita Larsen, RDN; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Every year there are new methods available to train individuals in the best way to lose weight effectively.
Some individuals like a formalized structure in order to provide the best and fastest results. Other individuals like a methodical system of learning that will provide them with general guidelines to think through each and every day with more flexibility.
So, what are those systems and how do they vary from highly structured, to more flexible?
Dietitians and health nutritionists have long pondered the idea of how best to help individuals seeking weight loss, without having clients feel any negative thoughts about undue restrictions. Certainly, there’s no intention of micromanaging anyone’s personal eating style on the part of experts.
In the 1950’s dietitians were able to identify using calories or point systems for easier monitoring of food intakes. The American Diabetes Association came out with a version, called the Exchange where dieters were able to constantly switch or exchange one food for another in the same food group. It was the first attempt at giving dieters more leeway.
Later, the Point System came along that broadened the scope further, where dieters would simply use a smaller version of the calorie and attempt to keep a daily total going, hoping to end each day with approximately the same amount of total calories or points. All of these systems have had some success, especially if the dieter was able to make some behavioral changes along the way.
Today, there is a whole new arena of thought, called “Intuitive Eating” for weight loss that promotes dietary intake on internal cues of hunger and fullness, body acceptance, and making behavioral choices based on health as well as enjoyment.
Several studies have implemented such ideas into intervention programs. These studies have shown positive results, demonstrating improvements in eating habits, lifestyle, and body image as measured by some dietary restraint, restrictive dieting, physical activity, self esteem, body satisfaction, and drive for thinness. Results from these studies have recommended that individuals seeking weight loss also consider alternate long term goals of less-restrictive patterns of eating, body acceptance, and health, perhaps, rather than specific weight loss alone.
Personal desires of individuals come into play when a variety of weight loss or healthy eating avenues are provided. For now, weight loss experts will more readily offer clients the “menu of choice” that will best accomplish individual needs. A good “needs assessment” becomes necessary under these circumstances.
The good news from this report is that many more tools and avenues are being developed and made available to the average person desiring some improvement in his or her eating style. Getting all the pieces to fit will require participation by both parties. And, if completed successfully, can result in long term changes in eating habits rather than the yo-yo eating frenzy that has discouraged most dieters from even starting a program.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.