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Questions on Weight Loss and Dieting
Part Two

Do you have a diet you can prescribe to help me slim down a bit before the holiday season really destroys me? I am willing to abstain from rice if you will assure me that it will help much to reduce my weight. Kasi, I am already confused, some people claim that rice is not the culprit while some say otherwise. I've consulted some diet books, but some of the fruits and veggies they recommend are not even available here in our country. Are diet pills safe?
Rice, per se, is not a high calorie food if eaten in moderate quantities. There is no magic in abstaining from rice unless you eat such large volumes of rice at each meal that cutting it out of your daily meals will cause a large caloric deficit.

Another way it can work is if you are the type of person who has a much larger appetite if you eat rice together with your food. If you are, then obviously, removing the rice will also cause you to eat less of everything else!

I don't believe in any particular diet because the diet mentality makes us think that all we have to do is "go on a diet and we will lose weight". Well, when we go "off the diet" which we will have to eventually because the diet is usually so restrictive, our old eating habits return and they were what caused us to gain weight in the first place.

What I do suggest is eating a little less of everything you are eating now. Eating more fruits and vegetables (no need to eat fruits that can only be found abroad -- our local ones are just as good) because they fill you up without too many calories, they are necessary for good health, they give you lot's of fiber, and they are proven cancer-fighters!

I would also suggest reducing all visible sources of fat because fat is so caloric dense that even if you eat a little of it, you are already taking in lot's of excess calories. Visible sources are fat on pork, beef, chicken (the skin), whole cream milk products (use skim milk), butter, mayonnaise, cooking oil (try to reduce frying your food), etc.

Diet pills are not safe. They only work while you take them. When you stop, the weight comes back on and sometimes it returns with a vengeance -- it brings along a few more unwanted pounds!

I read the thing you wrote on diet pills, and I'm really glad that you wrote about that. Though a lot of people are aware that there are dangers in using diet pills, most of them do not really know how much damage it could do. Including me. I've always been fat, and I grow bigger everyday. I've always relied on diet pills to do the job...I guess I just wanted to do it the easy way. I've lost and gained. And whenever I lose, I gain the pounds back with interest. I've thought about going to the gym, I even enrolled at one, but it just can't work. I'm too ashamed of my size to go to the gym! Can you believe that?
I'm glad you recognize the dangers of diet pills. Not only are they unsafe, they are also ineffective. I empathize with your not wanting to go to the gym because of your size. I know it can be a painful issue.

I was twenty pounds overweight during most of my high school days. One year, I missed our school fair because none of my clothes fit me right. I went through every single fad diet at that time. I was the Crash Diet Queen! I also tried Ionamin and Ponderal, which were readily available. If herbal weight-loss gimmicks had been around, I would have taken them too. I also exercised excessively. My whole life was centered on dieting and exercising

What finally changed my life and my weight was to stop obsessing about my weight and concentrate instead on eating healthy food and doing moderate exercise. I changed my attitude towards food from one of "is this fattening?" to one of "is this healthy? I stopped thinking of exercise as a way to lose weight but instead as a way to enjoy movement, to feel alive and active, and to keep my energy levels high.

I stopped looking at the scale (I used to weight myself at least five times a day). I just stopped thinking about losing weight! I started to find other pleasurable activities to take the place of binge eating (I would eat when I was bored or depressed).

You know what happened? I lost all the twenty pounds in about a year's time. My clothes started to get looser and looser. I didn't even notice right away because the weight loss was no longer the focus of my life. I only wanted to live a healthy lifestyle.

I have never put the weight back on because I finally found the secret to keeping it off -- healthy eating and moderate exercise. And you know what else? At that time, I couldn't afford to go to a gym. Besides, I didn't have the time because I was in college. I did exercises to strengthen and stretch my muscles at home and I walked every day for at least one hour. The weight loss was slow -- so slow that, at first, people didn't even notice but my weight was gradually going down. The most important thing was I had developed habits, which I have continued for the rest of my life.

How did I eat healthy? I bought a book on nutrition and familiarized myself with what were healthy food choices. I ate foods that were natural -- fruits, vegetables, mongo, lean chicken, fish and meat, whole wheat bread, brown rice. I also made sure the food was baked, broiled, grilled, but not fried.

I stayed away from highly processed food like sausages, corned beef, white bread, soft drinks, any kind of bakery product or dessert that used white flour and refined sugar, junk food like potato chips, chocolates, etc. If I felt a craving for these unhealthy foods -- I would either ignore it or substitute it with healthier foods or I would have a small piece to satisfy the craving.

I must say, though, that after a while your body really gets used to eating healthy and can no longer tolerate the other unhealthy stuff.

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