It’s snowing outside, the wind chill is well below freezing and nothing sounds better than snuggling under a blanket inside, sipping hot cocoa. But for many people, their New Year’s resolution of losing weight has them working up a sweat in a different way: by going to the gym, whether it be for spring break or just to look better.
And what goes better with exercise to shed those extra pounds than a diet…right?
Approach the diet and nutrition section of any Barnes and Noble and you will be flooded with hundreds of titles promising quick weight loss, such as Atkins and Sugar Busters.
Dr. Robert C. Atkins’ diet plan requires people to limit carbohydrates so that the body must burn fat and protein. This means a person can’t eat breads, pasta, rice or other foods high in carbohydrates.
With the Enter the Zone diet, Dr. Barry Sears created a plan where the ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein one intakes is used to manipulate hormone balance, causing weight loss. The Zone allows fruit and vegetables, and calls for small, frequent meals.
Many people also invest in weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers, where intervention with other members through routine meetings is offered in addition to a controlled diet.
“I don’t recommend any diet, because what you’re doing with a diet is something temporary,” said Ronda Bokram, nutritionist for Olin Health Center.
Bokram said when people stop following the pattern of their diet, they really haven’t learned anything, because they start to respond to hunger instead of continuing to eat a certain way.
“I don’t buy into the fad diets, because it’s a new fad every week,” said Katelin Ripmaster, senior at Michigan State University.
Ripmaster said she avoids diets like Atkins because they don’t work. She stays in shape by eating healthy foods and working out daily. “People are always looking for the easiest way to lose weight,” she said. “I’ve found the best results come from working out and just avoiding bad foods.”
Bokram said that fad diets, such as Atkins have been around for years, but are popular for short periods of time. For example, Dr. Atkins debuted his diet around 1972.
“Whatever goes around comes around again,” she said. “Didn’t work long term then, and it’s back now.”
Taking diet pills is another way people try to shed unwanted pounds. Advertisements for Dexatrim, TrimSpa and other pills flood TV screens and magazine pages daily, but Bokram said they don’t work. “None of the pills work, they’re placebos,” Bokram said. “Why are [people] spending money on something if it’s not going to work?”
Instead, Bokram suggests putting the money towards a nutritionist. “First talk to a professional and see if you even need to lose weight,” she said. “Perhaps you’re not eating enough, or not enough of one type of nutrient.”
Furthermore, by avoiding diet pills and fads and talking to a professional, Bokram said you can get the best plan.
“Don’t just say, ‘my life will be so much better if I just lose this amount of weight’,” she said. “Really go at it in a way that makes sense and can give you information that you need.”
Ripmaster believes working out is another major component. “I’ve had the best results by combining a healthy eating plan and exercising,” she said. “If you’re working out routinely, that’s when you see results. What better motivation can there be?”

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