The American Heart Association's No-Fad Diet is a book that shuns diets. The use of the word "diet" is just a lure. Although it has published a number of heart-healthy cookbooks, the No-Fad Diet is the AHAs first foray into weight loss. Offering a wealth of advice, assessment quizzes, diary pages, different options to follow, plus 190 recipes, the "No-Fad Diet" equips us with the tools we need to achieve long-term, healthy weight loss. It's a plan rather than a diet.
Calories In, Calories Out
The eye-catching title of the book tells us that there are no quick fixes when it comes to losing weight. Forget the special drinks, pills, and bars, or eliminating whole food groups. It all comes down to managing those calories. If eating an extra 100 calories a day can lead to a weight gain of 10 pounds a year, then the opposite will be true: cut a 100 calories a day and lose 10 pounds in a year. Reducing calories is not only about how much we eat, however, its also about how many calories we burn. A combination of eating less and moving more will lead to sustainable weight loss.
The "No-Fad Diet" reminds us that long-term weight loss is a product of changing our behavior, good nutrition and physical activity. These are encapsulated in what the American Heart Association terms the three interlocking Circles of Success:
- Think Smart
- Eat Well
- Move More
The think smart circle encourages us to plan a course of action, stressing that planning, rather than sheer willpower, is the key to long-term success. We are encouraged to think positively, set realistic goals and keep a journal to monitor our progress. Once we take steps to manage our behavior, or think smarter, the other two circles will be easier to set in motion. Recognizing that one size doesnt fit all, the "No-Fad Diet" promotes flexibility and choice.
To encourage us to Eat Well
, the "No-Fad Diet" offers three options:
- The Switch and Swap Approach Save fat and calories by substituting lower calorie foods for high-calorie oneseating sorbet instead of ice cream, marinara sauce instead of Alfredo sauce and fat-free, sugar fee yogurt instead of low fat yogurt.
- The 75% Solution This is all about portion control. Enjoy your favorite foods but simply eat less of them. Eat two slices of pizza instead of three, help yourself a 6-ounce yogurt instead of an 8-ounce one.
- The American Heart Association Menu Plans These two-week menu plans are designed for people who would rather have a system to follow. They are based on three calorie levels, depending on our individual daily needs: 1200, 1600 and 2000 calories.
Diet alone is not enough to keep weight off long term, so some kind of physical activity is essential. Fortunately, for those who would rather get a root canal than hit the gym, the "No-Fad Diet" has options:
- The Lifestyle Approach
Climb the stairs instead of using the elevator, park further away from your destination. Get a pedometer and monitor how may steps you take each day. Ride a bike, shoot some hoops with the kids--anything that increases your current level of activity.
- The Walking Program
Buy a decent pair of walking shoes and find a suitable place to walk.
- The Organized Activity Option
Play a sport or take an organized class.