Diets Donít Work,
So Eat, Eat, Eat!
By  Regina Coffman



This afternoon I had a conversation with a client named Stephanie. Like many others, including myself, she had been struggling with her weight and was at the proverbial ďend of her rope,Ē in finding a realistic solution. She told me that she had been on an 1100 calorie Jenny Craig Diet and lost weight, then immediately found those pounds and thirty more soon after. Now she is faced with assisting her overweight fifteen-year-old daughter with the problem she has not yet personally conquered. Realizing her daughterís health was at risk, admitting her doctorís concern for both mom and daughter, Stephanie came with her daughter to see me, referring to my television news appearance as an answer to her prayers. Talk about pressure!  Now I had to break the news to her that diets donít work, and that eating well does.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently conducted extensive tests on most diets on the market, including the various popular diets, such as the Atkins Diet, The Zone, and the Dr. Dean Ornish Diet. They concluded that none were effective; that diets donít work. Their reason:  calories are what matter ó but that leads us to square one. Why do diets that are low in calories ultimately fail?

Open a biochemistry textbook and you will find the answers (Note the plural). It does have to do with calories, but it is more complicated that just calories eaten and calories expended. Thatís what I discovered firsthand after delivering my son, Zack. I was dismayed that my intense exercise wasnít doing the trick. His delivery nurse said that in six weeks the added weight would be gone. Wrong! The hormonal changes that occur in a womanís body during pregnancy and post pardem make it more difficult to reduce body fat and are more powerful than many realize.

Before having a baby, I was able to exercise to lean-out, but after pregnancy the frequent exercise did not work. I had been an aerobics instructor for 15 years for goodness sake! It is true that I had only gained 28 pounds during pregnancy and yet I could not even squeeze into a size 13!  I remember the heat of anger that reddened my face when I saw Zackís father look at fair-figured girls in the gym, while I was busting my hump trying to fight my way back to slenderness. May I never forget my previous despair when I speak to women who are as desperate to re-create their bodies as I was. I thought I was eating well, but how does one really know? The following lists some of the important aspects of nutrition that are often forgotten, and explains why diets donít work:

1. The bodyís basal metabolism slows when calories are reduced.

2. When calories are restricted for a period of time, the body goes into starvation mode, hoarding existing body fat and becoming very efficient at storing more as reserve for protection when eating is resumed.

3. When the body is restricted of calories and proper nourishment it can begin using up muscle and healthy tissue for fuel, further slowing metabolism and weakening the immune system. (By the way, muscle tissue requires a lot of calories to support it, thus the more muscle you have, the more calories you should/can eat.)

4. If overall balanced nutrition is not maintained, (including frequent, small, and balanced meals that provide proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates and essential oils) the bodyís blood sugar and resulting hormonal imbalances can exacerbate metabolic problems (not to mention make you feel crummy).

5. There are many aspects of proper nutrition to consider when determining caloric need ó aspects that can vary from one person to another. Most diets focus simply on one or two pieces of the puzzle and lose sight of the big picture. I had to stop whining and realize that most diet methods didnít work. Additionally, I realized the fact that exercise only contributes 15% to weight reduction (nutrition is 85% responsible!) And just like my client Stephanie and her daughter, I was serious about transforming my shape and improving my health. Hereís what my research, experience, and practice has concluded:

Here is what does work:

1. EAT Enough
Find out from a nutrition expert exactly how many calories you need. There are many variables to consider in eating enough to prevent your metabolism from slowing. Eating enough calories is the only way you can keep your metabolic lean tissue from being ravaged. Donít restrict your calories to a low level for more than four consecutive days. If you limit your calories to a low level for an extended period, you are asking for trouble in the form of fat storage and muscle depletion. On the other hand, if you refuse to constantly restrict your calories, your nourished body will cooperate with you to gradually shrink body fat cells in the short term as well as the LONG TERM. It is essential, however, that you consume the proper amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates for your personal situation. This is where it gets tricky and why I spent my retirement investment on creating the software to calculate it for you.

2. EAT Balanced Meals
This isnít your Mom talking ó it is pure biochemistry! Eating protein, fat and a small portion of carbohydrates, all together in the same meal, is considered a balanced meal. Eliminate snacking on carbohydrate foods throughout the day and you will reduce your risk of diabetes and your body fat.

3. EAT Every Few Hours
Balanced meals eaten every three to four hours will increase your basal metabolic rate. Eating, exercising, and stress all raise your metabolism. If you are eating often (five to six meals per day) you will prevent overeating in one sitting and optimize stable blood glucose levels and energy throughout the day.

 If you have been reading along, and are a part of the group of Americans who collectively spends 90 billion dollars a year on weight loss, keep these things in mind: Your food preferences, lifestyle, activity level, genetics, special health concerns, immune system, and weight management goal should all be taken into consideration if you want effectiveness and lasting results.

 Regina Coffman has been granted a U.S. Patent for ďNu-tritional ID,Ē the nutrition soft-ware program she developed. Ms. Coffman is valued as a fore-most nutrition expert in San Diego, and was recently featured on KUSI TV Morning News, The Wellness Hour, The Las Vegas View, The Dallas Morning Star, The San Diego Union Tribune, and Vision Magazine. For more information visit  or call (858) 564-1336.  

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