By: Stacey Garcia

First there was the Atkins Diet, Mediterranean Diet, South Beach Diet and Cabbage-Soup Diet. I would like to introduce to you a new diet. A diet without starvation, without eliminating carbs, and most importantly, a diet that doesn’t feel like a “diet”. It’s called keeping a healthy lifestyle. There’s no failure in my diet. It’s all about eating the right foods in moderation.

Throughout the years diet fads have come and gone but one hard truth still remains. To maintain a healthy weight, calories consumed must equal calories burned. Tip that balance to one side and you lose weight, tip that to the other and you gain. It’s simple as that, really.

A few months ago the New England Journal of Medicine found that it’s not just how much food you eat, but which kind, that influences weight gain/loss. It was found that foods most associated with packing on the pounds were french fries, potato chips, sugary drinks, meats, sweets and refined grains (cue rolling of the eyes of my Shredders). The foods most associated with shedding pounds were yogurt, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Foods high in fiber expand in the stomach, slowing digestion, making you feel full longer. So add some extraordinary foods to your meals. And please cut out the sugar!

One of the greatest misconceptions is “Well if it’s good for me than I can have unlimited helpings of it.” Wrong! Olive Oil has great health benefits. It can help protect against high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The list goes on and on. But have more than 1 tablespoon per serving and it can assist in an increase of your waistline. Not good. So the key here is moderation. Don’t be afraid of eating a little fat. Fat should consume about 10-30% of our daily caloric intake. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat such as Olive Oil have been found to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind), thus reducing the risks of heart disease. Omega-3’s are terrific for brain health. Some studies even find certain saturated fats to be beneficial such as coconut oil (which I add to my protein shakes every morning). The only fat to completely stay away from is trans fat which you rarely find anymore. Just remember, fat doesn’t make you fat. Treat yourself to the occasional egg yolk in the morning or add some avocado to your salad for lunch.. maybe save a little room for a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert.. I won’t tell.

I am not the trainer who will tell you that achieving your weight-loss goals is easy. I know it’s not. But it’s do-able. Make the right choices.? Eat in moderation. Choose foods that look like they did when they came out of the ground. I’ve never seen an ice cream tree have you? Stay away from processed foods. Get your cardio on and build some muscle. Enjoy life. Don’t waste it on a fad diet being miserable. Dr. Oz said it best, “Human beings are the only species in the world that has figured out how to be in complete control of its own food supply. The challenge now is to make sure the food doesn’t take control of us”.