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    What is the Best Diet Plan? (Part 2)

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 6th, 2019

    What is the Best Diet Plan? (Part 2)

    A few weeks ago, I listed the first five parts of the 10-part program that I titled, Dr. Ngozi’s Diet Plan. It is time to list the last five parts.  I have to admit that there are three books that have influenced how I have approached diets –  In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PhD, and The Blue Zones: 9 Lesson for Living Longer by Dan Buettner.

    Number six: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. – The first time I read this statement was in Michael Pollan’s book and it makes sense. About 3 months ago, I went to Nigeria for 2 weeks. I lost five pounds without trying to lose weight. I stayed in the rural area where there was no access to any packaged items. Everything I ate, I picked from the farm. I ate three meals a day and all meals were cooked. There was nothing to snack on but fruits. When I came back to the States, I immediately gained the weight back to my usual weight.  We have a lot of food in the United States and they are not all good. The Western diet is known to be associated with poor health and weight gain. In Pollan’s book, he recommends eating real food. This means that you should be familiar with the ingredients. If you are not familiar with the ingredients, then avoid that food. It is important to try to get the food as close to its natural state.  For example, you know that a hamburger is made from ground beef from a cow, but a frankfurter, what animal does that come from? Eat real food.

    Number seven: Avoid mindless eating – You will learn so much from Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating, how small things add up to calories and then to weight gain. I pack my lunch to work every day to avoid temptations at work. I do not want to take a chance going to the cafeteria and getting something I do not like because I do not have a choice. If I am going to eat, it has to be something that I want. Do not keep snacks at your desk because you will eat it. Plate size makes a difference. The larger the plate, the more you will pile on the plate to eat. Whenever you eat, make sure that it is what you want. Realize the sugar you put in your coffee, the milk you put in the oatmeal or the butter you spread on your toast are added calories. When you go for seconds, ask yourself is it necessary?

    Number eight: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise – although exercise will not help you lose weight, it does help you maintain your weight. There are four parts to exercise that are important – aerobics (getting your heart rate up), strength training, flexibility and balance. Some people love to go to the gym and others do not. Do what you love. What is important is that you are moving. If you want to see results quickly, you will feel great with the high intensity interval training (HIIT). I have written about exercise and HIIT on previous blogs. You can find the links below.

    Number nine: YOLO – You only live once – I do not believe you should deprive yourself from things that you enjoy. You might limit the amount. I love sweets. If you ever see me eating sweets, you know I have worked for it. If I eat a chocolate cake, I worked out that day. You have to work for what you want. Want a dessert, what are you willing to do. Are you willing to do a 30 minute work-out for that dessert? If not, then maybe that the dessert is not worth it.

    Number ten: Find time for yourself – Eliminate stress. I am a big believer in putting yourself first so that you can take care of the people you love. Each day, devote at least 5 minutes to you.  Take deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed. Learn to meditate.

    When I told my brother about the Dr. Ngozi’s Diet Plan, he said diet sounds like it is temporary, what I have outlined sounds like a Lifestyle Plan. Maybe, I will change the name to the Dr. Ngozi’s Lifestyle Plan for Weight Management .


    EXERCISE – The ‘Whys’, ‘Whats’, ‘Wheres’, ‘Whos’ and ‘Hows’


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