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The benefits of dieting: not just weight loss

Health Nutrition Weight change

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It's that time of year again. When most people make a New Year's resolution to lose weight, they're thinking about looking more attractive and having their clothes fit better. Both are admirable goals, but right-sizing yourself provides a number of other equally important benefits. To keep yourself on track in 2010, consider these 10 powerful motivators:


1. Boost your energy level. Eating foods high in refined sugars and starches can result in a sugar spike, followed by a crash that leaves you feeling tired. But embracing a low-carb diet promotes a constant flow of energy to keep you on the go all day long.


2. Control your appetite. Unstable blood sugar also stimulates your hunger for more of the same foods as well as a preoccupation with food.


3. Keep your mood steady. In addition, get off the blood sugar rollercoaster and you'll experience an overall sense of well-being.


4. Enhance your self confidence. There's nothing like learning how to eat to control your weight - and seeing the tangible results in weight loss - to make you realize that you can control other aspects of your life, and that's powerful!


5. Feel sexier. There's no question that feeling better about your body makes you more confident about every aspect of your life.


6. Reduce those aches and pains. When you slim down, there's less pressure on your joints. Many people discover that the achiness they'd come to associate with getting older or working too hard disappears or lessens when they reduce the load.


7. Breathe easier. Carrying around excess pounds can lead to breathing problems such as shortness of breath when walking up stairs, working out or running after children. Some studies indicate that excess tummy fat weighs down the chest, taking up space that the lungs could use to inflate more fully. Weight loss of any amount will allow you to breathe easier by increasing lung function, improving your quality of life.


8. Sleep better. Closely related to your breathing is the quality of your sleep, including snoring and sleep apnea. When you lose weight, you're likely to wake less during the night and arise better rested and ready to take on the day.


9. Keep a one-size wardrobe. Actress Courtney Thorne-Smith, spokesperson for Atkins, attests that eating low-carb allows her to have freedom in what she eats. When she eats a cinnamon roll, for example, she feels bloated and her clothes don't fit. By eating low carb, she feels great, and her clothes fit at the end of the day like they fit at the beginning of the day. It also saves money, at a time when we're all watching our wallets carefully.


10. Improve your health and reduce disease risk. High blood pressure and high blood sugar, high insulin and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels typically improve on a low-carb diet. Cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are just some of the many health problems impacted by obesity and weight gain. Nutritionist Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., recommends curbing carbs and avoiding sugar, white flour and other refined carbohydrate foods to help prevent health complications later on.


Embarking on a healthier, more sustainable eating plan, such as the Atkins Diet, promises additional benefits above and beyond losing weight. Enjoy a thinner, more energized and healthier you by changing your eating habits this year.

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