The problem with diets is that they begin and end. Then, in many cases, the weight comes back. That's why nutritionists preach lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.
Michelle Brown adopted a "whole foods" approach to escape the diet cycle.
Brown said a love of food, and a love of cooking, were a weakness. "I grew up in the South where you fried everything and there was a gravy with everything," she said.
She tried many diets, including diet shakes.
"I'd lose a little bit of weight and when I stopped doing the shakes, I would gain the weight back," Brown said.
Then she came to a bariatric physician Dr. Deirdre Batch for help.
Batch recommends a "whole food" approach to eating.
"What I really do is help people develop a relationship with food," she said.
Brown described it in non-scientific terms. "If you can't tell what it is by looking at it, don't eat it," she said.
Brown sticks to lean beef or poultry that is unprocessed. She keeps her portions small by buying them that way.
"You could buy one chicken breast as opposed to a whole pack," she said.
Batch also has a warning about ingredient labels, and Brown has taken it to heart.
"If you can't pronounce it, I really don't want to eat it. Does that sound like Dr. Batch," Brown laughed.
Brown stays away from processed and canned foods. She spends most of her time in the produce aisle and loads up at the salad bar.
By shopping and eating this way, including plenty of water and regular exercise, she's 50 pounds lighter.
"It's been over a year," she said, "but it took a while to get it on, so it takes a while to get it off. It's not something that you can do fast."
WRAL's Dr. Allen Mask shared these tips to get the best value when buying organic foods, which can be more expensive:
- Organic food is good because it's not complicated by pesticides, chemicals or preservatives.
- Dr. Batch suggests using a good source of locally grown vegetables or poultry. Those are likely fresher.
- If you can't get fresh, don't turn to canned vegetables that contain preservatives. Buy frozen vegetables.
- If you plan to eat out, make the healthiest choice available. You can still eat all the foods you love most, but Dr. Batch suggests finding ways to make them healthier. Instead of fried, choose grilled or baked.