Health Team

Losing weight comes with lifestyle changes, not fad diets

Posted March 8, 2012 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2012 8:03 p.m. EST

— Diets can come in all forms – even in pre-packaged frozen dinners mailed directly to homes. 

And while the latest diet fad can produce short-term results, the long-term prospects for many overweight people dealing with other health issues are grim.

Until weight loss goals transition into a lifestyle change that lasts, many of the same problems persist. Those big changes include eating out less and exercising more, but they can also include some educational steps in the kitchen.  

That's where the Diet Center of Wilson comes in. Opened in February of 2011, the center promotes healthy lifestyle changes by educating people on how to lose weight. The center even has an on-site cooking center, Cook 2 Live, which teaches people how to make simple recipes full of flavor without including unnecessary fats and sodium. 

For Mary Bell, the Diet Center of Wilson was a last resort. She used to weight 331 pounds and had high blood pressure and low back pain. 

"My doctor wanted me to have surgery because he told me I was morbidly obese," Bell said. "But I didn't want to have surgery." 

Bell's decision to try the Diet Center's method has paid off. She's lost 86 pounds, and she's done it the healthy way. 

Nikki Nemers teaches clients like Bell how to alter their eating habits by breaking addictions to fat and salt, something found in almost every fast food meal. 

"That is something we crave, but when we take it away from us, we start actually tasting the food," Nemers said. "And we enjoy it so much better." 

Clients get to enjoy the meals at the Diet Center first. Then Nemers shows them how to cook them. From lemon artichoke and mushroom sauce chicken breasts to mango salad, Nemers cooks it all. 

Denise Bradley, who has lost 14 pounds since she started going to the Diet Center, said she was surprised at how much she didn't miss all the starches, fat and salt. 

"When you lose slow, it tends to stay off and that also reinforces the habits," she said. 

Other habits, like regular exercise, reading food labels and finding creative ways to add flavors can also help in the weight-loss process. 

"You don't have to deprive yourself," Nemers said. "It's just realizing this is a lifestyle." 

Planning an entire week of meals can also help promote healthy habits and prevent the easy stops at fast food restaurants for lunch or dinner. Choose lean proteins, fresh or frozen produce and whole grain foods high in fiber.