Local News

Lose 10 Pounds In 30 Days? The Key: Not Dieting

Posted November 3, 2005 8:55 a.m. EST

— Each year, Americans spend approximately $40 billion trying to get skinny. But despite the diet industry's books, foods and weight-loss gimmicks, seven out of 10 Americans over age 25 are still overweight.

But what Wake County Human Services Nutritionist Beth Collins recommends for losing weight is not a diet at all.

"The most effective diet is not to diet," Collins says. "I really truly believe that diets don't work, long run. We need to be eating foods that we can eat for a lifetime."

With health advice and guidance, Collins will help 10 employees at WRAL-TV, such as news photographer Tom Nomanly, lose 10 pounds over the next 30 days -- which is a healthy weight-loss rate.

"I've been dieting for a large chunk of my life," says Normanly.

This time, Normanly and other employees will commit to losing weight the right way -- not with a diet, but a change in eating and exercise habits that should last a lifetime.

Eating Right

On a weight loss plan, women, on average, require at least 1,600 calories a day. Most men need at least 1,800 a day. But some people get that much in one meal.

For news producer Kyle Hughes, big meals never showed up on his waistline when he was young.

"I grew up with a really fast metabolism, so, I could eat all day and it wouldn't make a difference," Hughes says. "And then, in the past five to six years, that's slowed down significantly and it's started to show."

To make up for overeating, some people skip meals, but Collins says regular meals are important -- especially breakfast.

"Research shows that when we eat breakfast, it helps get that metabolism stimulated and helps us burn more calories throughout the rest of the day," Collins says. "I'm a big cereal pusher. I love people to eat cereal. That's a great way to get fiber and a great way to get whole grains in."

Collins says carbohydrates are not bad if they are healthy, or complex, carbohydrates, such as whole grains or fruit.

And, despite common misconceptions, not all fat is bad either. Collins says you want to stay away from trans fats. And to cut down on the amount of fat your body consumes, she recommends cooking with vegetable oil or olive oil.

The recommended daily fat allowance is about 50 to 60 grams each day, but a bacon double cheeseburger and a large portion of fries, however, can bust that limit in one meal.

Collins says most American's heap too much meat and starch on their plates. She illustrates a more healthier portion of food on a sample plate she carries with her: half the plate is filled with colorful fruits or vegetables; and a quarter of the plate is for grains, such as bread or rice. She recommends no more than 3 ounces of meat per meal on the rest of the plate -- which is about the size of your palm, or a deck of cards.

But whatever you eat, Collins says keeping a food diary is a good way to measure where you are and what you may need to change.

"If I'm eating something bad, I've got to write that down, and I kind of feel bad about having to write that down, you know," says David McCorkle, another news photographer committed to dropping 10 pounds in 30 days.

Collins bases her recommendations on the new food pyramid recently revised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It's Web site,


, helps people determine their recommended amount of food from all food groups based on their sex and age.

One of the newest parts of the new pyramid is recommended exercise. Collins says cutting calories to lose weight must be paired with exercise. It helps make weight loss easier and it adds to cardiovascular health.

Exercise is the next step to safe, successful weight loss and the next topic for the WRAL Health Team. Stay tuned ...