Keys to Success for a Glycemic Index Diet
2 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Losing Weight on a Low-Glycemic Diet
When you’re on a glycemic index diet, you can forget the traditional food lists and stringent calorie requirements. The low-glycemic way of eating isn’t a diet in the traditional sense — it’s a lifestyle change. A low-glycemic diet is about listening to and working with your body to achieve long-term weight-loss (and health!) success. When you commit to this way of eating, you discover more about the foods you eat. You also realize that you can still enjoy food while making the best choices for weight loss and your overall health.
The keys to success include:
Embrace a lifestyle change, don’t go on a diet: If you embrace a low-glycemic diet as a way of life rather than a temporary diet, you have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off than those who follow a temporary diet plan.
Lifestyle change, not a temporary diet, is the key to enjoying a healthy weight for the rest of your life. Just think of these differences between the two:
A diet is when you follow a set meal plan developed by someone famous who wrote a book; lifestyle change is when you swap a candy bar for a piece of fruit as a midmorning snack and brown-bag your lunch instead of zipping through the fast food drive-through.
A diet is when you eliminate specific foods because they’re too high in fat, calories, or carbohydrates; a lifestyle change is when you gradually eat fewer of these foods on a weekly basis.
A diet is when you follow a low-carb meal plan that lists foods to eat and foods to avoid; a lifestyle change is when you swap a lower-glycemic food for a higher-glycemic food a couple times each day.
According to the available scientific literature, people lost more weight on a low-glycemic eating plan (one where they didn’t have to count calories or measure out food portions) than on a high-protein eating plan. They also lowered their cholesterol levels.
Toss strict rules out the window: If you’ve been around the dieting block a time or two, you’re well aware that diets are full of rules about what you can eat, when you can eat it, and how much of it you can eat. You’re supposed to count calories, fat, fiber, carbohydrates or a combination of all four. The glycemic index diet is just a different way of choosing your foods. On a low-glycemic diet, you can forget about rules and get back to enjoying food that tastes good and is good for you. By choosing low-glycemic foods, you’ll naturally eat fewer calories, feel fuller for longer, and lose weight.
Plan, cook, and enjoy healthy meals: Eating should be an enjoyable experience, not one during which you have to agonize about every single aspect of a meal. When you follow a low-glycemic lifestyle, you’re not eliminating the foods you enjoy. Instead, you’re creating balance in your diet through moderation in your food choices. If you enjoy your food choices, you’re more likely to continue with this healthier way of eating.
Make exercise a part of your life: To lose weight long-term, you need to be in energy balance — something that’s difficult to achieve when you focus on food intake alone. That’s why exercise is so important to weight-loss efforts (not to mention the huge benefit exercise has on overall health!). To lose weight in a healthy way, you can’t just keep cutting back on the amount of calories you consume. You need to get up and burn calories through movement.
If the word exercise makes you think of sweaty gyms, loud music, and instructors who yell at you to do things that hurt, try thinking of exercise as activity and movement instead. Dancing, gardening, puttering around in the garage, walking, biking, sledding, and playing hopscotch with your kids all fall into the activity-and-movement category.