The No. 1 Super-Simple Magic Diet
I have a secret to share with you. It's the key to the best weight-loss program in the world, and when properly followed it works for just about everybody. Are you ready? Here it is:
Eat a little less, move a little more.
Disappointed? Were you wishing for a magic bullet? Well, join the club. In our quick-fix society, we expect an easy answer even to complicated problems. But for most people—and until science tells us something different—moderation remains the name of the game.
This is what Associate Editor Tracey Neithercott learned in the course of reporting her story "Virtue or Vice". Yes, there may be something "good for you" in foods like red wine, coffee, and even chocolate. But that's not a license to binge. A little goes a long way. Of course, that's easier said than done, especially when you already feel as if you're depriving yourself on a daily basis. In her article about the biochemistry behind hunger, Associate Editor Erika Gebel writes that our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin—which instigates hunger—when on calorie-restricted diets. Yep, it's that tough.
Still, for people who are overweight, even a moderate reduction—10 percent of body weight, maybe even less—has been shown to have significant health benefits. It's a principle that can be applied to other parts of life, too. Working moderately, but not to the point of stress or exhaustion, is healthier than going to extremes. Socializing moderately has also been shown to help your health, but staying out all night every night? Not so much.
What we sometimes forget is that moderation can also mean scaling up: If you're eating no vegetables at all, it's time to find at least a small place for them in your diet, for example. Not doing any exercise? Starting slow (after checking with your doc) is more sensible than trying to jump into an intense routine. More sensible and also more enjoyable. When it comes to improving your health, there really is such a thing as a happy medium.