Diet Confusion: Mix It Up for Successful Weight Loss

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Try these helpful hints from our diet expert, Ian K. Smith, M.D., founder of the 50 Million Pound Challenge and author of SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet (St. Martin's, 2012).

We all get into occasional food grooves—like soup and salad lunches every day. But if you're trying to lose weight, it's better to baffle your body. With exercise, it's accepted that changing workout routines, a process known as muscle confusion, helps you burn calories efficiently. Mixing up your eating patterns (also called diet confusion) can keep your metabolism moving as well.

  1. Banish food boredom Make changes in your diet at least every two to three weeks. If you've been regularly dining on fish, for example, switch to chicken or meat for a while. On a salad kick? Change ingredients on a regular basis. Swap mesclun for arugula, edamame for chickpeas. At snack time, have fruit instead of nuts.
  2. Toy with timing Never skip meals, but do redistribute calories from day to day. Try a filling breakfast and a light lunch one day and reverse it the next. It's important to eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism from stalling, and to consume around two-thirds of your calories in the earlier part of the day, when you're more active.
  3. Honor your plateaus Weight loss typically slows or temporarily stops three to five weeks after starting a program. Pay attention: Your metabolism is telling you it's time to switch things up.
  4. Make it for life Hit your weight-loss goal? Keep up the periodic food changes. Diet confusion should be a lifelong approach for keeping the weight from coming back.

Source: From our sister publication Remedy's Healthy Living Spring 2013

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 21 Feb 2013

Last Modified: 19 Mar 2015