Feeling a Little Mixed Up about Your Diet?

Let’s take a break and have a little fun!

Dieting is important business, but that doesn’t mean we have to take it so darned seriously. Time to play a game!

Below are some jumbled up words and short phrases. See how long it takes you to solve the puzzles (answers are below with a short explanation).

Hint: Each word spells out a major SparkDiet principle, one that’s proven to make a difference in weight loss success. Keep these principles in mind as you make your nutrition and fitness choices this week.



    The Calorie Equation: To lose one pound of weight in a week, burn 3500 more calories than you take in (or 500 calories per day). The USDA, FDA and a host of medical studies all agree that the only foolproof way to lose weight is to use up more calories than you consume. When calories are left over, they are stored as fat—no matter what food source they came from. To learn more about the importance of calories, read "USDA and SparkPeople Agree: Calories Count!"
    Motivation and behavior modification are just as important to weight loss as fitness and nutrition. We believe that you can stick with any weight loss program as long as you stay motivated. Certain motivation techniques have been proven to have as much or more of an impact on long-term weight loss as what you eat or how you spend your gym time. Check out the Motivation Resource Center for more motivational tools.
    The SparkPeople nutrition program is based on American Heart Association guidelines. One of the most trusted health authorities, the AHA advocates a balanced, low fat, low cholesterol, low calorie diet. The AHA does not encourage starvation or deprivation dieting, but declares that a healthy menu can be delicious, satisfying and nutritious. See your Nutrition Tracker in action!
    The SparkPeople fitness program is based on American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. ACSM is the largest and most respected health and exercise organization in the world. For weight loss, they recommend aerobic activity at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Strength training is integral as well, to improve overall health and the fat-burning effectiveness of your entire program. ACSM urges exercisers to start small and build up slowly by listening to your body and remaining consistent. They also encourage people to follow good workout practices, such as warming up, cooling down, and stretching. For more exercise ideas, use your Fitness Planner today.
    Consistenly losing more than 2 pounds per week is unhealthy and ineffective in the long run. A quick drop in weight is usually the result of drastic lifestyle changes that can’t be maintained, or deprivation diets that cost your body nutrients, water, and essential muscle tissue. Either way, if weight is lost too fast, it is more easily regained, and is even tougher to lose the next time around. Any more than 2 pounds per week, and your body is likely not getting the calories that it needs to maintain a fat-burning metabolism, again making it tougher to lose weight in the long run. This recommendation is seconded by the ACSM and the AHA.
    Accumulating small bits of fitness can be as effective as longer workouts. According to a University of Pittsburgh study, and supported by the ACSM, longer workouts can be broken down into a series of 10-15 minute workouts throughout the day and still result in improved health. By maintaining moderate to high intensity, these shorter workouts raise your heart rate enough to help burn calories and lose weight.
    Water is an underestimated cornerstone of a strong weight loss and healthy living program. Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works. When you are dehydrated—even before you start feeling thirsty—your liver has to help the kidneys function, and can’t metabolize fat as quickly. Your metabolism slows down, and unwanted fat remains. Water also improves your memory, mood, energy levels, immune system and mental power. Read "Water is a Secret Ingredient" to learn more about the benefits of water.
    The way to build motivation and momentum is to start with very small changes. Many experts in building or breaking habits assert that long-term changes start with baby steps. Building on success, no matter how small, is important to build confidence and enthusiasm that can be maintained through the good and the bad times.
    Any program can work if you stick with it. But only about 5% of people who lost weight have been able to keep it off long term. With hundreds (possibly thousands) of exercise and menu planning options out there, can it be that none of them work? Of course not. In many cases, the one thing they have in common is that people simply do not stick with the program. If you consistently make good choices and consistently stay active, you will see long-term results.
    A supportive community approach is part of a healthy lifestyle experience. SparkPeople is based on the idea of people helping each other live healthier lives. Whether help comes from a coach, spouse, friend, online community, team, neighbor, co-worker, social group or personal trainer, studies show that involving other people increases your chances of reaching a goal. Get support from our Message Boards.
    Make it a positive experience. Both losing weight and a living healthy lifestyle are exciting adventures! Instead of putting pressure on yourself, you should feel good about chasing your goals—not just because it makes the whole thing more enjoyable—but because feeling optimistic and positive helps you reach your goals faster. A study of first-year law students found that optimists feel more confident, are more successful, and even have stronger immune systems.