Perhaps you’d like to drop a few pounds… or more than a few. According to the CDC, over 35 percent of Americans are obese, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30%. (You can use this BMI calculator to find out your BMI.)
A high BMI puts you at risk for many health problems, including type II diabetes and heart disease. Are you tempted to get the excess weight off as fast as possible, no matter the cost? There are so many diet pills, guides, and diet programs that promise to do just that. However, most of these “schemes” do not promote healthy lifestyle changes. How do you determine the healthy way to lose weight, and how do you avoid common pitfalls of dieting?
Dieting Myth #1: Low-fat Equals Healthy and Trim
For years, Americans were told that low fat was the way to go; it would decrease our chances of heart disease and other conditions. (We say Americans because thankfully most of the world did not jump on this bandwagon.) The followers of this advice cut out healthy fats, or added extra processed carbohydrates to their diet in order to fill the void.
Food manufacturers bear much of the responsibility – advertising ‘low fat’ foods to entice dieters. Then they added sweeteners, salts and other additives to compensate for removing the richer taste of fat. Most candies such as jelly beans or lollipops are fat free. But could we say candy is a diet food? Hardly. We all know that a diet based on sugar is not healthy and will not lead to weight loss.
The fact is, we all need a certain amount of fat in our diets to remain healthy. The body uses fat to produce hormones including estrogen and testosterone. The body uses fat to make vitamin D, essential for bone and heart health and more. Fats are more satiating than many carbohydrates and will therefore curb your appetite.
DO: Include healthy fats in your diet. Olive oil, nuts, salmon, coconut oil are all great sources. Use all-natural animal fats such as butter and red meat in moderation.
DON’T: Eat low-fat, processed foods. High carbohydrate, low-fat foods may lower bad cholesterol, but they also lower good cholesterol.
Dieting Myth #2: Severe Calorie Restriction is Necessary
“Lose ten pounds in one week!”, “Jane Doe lost 65 pounds in only one month!”
It’s true that we need to burn more energy than we consume in order to to lose weight, but restricting calories dramatically has terrible results. Severe calorie restriction diets often cause major drops in blood sugar, which cause feelings of irritability, vertigo, and shakiness. To calm these symptoms, dieters often crave and reach for unhealthy snacks.
Unfortunately, the body that is deprived of sufficient nutrition will go into conservation mode. The brain will not signal the body to burn extra fat that is consumed; indeed, the body will store it, slowing metabolism even more.
DO: Talk to your nutritionist about how many calories you need to consume to remain healthy and lose weight.
DON’T: Restrict your calorie intake severely.
Dieting Myth #3: Artificial Sweeteners are Your Friend
How many times have you said you wanted a soda, thought about the calories, and then figured you’d get diet soda instead? You may think you are doing yourself a favor by eliminating a few calories, but will this really help you in the long run? Researchers are discovering that artificial sweeteners may cause more weight gain than sugar. They may stimulate your appetite, encourage fat storage, stimulate a flood of insulin, and increase carbohydrate cravings. Artificial sweeteners also have reported side effects such as abdominal cramping, migraines, joint pain, and increased risk of cancer.
DO: Avoid all artificial sweeteners
DON’T: Fool yourself by thinking diet soda will help you lose weight
If you have some stubborn weight that needs to come off, please contact us today for your free consultation. We will help you lose weight the right way – the healthy way!