Don't starve for weight loss
While it’s generally true, that consuming less calories will help you lose weight, there are many misconceptions about weight loss – many which can be even more harmful to your health in the long run. Let’s examine these thoughts and set the record straight:
Eating only salad will help you lose weight.
False. Well, and also true, as it goes without saying that if you only eat salads then clearly you’d lose weight… but in a very unhealthy way. Why unhealthy? Eating a regular raw, greens salad will not only restrict caloric intake, but it is also not a whole-health meal – which can also make you lose hair, bone density, teeth enamel, nail strength, muscle mass, and energy. If you feel like eating more salads, choose ones with added proteins, such as grilled chicken, egg/ham/bacon, beans, or nuts and seeds. Remember, it takes a lot of energy to burn off stored fat and bump up metabolism! It probably took you a while to gain weight, so it’s going to take time (and energy) to lose it. Also, consider the type of salad dressing you’re going to put on that beautiful salad, and choose something that’s not creamy. Balsamic vinaigrette or Italian are probably your best choices.
Drinking diet pop is better than drinking regular pop.
False, oh so false! The artificial sweeteners in diet pop slow down your metabolism and make you crave more sugar and carbohydrates. Instead – and if you must drink the stuff – serve 2/3 regular pop in a glass and top up with sparkling water. You’ll be used to the “toned down” flavour in no time. Better yet, get some sparkling water and squeeze half an orange or lemon for flavour.
Carbohydrates make you fat.
False. Loading up on sugary and refined-carbs – such as white bread, pasta, donuts and pastries, even beer (also called “liquid bread”) – can increase your weight due to their lack of necessary nutrients vs. caloric intake. But cutting out carbs completely is damaging to your health, as they are one of the body’s main source of energy fuel and fibre. Instead, choose healthier carb foods, such as vegetables and beans (green beans, lentils, sweet potato), fruits (apples, bananas), whole grain foods (oatmeal, brown rice), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, and almonds).
Are eggs good or bad?
Eggs are an excellent food! A study (‘Food Chemistry’, 2011) found that eating eggs on a regular basis may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, plus eggs are high in antioxidants, proteins, are low in calories, and oh-so-satisfying! The key is moderation, and yes, you’re safe to eat an egg every day.
Eat fat, or skip it altogether?
It really depends on the source of fat – if you’re eating fatty foods that are highly processed, like store-bought frozen lasagnas, pizza, milkshakes or even sausages, then you should really eat them in moderation – like maybe once every couple of months. Instead, choose high-fat foods that are actually incredibly healthy for you and will leave you satisfied: Avocados, cooking with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, fatty fish like salmon, chia seeds, almond butter, and olives.
Three or six meals per day?
This one will really depend on your schedule. While most people can benefit from eating many small meals per day, others just can’t eat small meals, and find that eating often is an over-indulgement and cause for weight gain. There’s also something to be said about the benefits of intuitive eating – or eating when your body asks for it. Intuitive eating works well for those who just don’t wake up hungry, or who feel awful after lunch and prefer to wait ‘til supper-time. Regardless of which method works best for you, choose your meals wisely and eat until you’re satisfied – not full and not “still a bit hungry.”
Plan your meals ahead of time.
Personally, this works so well for me: Before bedtime, I plan what I will make for supper that evening, either by defrosting something from the freezer, or making a mental note of what ingredients I’m missing so I can plan my shopping. I make enough so I have left-overs for lunch the next day, and when all else fails, I prep a “buffet” for lunches: hummus, carrots, cucumber, a small salad with an egg and nuts, etc. Rather than sitting around watching TV at night, this is my time to shine!
Pack your fridge and pantry.
If all you have at home is goodness, then that’s what you will eat. Shop wisely, do a big shopping spree with lots of fresh foods and healthy snacks, and eat well every time!
Change your bowl + 10-minute rule.
Use a smaller bowl for eating soups and stews, and a small side plate for eating your dinners. Sometimes we’re so hungry that we fill up a large plate and feel like we need to eat everything that’s on it, even if we’re full. In addition, follow the 10-minute rule: Once you’ve finished your meal, if you still feel hungry, wait 10 minutes and see how your body feels after that time... If you’re still hungry after that time, then go ahead and serve yourself a bit more. Often all it takes is 10-minutes more for your brain to reach the signal that you’ve eaten.
Don’t wait until you’re starving!
This is where smaller meals come in handy, and work well for many people. And if you’re on the run, make sure you carry some roasted seeds or a healthy granola bar in your pocket, rather than waiting until you get home to devour a dinosaur!
How do you see yourself? Are you really overweight and unable to do simple tasks, like tying your shoes or going up a flight of stairs, without breathing heavily? Or is it that you’re trying to fit into those pants from 20 years ago? Body image is often not analyzed, and plays a big role in weight happiness. How you feel inside, mentally and emotionally, really matter. See where your lifestyle is lacking and focus on its strengths. It’s all about balance and being happy with yourself – inside and out.
Bottom line: Balancing weight loss is a perfect combination of eating healthy, consuming enough calories to satisfy your body’s needs, and expelling energy. If you’re sitting around all day long, don’t expect to lose weight by just eating salads! Fill your day with some form of exercise – you don’t have to join a gym; even a walk around the block, a couple of times per day, will help get the ‘juices’ flowing, bring your spirits up, and help you see results. Don’t make resolutions, create habits.•
“When diet is wrong,
medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
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