If weight loss is one of your goals this year, you are in good company. And for a solid reason.
According to the National Institutes of Health, over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Besides being a risk factor for health complications including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, carrying extra pounds can put service members out of standards and their careers on the line.
Getting healthy is beneficial for the whole family, but why is it so hard? Blame frequent moves, solo parenting situations and an overall stressful military lifestyle, but at some point, it’s time to get serious about your health.
Each year, tempting new diets crop up that promise a quick fix and speedy slim down. Many diets will produce short-term weight loss, if followed correctly. However, much of the time, this is attributed to water loss, not fat. Dieters also often gain the weight back, and then some, when the diet is over.
Because people don’t cheat with vegetables. They cheat with cake.
Let’s dive into three common weight loss myths.
#1: “Skipping meals will help me slim down.”
Claim: Going without food reduces daily calorie intake.
Truth: Skipping meals starves your brain and will leave you hungry, cranky and tired. Our bodies require fuel to function properly and simply cannot run on empty. Not to mention we’re more likely to make poor food choices when we’re starving and exhausted.
Tip: Choose meals full of fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, seeds and high-quality proteins that will keep you satisfied and blood sugar steady throughout the day.
#2: “Carbs are the enemy.”
Claim: The body is best fueled by fat, not carbohydrates. Load up on butter, bacon, oil and nuts to watch the number on the scale drop.
Truth: If you aren’t on a keto diet, you may know someone who is. Low-carb diets are popular because they work really well in the short-term. When we restrict an entire food group like grains, we usually end up reducing overall calorie intake. This way of eating is extremely difficult to sustain in the long-term. Our bodies prefer carbohydrates as the primary fuel source, and severe restriction can be dangerous and lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Tip: Go ahead and nix refined carbs like white rice, white pasta, processed snacks and sweets, but include healthy carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.
#3: “A detox is the best way to kickstart weight loss.”
Claim: Detox diets eliminate toxins from the body and promote weight loss.
Truth: Who hasn’t been tempted by this method of weight loss? Essentially a liquid starvation diet, there is no scientific evidence that detox diets remove any toxins from the body. Did you know that’s the exact job of the liver? Feeling better and more focused while on a detox diet is likely because you aren’t eating processed foods full of hydrogenated fats, sugars and other chemicals.
Starvation periods can mess with your metabolism, too. When you start eating again, your body hangs on to the extra calories and stores it up for fear of being starved again.
Tip: If weight loss is your goal, you want to keep that metabolism burning steadily. Fuel your body regularly with unprocessed whole foods and let your liver handle the detox.
If slimming down for good is your goal, it’s wise to tune out the fads. A better approach is to make one small change at a time; so small in fact, that you hardly notice. Like eating half a sandwich instead of a whole, swapping mustard for mayo or drinking water instead of wine. OK, you might notice that, but you could stop at one glass. After building confidence, make another small change, like adding a fruit and vegetable to each meal.
The good news is that sustained weight loss is often a natural by-product of improved eating habits over time.Read comments