On your mark, get set, go! It’s prime weight loss season and I’ve been reading a lot of diet news lately, and there are some really well written articles out there.
But there is a flipside to many new theories that have definite cons when it comes to losing weight, in fact they might even surprise you how they can sabotage your efforts! So here is some weight loss wisdom as you head out onto your new quest.
1. Get a Good Dose of Fat
Many diets now are singing the praises of fat. While getting the “good kinds” of fat, like mono- and polyunsaturated fats in your diet are a healthy thing for brain function and skin health, remember that the amount still counts!! So don’t go hog-wild with the olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Let’s see how your daily fat needs break down for a 1500-calorie/day diet: you’ll aim for 45-50 grams of good fat — so that means roughly 1 medium Hass avocado, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 24 almonds along with plenty of fat-free vegetables and fruits.
2. Including Dark Chocolate Daily Can Help You Lose
Dark chocolate can be part of a healthy diet and it does contain anti-oxidants and fiber. I do agree with health experts who say it’s a sweet superfood, but chocolate can get you into trouble on your weight loss path. If chocolate is one of those “trigger” foods that cause you to eat more than just a few small squares or opens the floodgates for other cravings, skip it. Out of sight, out of mind is sound advice for a food that can sabotage you.
3. You Should Add Dairy to Increase Weight Loss
There are plenty of studies out there that show low-fat dairy as a dieter’s best friend, but does that mean you should add it if you don’t eat dairy now? If you don’t tolerate dairy well or suffer from digestive issues after eating dairy, don’t add it in. Go for a calcium supplement along with dairy-free foods that are rich in calcium like broccoli and white beans.
4. You Can’t Lose Weight Unless You Work Out
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for exercise and I do it every day, but losing weight has a lot more to do with what goes in vs. what you can work off — think of it like this: 25% of your weight loss comes from exercise, and 75% from changes in what you eat! It takes about 1 hour running on a treadmill to burn through 300 calories, the equivalent of 1/2 cup gourmet ice cream — and that’s just a measly little bowl that won’t fill you up. So if you’re planning to work off a pint of ice cream every day, think again. Learn to work out smart, but choosing exercise based on your body’s need, not your need to pay off the calorie debt that you’ve racked up. Be smart when you choose your meals, pack them with plenty of super low-calorie veggies to increase the portion size without loading up on calories.
5. Eating Whole Grain Products Helps You Lose Weight
Eating small portions of whole grains, like oats, buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa in their whole, unprocessed forms can help you lose weight. So-called “whole grain products” like breads, crackers, cereals and the like are usually high in sugar, preservatives,and sodium. Oftentimes they are not 100% whole grain but have white processed flours mixed in which means that you’re headed towards yo-yoing blood sugar levels, more cravings and less calories burned.
6. Better to Wake Up Early to Fit in Exercise
Getting a sound 8 hours of sleep nightly regulates hunger and lowers stress — so sleep is one powerful, no-effort-way to lose weight. So don’t skimp on sleep in place of exercise, rather fit exercise in while cutting out a timetaker like texting, watching TV, or playing video games. Sure, some of these activities are relaxing but getting in three days of exercise a week while releasing pent-up stress and you’ll still have 4 days a week for fun time!
7. Fight Cravings with Healthy Snack Foods
If you have a strong appetite and lots of cravings for sweets, you might be missing out on one incredibly important nutrient: water! The average person only consumes 20% the amount of water the body really needs daily. To figure out how much you should drink, it’s half your body weight in ounces. If you weight 120 pounds, that’s 60 ounces of water, about 2 quarts a day. Sure, if you’re truly hungry in between meals: healthy, calorie-controlled snacks are a good solution after you’ve sipped a cool glass of pure water. Sorry — diet drinks, coffee and tea don’t count!
8. Wine Is OK When You’re Trying to Lose Weight
It’s true that a small glass of wine (around 5 ounces a day) can be healthy, but when it comes to hunkering down to lose those last pesky 5 or 10 pounds, wine can just mean extra calories. 5 ounces is around 100-110 calories and since wine doesn’t really fill you up, I recommend skimming back until you reach your target weight or counting wine as a biweekly treat. Here’s a little known fact: wine and other alcoholic beverages can make your blood sugar drop, which may bring on wicked cravings for sweet the following day. So lighten up your wine intake by making a spritzer with half white wine and half sparkling water or just enjoy on weekends.
9. Get More Protein
This is one of the biggest myths out there, because the average American consumes twice the amount (about 115 grams) of protein than they actually need. Instead of “getting more protein”, get the right amount. For ladies between the ages of 30 and 50, it’s around 50 grams, for men 63 grams. That means a medium chicken breast, an egg, and a 1/2 cup chick peas! Pass on the protein bars, they have lots of added sugar and tend to be very high in calories and skimpy on portion size.