New year’s resolutions encourage us to look for ways to improve ourselves via health, finances, relationships or any other kind of positive change we want to make. However, even with the best intentions, it’s possible to fall into “traps” that may not help us achieve our goals, and in some cases may actually make it harder to accomplish them.
The problem with these traps, or myths, is that they are believed to be true and valid for a while due to the excitement around the initial research and results, only to be debunked later.
As we continue to live through the early months of 2017, we should keep our goals in mind, especially when it comes to staying healthy and maintaining our weight loss goals.
Let’s review some of the most popular weight loss myths that have popped up over the years that should be forgotten in 2017.
It was common to get the suggestion of “cutting yourself off” of eating past a certain point in the evening (typically between 6 and 8 pm at the latest). The idea was that if you ate past a certain point and would then go to sleep shortly after, the food would be stored as fat instead of being burned off for energy throughout the day.
However, this year you can toss that piece of advice away: What time you eat or stop eating has little bearing on your weight gain or loss. What’s more important than when you stop eating is the number of calories you’re consuming throughout the day.
If you enjoy your late night snacks or meals, try to choose healthier options that will be easier for your body to digest. Keeping track of the calories you’re consuming can provide additional perspective to just how much you’re eating overall.
Many people would try to deprive themselves of certain types of foods that were believed to be major problems in their diet. For example, someone might consider cutting out carbs, sugar, baked goods, etc. While it’s great in theory to be able to rule problem foods out of your diet, depriving yourself entirely of certain foods can have the opposite result. It’s not uncommon for people who try to deprive themselves of certain foods to cave and binge eat that very type of food they were once going without.
What’s more important is moderation in order to maintain your weight loss. Rather than depriving yourself of entire categories of food, try to reduce the overall consumption by small amounts over time until you find a balance that works.
For a long time it was believed that going without fat, or at least having a low-fat diet, was crucial to weight loss. The idea was that low-fat foods were stuffed with sugar for flavoring, and would result in weight gain.
However, as time progressed, we’ve found out that there are healthy fats. These fats can actually improve metabolism and, as a result, help you lose the belly fat you might have. Foods with healthy fats, like eggs and fatty fishes (Omega-3 fat that can support heart health) and avocados (monounsaturated fat help improve blood cholesterol) can also fill you up better, causing you to avoid more hunger cravings.
When it comes to losing weight, what hasn’t changed is the need to create a gap between the amount of calories consumed and the amount of calories burned. However, what’s ineffective is starving yourself of certain meals in order to drastically reduce the intake of calories. When you skip out on meals, your metabolism can actually slow down, and you’ll most likely overeat at a later time to compensate for your skipped meal. A better option is to change up your diet and choose lower-calorie foods that have protein, whole grains and/or are high in fiber. These will keep you feeling fuller longer, but be sure to have some extra snacks on hand in case you know there will be a longer time than usual between meals.
It used to be believed that if you worked out enough and did plenty of exercise, you could get away with eating whatever you wanted. This is sadly not the case. While being physically active and exercising frequently is important, it’s just as important to stay active in the kitchen by preparing meals and sticking to your meal plan as much as possible.
Everything from the type of foods you eat to the portion sizes you consume, and everything in between, will play a role in how effective your weight loss plans are. Focus on your nutrition to begin with, and if exercise is part of your weight loss journey, we recommend beginning with a brisk walk and working your way toward other activities.
It’s not uncommon for people (and some doctors) to think that weight gain is dependent on the history of your family. While it’s possible that genetics can “influence” certain characteristics and traits within ourselves, they are not the sole determining factor of how much weight we are going to gain in our life. Look at health patterns that surround your family, like a tendency to overeat or indulge in sugary treats, and find ways to change those behaviors.
If you’re looking for help to cut through some of the weight loss myths and find your way to weight loss reality, we’re here to help. Contact us today at Medifast Weight Control Centers of California by scheduling a consultation at a center near you to discuss the right Medifast Program for your weight loss journey.