Weight Loss Mythology 101
If your idea of watching the New Year come in with a bang is to shoot up your bathroom scale, you may want to reconsider your eating habits before writing up your resolutions for the coming year. You've tried to be a careful health consumer and have been an avid media reader on nutrition issues. The problem is that a lot of the information put out there for your reading pleasure is based on mythology. Here are some of the most common weight loss myths:
Myth #1—Eliminating specific food groups can help you lose weight.
A lot of people are cutting out the carbs (carbohydrates) from their diets as the result of bad advice that continues to circulate. It's not a good idea to cut out an entire food group from your diet. Common sense overrules this concept.
We've all heard about the need for a balanced diet. That means you have to include all of the food groups into your daily diet. The sensible way to do this is to picture a dinner plate divided into four sections. One quarter of the plate should be filled with fruit, another quarter filled with vegetables, one quarter with healthy grains, and the final quarter occupied by lean protein, such as fish, chicken, or meat.
Myth #2—Eliminate all fat and sugar from your diet.
If you follow that advice, you'll have pretty much cut out all of the foods you really enjoy. By now, we all know that eating a lot of fat and sugar will make you gain weight. But you don't want to use this knowledge to extreme. You can't cut out everything you like, or you'll doom yourself to certain failure.
Instead, balance your cravings by planning around them. If you're craving a nice big bowl of bread pudding, temper your dessert lust by prefacing your sweet course with a huge portion of salad. Tack a few extra minutes onto your workout routine and you're covered for the occasional indulgence. Giving into a craving in a reasonable way keeps you from binging and falling off of the diet wagon altogether.
Myth #3—Always purchase fresh produce over canned or frozen.
While a fresh-picked vegetable will certainly be packed with more nutrition than those which have been frozen or canned, there's no way for you to judge how fresh produce has been handled or how long it's been sitting in your grocery store. Frozen vegetables on the other hand, have been picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen to preserve nutrients. They may be even healthier than the fresh veggies sitting around on your grocer's shelf. Canned vegetables may have added sugar or salt, but in general, are every bit as healthy as the frozen variety.
Myth #4—Avoid dining out while attempting to lose weight.
It's true that American restaurants are super-sizing portions and that even a salad can be loaded down with fattening goodies, but it's possible to eat out and have a healthy meal. The key is in how the menu items are prepared. Choose items that have been grilled or steamed, rather than stuffed or fried. You can also request that dressings and sauces be served on the side.