Dieting Mistakes that Women Make and How to Lose the Weight for Good
What's the secret to losing weight and keeping it off? There are so many varied opinions that it can make your head spin! One rule for weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. This makes sense and seems to work, up to a point. But does that mean you could eat 1200 calories of cookies each day and lose weight? Probably not... So if it matters what you eat, what is it that you should be eating to drop pounds for good? Women in particular follow many weight loss myths that can actually compromise the ability to shed fat. Read below to debunk these myths and get on track to healthy weight loss.
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Losing weight doesn't have to be complicated. Focus on eating a clean, whole foods diet with plenty of lean protein, whole grain carbs, vegetables, healthy fats and fruit. If you do this and combine it with exercise, the weight will come off.
Diet Myths That Can Hurt Your Chances of Losing Weight
If you want to achieve lasting weight loss, re-think these common dieting myths:
- The fewer the calories I eat, the better: This is true to a certain point. If you go on a long term, low calorie (1200 per day or less) diet, you will lose weight in the short term. In the long term, however, you'll push your body into starvation mode. When you eat fewer calories, your body, being the sophisticated machine it is, will learn to slow down to compensate. In other words, your metabolism will slow down. When you increase your calories, your weight will increase, perhaps even higher than it was before. This is called yo-yo dieting and you want to avoid it. So what's the solution? Cycling your calories can help. You can create a calorie deficit for several days and then for one or two days you should eat enough calories to maintain your weight. This will trick your body and prevent it from going into starvation mode.
- Skipping meals is an effective way to lose weight: Not really. Again, when you skip a meal, your body will think it's starving and will compensate by slowing down your metabolism. As an added bonus, your muscle mass could be compromised as your body breaks down muscle for fuel. This is definitely bad because muscle mass helps us look toned as well as burn more calories at rest. When you finally do sit down for a meal, you'll probably overeat because you're so hungry from skipping the meal. What's the solution? Don't skip meals. Eat something small every few hours so that you're eating about 5 times a day.
- A vegetarian diet is best for weight loss: Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what kind of foods you eat as a vegetarian. Unfortunately, many vegetarians rely on refined carbohydrates like pasta and rice as diet staples. Not only do these lack complete proteins, but they also act like sugar in the body, increasing insulin and fat storage. To lose weight, you need minimize this insulin response and you need to get enough protein. Protein is great for increasing your metabolism (it takes more energy to digest), building and maintaining muscle mass, and satisfying hunger. Some experts say that you should eat one-half to one gram of protein per pound of body weight. You also need to stabilize your blood sugar by avoiding refined carbs. If you're a vegetarian, make sure you're getting enough protein and eat whole grains instead of refined carbs.
- Packaged diet foods are a convenient way to eat while on a diet: They may be convenient but they're a lousy way to lose weight. Most diet foods are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar. Things like store bought shakes and bars, and frozen dinners can make your waistline bigger by spiking your blood sugar, which releases the fat storing hormone insulin. They also fail to satisfy hunger, causing an eating binge later. Instead, rely on whole foods for weight loss. Whole foods contain more nutrition and fiber and require more energy for the body to digest, aiding weight loss. Instead of having a bar, try a hard boiled egg and an apple. Instead of a frozen dinner, heat up some chicken breast and have it with a salad and a side of brown rice. If you cook in large batches, you can eat some now and have some for later, saving cooking time. You can make a dozen hard boiled eggs at a time and store them in your refrigerator for a quick snack any time. Eating whole foods doesn't have to be inconvenient.
- I need to forgo all carbohydrates in order to lose weight: You can eat carbs and still lose weight, you just need to eat the right kind. Avoid everything that's white - white bread, rice, pasta, cookies, cakes, and candies. Instead you should focus on whole grains and unrefined carbs. Good examples are oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and beans of any kind. These carbs don't make your blood sugar spike like refined carbs do. Also, all vegetables are terrific for weight loss. You can also eat some fruit but limit yourself to a couple servings a day.
- I need to cut out fat from my diet to lose fat: This is actually harmful to fat loss efforts. Believe it or not, your body needs fat to lose fat. This is because most hormones in our bodies, including the ones that help us burn fat, are made of fat. If you consume too little, you'll have a difficult time losing weight. Just like with carbs, it's about eating the right types of fat. You should aim for about 30% of your calories from fat from sources such as almonds, walnuts, avocado, and flax oil.