Diet Scams and Enemies
Knowing Your Diet Enemy
Diets are hard. Period. Getting motivated to get moving, figuring out what foods to eat (or stay away from), and keeping at it when the scale just won't move are just a few examples of what keeps us on the roller coaster we call dieting. Like most people, I too want to lose weight and feel better. I have tried different fad diets, supplements, exercise; everything I could to lose weight, especially after having a child. Below are just a few hidden enemies to your weight loss efforts that many don't think about. Knowing who or what you are working against is a major step in the battle of the bulge.
100 Calorie Snacks
Cutting calories is one of the first and most common diet tricks we try. While it does work, you also have to think about which calories you cut, and which ones you keep. 100 calorie packs are everywhere. You can get cookies, crackers, pretzels dipped in chocolate, all kinds of treats. In addition, these are easy to toss in your bag to take to work, or anywhere else you are headed. These delightful little snacks are great for busy people on the go, and to fill that sweet craving we all get. The down side to these is that the fat and sugar aren't cut out. So, even though you reduce your calorie intake, you are getting mostly fat and sugar calories. This does not help weight loss goals. Also, if you take a look, these snacks aren't different in any way from the original full calorie version. The manufacturers simply portion out the amounts to give you 100 calories worth. You could buy a whole box of cheese crackers and put a handful in plastic bags and get the same effect. In turn, you pay double for saving a few seconds of your time. We could all stand to save some money these days.
Sugar and Sodium
Sugar tastes good. Everyone gets a sweet craving at some time or another. Then, you want the salty to balance the sweet. In comes sugar and sodium. These two make things taste good, but they do not make us look good. Sugar doesn't get used by the body the same way protein or carbs are used. Sugar turns to fat. It also can lead to diabetes. Don't get me wrong, sugar is needed in your diet. In moderation. Sodium stays in your body also. It makes you retain water, which shows up on the scale, and makes you feel bloated or swollen. The way it was explained to me was "Eating a lot of sodium is like putting the plug in the bathtub and expecting the water to drain." Sodium is related to heart issues as well. Sugar and sodium are in most foods, even where you wouldn't expect them. In addition to eating less calories and less fat, take note of the amount of sugar and sodium you are putting in your body. Diet sodas, energy drinks, and those 100 calorie packs we talked about are where sugar sneaks in. Baked chips, pretzels, nuts, and frozen diet entrees are how sodium gets into your diet.
Salad is healthy, right?
Salad is a great way to eat vegetables, cut portion sizes, and stick with a diet. The enemy here is toppings and dressings. The cheese, meats, little crunchy bits, even eggs add fat and calories to your healthy meal. Grilled chicken is better, but breaded chicken can kill a salad. Egg whites are great, but the yolks are loaded with fat and cholesterol. Dressings are the hardest part. Ranch dressing, my personal favorite, is one of the most fattening dressings around. Blue cheese is another culprit. Go for more oil based dressings, which do have some fat, but it's the good kind. you can also get dressings on the side, so you don't use as much.
One of my Favorite Alternatives
Winning the War
So what do I do? Good news, there is hope in this war against weight. From now on, you will know to check not only the calories and fat, but the sugar and sodium in your foods as well. You know that you can save some money by buying bulk snacks and portioning them out yourself. You know how to avoid extra fat in what would be healthy foods. Go for fruits or veggies for a snack, or even have something sweet, just watch how much you have. Drink water. You can add those little flavor packs if water is too plain. Get more protein in your diet. Above all else, try to exercise along with the food choices you make. (It's not so bad once you try it.) The bottom line is, you CAN lose the weight.