Eat this. Don’t eat that. Eliminate carbs. Consume more fat.
If you’ve ever considered dieting, you know just how confusing it can be with all the conflicting advice. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated.
One thing people have been told for years is to eat a variety of foods. As it turns out, this may not always be the best approach. For some people, eating a variety of foods, flavors and textures can lead to overeating. One way to manage your weight is to keep your diet simple by choosing similar foods day after day. This practice takes the guesswork out of meal planning, it lessens stress when making food decision, it minimizes food triggers and long-term weight maintenance is possible.
We have learned that hyper-palatable foods – foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt – can cause people to eat more. We’ve discovered they have an addictive property similar to drugs. Even eating a small amount of these foods can trigger you to eat more. So, for people trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid these foods.
It sounds simple, but the truth is that if you want to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. Following this logic, many of the popular diets can help you lose weight – for example, Whole 30, Paleo, Atkins and more. But it’s important to remember that a diet won’t do any good if you end up compromising your nutritional health. Unfortunately, many fad diets are not the best for long-term weight loss because they cut out entire food groups, leading to the loss of important nutrients, which negatively affects your health.
The National Weight Control Registry, a database of successful weight losers who have lost an average of 66 pounds and have kept it off for five and a half years, reveals strategies that have helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off. These include:
- Eating breakfast, every day – a healthy breakfast sets the tone for the day and also keeps you from overeating at lunch.
- Sticking to a modest amount of calories every day – about 1,300 for women and 1,700 for men.
- Limiting fat consumption to 24 percent of your diet.
- Staying consistent throughout the week – the most successful people eat the same foods during the week and weekend.
- Weighing yourself frequently – self-monitoring, an important aspect of weight management, can provide motivation as you get closer to your goal weight as well as help you catch any weight gain before it becomes a problem.
- Exercising an average of 60 minutes per day. It doesn’t need to be super intense – it might be surprising to know, but the most common form of exercise among people in the registry is walking.
In addition, it’s important to count calories. People tend to underestimate the amount of food they eat. Try keeping a food journal so you begin to understand what you’re eating and when. Today, there are many food and calorie counting apps that make it easy to log your calories. With many, you’ll also be able to see your intake of different nutrients.
Weight loss is a process. At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we have the professionals and services to meet you wherever you are in your weight loss journey. If you need help getting started, call us at 630-527-7205 or 331-221-6140.