Every magazine on the shelf seems to be touting a “new” way to lose weight. You see commercials for scientifically-based supplements to assist you in becoming slim. But is there really an innovative way to shed those extra pounds? What should you know, and believe, when it comes to nutrition?
This is not your typical weight loss article. I won’t tell you the secret to weight loss-because there is no secret. The formula may not always be easy, but it is simple.
Here’s the deal. People want to sell magazines, supplements, weight loss pills, and diet bars. Therefore, they make the case that they have a new discovery that will help you to shed weight easily, once and for all. Is there anything to their claims?
Let’s talk about nutrition. It’s not that complicated. If you decrease your caloric intake while maintaining your level of physical activity, you will lose weight. If you maintain your caloric intake while increasing your level of physical activity, you will lose weight. If you decrease your caloric intake and increase your level of physical activity, you will lose even more weight. Obviously, any reasonable hope of maintaining a weight loss depends on BOTH a healthy eating plan and an exercise plan.
However, extreme reduction of calories is not wise. It is recommended that women do not eat fewer than 1200 calories per day, and men do not drop below 1500 calories. Extremely low daily caloric intakes can lead to decreased energy and decreased immune system function. Furthermore, very restricted eating often leads to bingeing.
You can make healthy food choices (baked fish, oranges, bananas, etc.) and resist temptations (cake, potato chips, pepperoni pizza, etc.) and not lose weight. In fact, it’s quite possible you could gain weight. How? It’s all about portion. It doesn’t matter what you eat if you are simply consuming too many calories.
So why do we recommend fruits and vegetables over cookies? First of all, fats and sweets have an addictive effect for some. It’s common for someone to say, “I ate a cookie and then another cookie and then another cookie…Before I knew it, the whole bag of cookies was finished!” How often have you heard someone say, “I started eating apples and just couldn’t stop?”
In addition, the volume of fruits and vegetables you can eat per hundred calories is impressive compared to the volume of cookies you can eat per hundred calories. If you choose to consume a one hundred calorie snack, you can eat more grapes than M Ms.;
You will also find that foods we consider to be healthy are more filling. It’s not uncommon to eat a piece of cake and be hungry again in an hour. Why? Because there is little nutritional value in cake. It’s not going to get you through a hard workout and a long day at the office. An apple with peanut butter, on the other hand, provides lasting energy.
Many individuals who are trying to lose weight get caught up in fad diets that promise fast results. New products on the market draw the interest of those who struggle with obesity. However, obesity is an epidemic that is relatively new. Our great-grandparents’ generation was not overweight.
So why is that we think that the latest innovation in weight control will allow us to shed pounds? If we needed the latest innovation to help us shed pounds, previous generations would have been more overweight, not less overweight, than our generation.
When it comes to controlling your weight, forget fad diets and new technology in weight loss. Common sense is the best approach to weight loss and maintenance.