Trying to find the truth in the world of dieting and weight loss is like trying to find a sterling silver needle in a pile of costume ‘silver’ needles.
There are so many ‘facts’ presented by the diet industry – created by the misrepresentation of research data or just plain fabricated – that finding what really works is nearly impossible.
There are, however, certain things that have been true for longer than the diet industry has been trying to sell you its latest recipe book or fad diet.
Here are 5 facts about weight loss you can count on:
1. If you want to lose weight, eat more vegetables
Eat more vegetables! Veggies are the best thing to eat for weight loss for a host of sensible reasons. Here are a couple:
- They are low in calories, but high in nutrients so your body gets what it needs without the bulk
- They are high in fibre, so you feel full and your digestive system works properly – you actually use the nutrients you eat
- They occupy space on your plate (more on this in point 2)
- They contain no fat, dairy, sugar or wheat – all things which are ‘problem foods’ for many overweight people
2. If you want to lose weight, divide your plate appropriately
One of our biggest problems in our eating habits is that we have our macronutrient ratios out of whack.
A typical plate of food is divided into 35% meat, 35% starch and 30% veg.
Those ratios LOOK good. Lots of the stuff you like, right? The problem is the way this looks from a caloric-load point-of-view is 45% of calories come from protein (beans, fish, meat), 50% from starch (grains, potatoes, etc) and 5% from veg. So the most nutritious food group makes up only 5% of your calories.
If you want to lose weight, your plate should be visually divided more like this: 20% protein (beans, fish, meat), 10% starch (grains, potato) and 70% veg.
3. If you want to lose weight, eat LESS…
Refined, processed carbohydrates.
NOT NONE… LESS!
When it comes to dieting, the saying, ‘If less is good, none is better’ does not apply. Starchy carbs exist for a reason. Your body needs the nutrients supplied by whole grains and starchy vegetables – but it does not need the refined and empty starchy foods which most people eat. Cut out the baked goods, sugar, beverages, commercial sugar-cereals, sweets, chocolate, etc.
See point 2 for a good idea of how much starch to eat.
4. If you want to lose weight, AVOID these:
Sugar, wheat and dairy. These are the most processed foods in our diets today. Processed foods are inflammatory foods, and inflammation in the body is not only bad for weight loss, but also causes sickness and disease.
Don’t have a nervous breakdown if you eat a couple of sweets now and then or have cheese in a salad, just generally avoid those three foods. And remember that sugar is hidden in LOTS of foods where you may not expect it. Make sure you read the labels on the products you buy.
5. If you want to lose weight, get support
People who have a social support structure lose more weight than those who don’t. This is because you feel a sense of responsibility for what you have said you will do and don’t want to look like a quitter, and, in the case of a coach, you have someone to help you when you get stuck.
Get a nutrition coach or some friends and family members. Tell them your goals and commit to a deadline for achieving them. Give them regular feedback on your progress, and ask them to check up on you.