Tuesday, July 10, 2012
3 New Weight Loss Myths, Busted
Myth 1: Eat five mini meals throughout the day. The initial idea was to eat small, healthy amounts of food every couple of hours to keep blood sugar levels steady and energy high. The trouble is, many people end up eating what amounts to five full meals. "I find that people do much better when they sit down and have three balanced meals a day with two small snacks in between," says nutrition counselor Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD. "Real meals stave off hunger. If you eat tiny bits throughout the day, you're hungry all the time."
5 tips for healthy snacks
1. Skip mid-morning snacks. A recent study of women on diets found that those who didn't have a mid-morning snack lost 4% more weight than morning noshers. Why? The gap between breakfast and lunch typically isn't long, and you're probably not really hungry for something by mid-morning (but someone brought in doughnuts and . . . well, you know how that story ends), which brings us to our next strategy.
2. Follow the 5-hour rule. If there's more than 5 hours between meals, go ahead and have a snack. The break between lunch and dinner often is longer than 5 hours, and a late-afternoon snack will satisfy your appetite so you're less likely to overeat at dinner. The same study also found that afternoon nibblers tend to eat more fruits and vegetables compared to those who skip an afternoon snack, so well-planned afternoon snacks can help boost your nutritional bottom line, too.
3. Add some protein. It helps you stay satisfied. Plus, protein helps you build muscle so you burn more calories and lose more weight. Good protein candidates include plain, fat-free Greek yogurt with walnuts, a hard-boiled egg, or peanut butter on celery or whole-grain crackers.
4. Revamp your snack lineup. Clean out your pantry, fridge, and desk drawer at work. Toss out anything that has more than 4 grams of sugar per serving. Restock with healthy snacks, such as nuts, whole-grain crackers, fat-free yogurt, fruit, and cut-up veggies. If healthy stuff is on hand, you're less likely to visit the vending machine.
5. Eat the same snack every day. Variety may be the spice of life, but it can spell trouble for your bottom line. A new study from Cornell University finds that the greater the variety of foods we eat, the more calories we gobble, so find your favorite healthy snack combo and stick to that.
Myth 2: Eat less by using small plates. Studies have shown that large plates lead to more eating because they make portions look smaller, but the small-plates idea only works if there's a limited amount of food to put on the plate. In a recent diet study at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, 10 overweight and 10 normal-weight women were randomly assigned a large or small plate for eating lunch on two different days, then allowed to serve themselves. The result? The ladies ate until they were full, regardless of plate size. "Make what you need, or measure the amount before putting it on a plate, then put things away," recommends Tallmadge, who was not involved in the study. "It's having easy access to food that keeps you eating more."
5 ways to fight food cravings
1.Practice mindful meditation. Spend just 7 minutes a day focusing on recognizing, accepting, and experiencing your cravings rather than trying to ignore or suppress them. Dieters who do have far fewer food cravings, and resist them better
2.Get on your feet. Especially if you're craving chocolate. A quick walk will curb even major chocoholic cravings in just 15 minutes. It works by stimulating feel-good brain chemicals
3.Hit the mute button and do sit-ups -- or this -- when commercials come on. You'll switch off cravings, too. Adults (and kids) eat more snack foods after watching TV shows loaded with food ads.
4.Try yoga. Aside from making you stronger, suppler, and calmer, yoga helps you tune in to your appetite and recognize whether you're actually hungry or just bored. .
5.Have that little cookie you can't stop thinking about. Sometimes, trying to stifle a craving makes it grow so intense that, when you finally cave, you eat the whole bag. Yep, having one little banana-oatmeal-walnut cookie now may save you from having 30 later. Don't beat yourself up. Relish it. Take a small bite, savor the taste, have another bite. Thoroughly enjoy it. Then move on.
Myth 3: There's only one right way to diet. Diet books are churned out all the time, touting pounds lost by following the rules of the latest trendy plan. A new weight loss study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., reveals it doesn't matter what meal plan you're on because you'll lose weight as long as you stick to it. In the study, several hundred overweight or obese people were randomly assigned one of four diets, with varying amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. The researchers checked the participants' weight after six months and again at two years. They found that people were able to maintain a weight loss of more than 8 pounds over two years no matter which plan they were on.
"A healthy diet will work because it forces you to organize yourself," Tallmadge says. "You're watching portions, you're following a guide. What needs to be looked at is weight loss over the long term. You can only follow an eating plan like an automaton for so long. It's better to understand the principles of healthy eating."
Still, she says, no matter what diet you follow, "adherence is the key."
I thought this was cute