Summer is almost here and this is the season when everyone seems to be talking about a new weight loss fad. Forget the quick weight loss schemes. We know that getting to – and staying – a healthy weight can help you feel better. It will also lower your risk of eight common cancers.
For weight loss success while still eating delicious food, the key is to focus on key behaviors. Here are some of the recent myths we hear – and get asked – about losing weight.
Myth: If I eliminate sugar, I don’t need to worry about calories to lose weight.
Some obesity researchers are suggesting that it’s the sugar and not the calories that are most important for weight. The role of sugar and refined carbohydrates in our obesity epidemic is making a lot of headlines lately, yet the research isn’t clear. It’s true that Americans eat too many sugary and refined foods, such as chips, cakes, soft drinks, and sugary snacks. It’s hard to separate the extra calories in these foods from the sugar-calories.
Plenty of healthy foods contain natural sugars – think mangoes and bananas – and the occasional sugary food can still be part of a healthy diet.
Try this: Here’s a strategy backed up by research that you can start today:
Replace foods like white bread and sugary cereals with whole grain breads and cereals. Ditch the chips and energy bars for crisp vegetables, whole fruits and salads sprinkled with crunchy nuts. You’ll have larger portions and more bites, but fewer calories with more fiber and water. There is research showing that foods with fewer calories per bite can help you feel full without overdoing on calories.
Myth: Diet sodas cause weight gain.
A couple of studies observed that people who drink diet sodas are more likely to be overweight and obese. But those only saw a link.
When a recent study compared how different beverages affected weight loss, they found those drinking diet beverages also lost weight. This was a short term study, 12 weeks, but the research suggests that you don’t need to avoid diet drinks. We need more research to understand their effect.
But the role of sugary beverages in weight control is clear. AICR recommends avoiding sugary sodas and drinks because drinking those can lead to weight gain, overweight and obesity.
Try this: If you are cutting back on sugary beverages and you find substituting those with diet drinks helpful in making the transition to less calories, go ahead. They can be part of your overall program to make healthier choices and reduce your cancer risk.
Water and other non-sweetened beverages are also a great way to quench your thirst. If you want a little flavor in your water, we have some great ideas here to help you jazz up your drink.
Myth: Losing weight isn’t worth it because it always comes back.
Over the past ten years, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has followed about 3000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for over one year. Recently, they surveyed these folks and found about 9 out of 10 participants had successfully maintained almost all their weight loss after ten years.
Try this: To keep your weight off long-term, you may want to draw on what worked for the people who were most successful:
- Weigh yourself several times a week
- Get plenty of physical activity – walking was the most common among the NWCR group
- Keep portion sizes small
For tips, strategies and recipes to help you lose weight and keep it off, learn here you can be a healthy weight for life. And sign up to participate in our New American Plate Challenge: 12 weeks to a healthier you, starting in the Fall.
For tips, strategies and recipes to help you lose weight and keep it off, learn here you can be a healthy weight for life. And sign up to participate in our New American Plate Challenge: 12 weeks to a healthier you, starting later this year.