To Start Winning The Battle of The Bulge You Need to Be Able to Separate Fact From Fallacy

From the Baby Food Diet to the Master Cleanse and the Vinegar Diet, there is no shortage of dubious weight-loss advice around. Unfortunately, some of these myths actually have the opposite effect, sabotaging our efforts to lose weight. Take Lindsay, 32, a human resources manager and Pilates devotee from Toronto who tried nearly every ripped-from-the-headlines trick, from ditching wheat to exercising on an empty stomach, that many so-called experts recommended.

To Start Winning The Battle of The Bulge You Need to Be Able to Separate Fact From Fallacy Photo Gallery

Despite years of effort, Lindsay failed to shed the 20 pounds that had crept onto her frame. “I’d try something until it no longer worked, feel crappy about myself and then just hop onto something else,” she recalls. “I was stuck in a vicious cycle of following one weight-loss myth after another.” Sadly, many people, like Lindsay, blame themselves for their weight-loss failures, when the real culprit is bad information.

Once Lindsay started working with a dietitian and trainer who provided sound nutrition and exercise advice, she was finally able to achieve her weight-loss goals. “It feels amazing to understand what works and what doesn’t and no longer fall prey to sensational theories surrounding what I eat or how I work out,” she says. Lindsay now thoroughly enjoys her morning bowlof oatmeal and daily walk in the park with her beagle, Max, to combat work stress, not to mention once again fitting into the same clothes she wore in college.

Don’t Fall For these Fallacies

To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve investigated—and debunked—some common fat-fighting falsehoods that don’t stand up to closer inspection.

Myth 1: overeating is a sign of hunger.

If you’ve ever asked yourself what made you eat that third slice of pizza, it isn’t necessarily because you were Name has been changed  famished; there are many subconscious reasons that may be causing you to overeat.

“I often use the acronym ‘FLAB’ to describe this phenomenon,” says Coral Arvon, PhD, LMFT, LCSW and director of behavioral health and wellness at Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami. “It stands for frustration, loneliness, anxiety and boredom, which are some of the main reasons many of us eat when we’re not actually that hungry.”

Who hasn’t reached for the Ben & Jerry’s after a crazy day at work or a blowup with a loved one? One reason is that stress intensifies the taste of all things sweet, salty and fatty, making portion control harder to practice. “Sugary and fatty foods can also provide a sort of security blanket and distraction in the face of psychological hardship, making a trip to the fridge a coping mechanism,” says Dr. Arvon. “The problem, of course, is that if these external factors spur you to eat when you’re not actually hungry, you could end up taking in a lot of excess calories and packing on the pounds.”

The Reaiity:

Emotions and habits are often what’s behind overeating, not a growling stomach. “To find the root causes of your overeating, think about what your daily rituals are in reference to when you eat,” suggests Dr. Arvon. “You may start to see a pattern of what triggers your hunger and cravings.” Keeping a detailed food journal, whether with pen and paper, an app or an online diary, is a great way to help you tackle this.

Dr. Arvon also recommends the use of what she calls the Hunger Scale to rate how hungry you feel before a meal or snack on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being starving and 10 being as stuffed as after a Thanksgiving feast).

Once you’ve pinpointed what is driving your brownie binges, be it stress, burning the midnight oil or mindless eating, you can build a toolbox for managing it, like employing calm-inducing techniques such as meditation or turning off all distracting devices while at the dinner table.

Myth 2: All calories are created equal:

A calorie from an apple is the same as a calorie from an apple fritter, right? Wrong! Modern science is showing that our bodies handle certain calories differently, depending on the source.

A watershed 2010 study published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research found that when subjects were provided sandwiches of equal calories, the.

Here are some surprising research-backed ways that can help you keep trim.

Chill out: A cool room can not only help you sleep better but also boost your metabolism. According to 2014 research in Diabetes, people who slept in a 66-degree room increased their fat-burning by 10 percent compared with when they slept at a more sultry 75 degrees. Chillier temps activate more metabolically active brown fat in your body, helping you burn extra calories.

Play witH knives: To cut back on calories, try cutting up your chow. A 2012 Arizona State University study found that volunteers who were given a bagel with cream cheese that had been sliced into four pieces ate less of it as well as less during a test meal later on than those who had been given a whole bagel.

Tea up: A 2013 study from Pennsylvania State University found an inverse relationship between tea consumption and waist circumference. Potent antioxidants in tea, particularly the green variety, appear to help reduce fat absorption. Just make sure to stick to unsweetened tea.

Feel tHe resistanCe: Here’s more proof that resistance training isn’t just for buff guys. A number of studies confirm that stressing your muscles through resistance training can make it easier to fend off body fat. The reason? Lean body mass is very metabolically active, so the more of it you have, the more calories you’ll burn each day.

Jump on: Though it’s sometimes associated with eating disorders, “daily weighing does work well for some people because it’s a great way to stay focused and obtain regular feedback,” says psychotherapist Dr. Coral Arvon. A 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that people who weighed themselves daily during a six-month weight¬loss program experienced no adverse psychological concerns such as depression or binge eating.

sandwich made with processed white bread required nearly 50 percent less energy to digest than the one made with heartier whole-grain bread, resulting in a greater net calorie gain.

Further, the thermic effect of feeding—the energy cost of chewing, digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you eat—is higher for protein than it is for carbohydrates or fat. So even though carbs and protein have the same number of calories per gram, the human body stores less of them from the latter. This is likely a major reason why higher protein diets have been shown to encourage fat loss.

The Reaiity:

Total calories do matter in the battle of the bulge, but the quality of those calories is also important. Focus on eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and nuts, rather than highly processed foods. Also, be sure that each of your snacks and meals contains some protein, like a hard-boiled egg for breakfast or Greek yogurt for a snack.

more snack-style foods that don’t contain much in the way of good nutrition.”

As for the extra calorie burn, yes, our bodies do burn up energy to process foods during digestion. Yet a recent British study discovered that frequent eating during the day won’t stoke your metabolism in a meaningful way compared with consuming fewer, larger meals.

For successful weight loss, “it’s

important to determine an eating pattern that works best for you,” Begun says. While some people don’t do well eating small meals because they have poor portion control, “others may do better because they find it keeps them feeling satiated, which reduces overeating come mealtime.” Additional proof that no one rule applies to all.

The Reaiity:

Myth #4: eating more fruits and

vegetables guarantees weight loss.

MYth #3: Mini meals are better than ; eating three squares.

You’ve heard that grazing throughout the day can keep your metabolism revving at a healthy clip and quell hunger pangs. While this advice looks good on paper, it hasn’t panned out in research studies.

Perpetual noshing may in fact backfire. “It’s easy to lose track of your calorie intake when eating several mini meals a day, so you could end up consuming too much and sabotaging any weight-loss efforts,” says Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, a nutritionist and certified natural chef in Boulder, CO. “Grazing may also encourage eating

“it’s eAsy to Lose trAck of your cALorie intake When eating severAL Mini MeaLs a day.”

In a 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers determined that many people wrongly assume that noshing on more fruits and veggies is a guaranteed path to weight loss, regardless of any other dietary or lifestyle changes. What! Aren’t we always told that eating more produce is key to staying svelte?

While it’s true that eating more fruits and vegetables is important because they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, Rebecca Clyde, RD, a dietitian in Salt Lake City, notes that if you eat lots of apples and broccoli in addition to high amounts of calorie-dense foods, you won’t lose weight. “You may even gain [as a result of] excessive calorie intake,” she says.

Fruits and vegetables may be giving your diet a “health halo,” reducing your feelings of guilt and causing you to underestimate the calories you consume when eating higher-calorie treats. A 2014 study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that people judged a bowl of ice cream topped with fruit to have 125 fewer calories than the same amount of plain ice cream.

The Reaiity:

Eating healthy foods doesn’t cancel out the unhealthy ones in your diet. “Any increase in fruit and vegetable consumption needs to replace other, less healthy foods, rather than just supplementing them,” says Clyde. So instead of trying to make a dish of vanilla ice cream “virtuous” by topping it with raspberries, try skipping the ice cream and spooning up a bowl of fruit salad.

“Any increAse in fruit And vegetAbLe COMSUMPTION needs TO repLAce other, Less heALthy FOODS, rather than just suppLementing them.”

Myth 5: gran are fattening.!

With all the malarkey going around about how eating grains is a surefire way to gain weight, you might be considering bidding adieu to them all. But the issue isn’t the grains themselves, it’s the kind we’re eating too much of, namely, heavily refined breads, pasta and baked goods. Choose your grains more carefully; research shows they can help, not hurt, your pursuit of a trimmer waistline.

Case in point: A large review of studies in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that people who ate more whole grains had an easier time shedding unwanted pounds. “The association of whole-grain intake and healthy body weight could be attributed to the synergistic effect of their nutrients such as fiber, minerals and antioxidants,” says Jennifer McDaniel, RD, and a Clayton, MO-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fiber helps increase your sense of fullness and limit overeating, she explains. Refined grains have their fiber- and nutrient-rich bran and germ layers removed during processing. “This makes refined grains easier to overeat and more likely to contribute to unwanted weight gain,” she says.

The Reaiity:

Eat too many processed grains and the needle on your scale could move in the wrong direction. To make grains work for you, McDaniel recommends selecting single-ingredient, whole versions. This includes steel-cut oats, quinoa, barley, brown rice and spelt. For products like crackers and breads, make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain such as whole wheat. And watch serving sizes.

One grain serving is equal to one slice of bread or one- half cup of a cooked one like quinoa.


To far loss.

While regular Pilates sessions and other types of formal exercise will help tip the balance in your favor, so will any movement. In a 2002 study, researchers at the University of Miami found that walking for 30 minutes most days of the week was beneficial in encouraging weight loss.

Chalk it up to NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). “These are the calories we expend during activities like walking the dog and performing yard work that aren’t dedicated exercise sessions,” says Kian Ameli, a trainer and the owner of Momentum Fitness in Concord, CA. “Yet these seemingly trivial activities can add up to increase our metabolic rate enough to kick-start weight loss.” What’s more, a 2015 study by scientists in Austria discovered that a mere 15 minutes of walking was enough to quash cravings for sugary snack foods, as well as reduce urges for them in response to stressful situations.

To increase the chances of weight

loss success, Ameli suggests increasing movement any way you can. “Simple strategies like walking up and down the stairs during commercials or while talking on the phone, parking farther from a store entrance and walking meetings with coworkers can really add up.” He also advocates setting a timer on your phone to go off every 45 minutes as a reminder to get up from your desk and move. Awearable fitness device like Fitbit can help you monitor low-key exercise such as counting daily steps taken.

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