Archive for January, 2009

Weight-LossMyths

As a nutritional counselor, I see many people who come to me
after several failed attempts at dieting. There are a few myths that I would like to dispel:

Avoid eating carbohydrates if you want to lose weight. Repeat after me “carbohydrates are not the enemy” and they won’t make you fat! While high-protein diets like Atkins and South Beach will work at the onset, for most people these diets are disastrous and not only affect overall health but also the pounds come right back on (and more) when they go off the diets. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, 7- grain bread and whole wheat pasta fill us up and are high in fiber, protein, and bvitamins and essential for energy, mental clarity, digestion and overall optimal health. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as white bread, rice and pasta, which are basically starch and turn into sugar when digested. For those of you who want to learn more about this, please read my article on Complex Carbohydrates.

Eat low fat foods if you want to be skinny.
NO! Eating low fat foods just leads to our feeling like we are deprived. Most people who eat low fat items eat more of them and more calories leads to more pounds. Additionally, foods where the fat has not been taken out such as whole fat yogurt (mind you, the kind without all the added sugars!) will leave you feeling satiated and full and, as a result, we will eat less. Studies show that adding healthy fats to our diets such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts can actually aid weight loss.

Eat late and you will gain weight.
Again, untrue. Your weight is determined by the amount of calories that you consume and expend over the course of your day. We do tend to eat more calorie-laden food late at night- especially after a drink or two- so if you do eat late don’t feel and make good, healthy choices and you will find that it does not matter when you eat. If I eat late I usually start off the next morning with a cup of hot water and lemon and then wait to eat until I am truly hungry.

I can be skinny and have curves.
Sorry girls we can’t have a skinny bod and curves. Just not happening unless you have been naturally (or surgically) endowed. I have had so many clients coming to me working with weight trainers who have told them otherwise. Our chest size is hugely dependent on our overall body weight. Choose to be skinny or have breasts but both is not an option. Be ok and embrace the body that you have.

Walk your weight off.
I am probably going to be shot saying this but you can not walk major weight off unless you are just starting a workout program, are walking long distances or at a very fast pace or have an illness or injury. Walking is a great exercise if you are at your target weight and maintaining overall health, but if you want to lose weight you need to speed it up! Run outdoors or on the treadmill, sweat it out on the stairmaster at the gym, do a rigorous yoga class- whatever you do increase your heart rate and do aerobic work for at least 30 minutes working up to 45 mins a day four days a week and you will see results.
Additionally, working out stimulates serotonin, which makes us feel good, and when we feel good we make better food choices! Exercise and you will look and feel better.

You can do it all!
Sacrifice that extra hour of sleep for a workout and go, go, go even if you are feeling tired! Again, big no! Loss of sleep is linked to the bodies’ inability to regulate insulin and, ultimately, to weight gain. When you run yourself into the ground, your body goes into a “fight or flight” mode and secretes the hormone cortisol, which helps the body convert protein into glucose or sugar. When this glucose is not used it is turned into fat. So, while you are going a 100 miles an hour trying to go to the gym, take care of your family and perhaps even logging in hours at the office, your cortisol levels are raised making it literally impossible for you to lose weight. While of course it is ok to wake up early before the kids and hubbie and get that workout in, make sure you get in bed at a reasonable time so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Studies have found that lack of sleep negatively affects levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. Take care of yourselfsleep is not a luxury it is a priority- so make time to rest and take care of yourself and you
will feel so much brighter and clear-headed and the pounds will melt away.

All-Powerful Almonds

Under a lot of stress and constantly on the go? Grabbing a handful of almonds for a snack may be just what the doctor ordered!

Not only are almonds high in vitamin E, which has been proven to prevent cellular damage responsible for stress and reduce the risk of heart disease, but they also are a source of calcium,
magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folic acid and fiber. Almonds are also high in antioxidants and are low in saturated fats. One ounce of almonds (20-25 almonds) represents 12% of your daily
allowance of protein, 35% of your daily allowance of vitamin E and as much calcium as a glass of milk!

Throw almonds on salads, have a handful as a snack or choose to put almond milk on your cereal in the morning and reap the benefits! If your children are not allergic to nuts, almonds are a wonderful after-school snack.