This Sunday, if Wally Bishop goes out to dinner with his three children to celebrate Father’s Day, he won’t be nervous about whether the restaurant will have adequate seating for him, something he used to worry about on a regular basis. After losing over 200 pounds, Wally can just sit back and enjoy the time with his family. He might even save room for dessert.
If you live in South Carolina you’ve probably passed Wally and his lovely wife on their bikes as they peddle around town. Wally describes himself as an avid cyclist but says there was a time when even walking down the block was a challenge. Like many people, Wally was healthy and active until he graduated high school but then slowly the stress of his job and life in general, coupled with poor diet choices and not enough activity caused the pounds to slowly creep on. To make matters worse, whenever Wally would try to diet, he ended up gaining back more weight than he lost. He wanted to change but yo-yo dieting was sabotaging his efforts. Finally, he came to the conclusion that focusing on the scale was actually part of his problem. That’s when he switched gears.
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If you’ve been attuned to the diet world for any time now, you’ve likely heard the idea that gaining weight and losing weight cyclically – often referred to as yo-yo dieting- can throw off your metabolism and cause a whole whirlwind of health problems.
Well a new study would argue that point, suggesting that yo-yo dieters fare no worse than people who remain at a constant weight when it comes to a healthy metabolism. And furthermore, they aren’t any less capable of losing weight than their non yo-yo dieting counterparts.
As reported by NBC News, to conduct the study (published in the journal Metabolism), researchers gathered nearly 400 participants, all of whom were overweight or obese pre-menopausal women between the ages of 50 and 75.
Of this group, 103 women (24 percent) had a past of moderate weight cycling, gaining and losing about 10 pounds multiple times a year. And 77 women (18 percent) had a past of severe weight cycling, meaning they lost and gained 20 pounds several times a year. At the beginning of the study, those in the moderate-to-severe weight cycling categories were heavier on average than those who did not fluctuate in weight.
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Social gatherings can be difficult for dieters. Family food pushers like the grandmother who wants to care for you or the aunt who wants to be admired for a special recipe can make holidays and other family gatherings tricky. At other social gatherings it may be difficult to find things that fit within your food plan, friends may forget your diet, or acquaintances may not be aware of your goals. Medi-Weightloss Clinics recently commissioned a survey that they believe suggests that “it might be easier to lose weight these days if you live alone in a cave with no spouse, family, friends or colleagues.” As I look at the survey responses, though, I think there may be another interpretation.
The online survey was completed by 325 women between the ages of 25 and 55 who were currently dieting or had dieted in the past. It is unclear how these specific women were recruited or chosen. We are also missing further demographic information that might help us explain the results. When asked if they had ever felt others were not respecting their diet, 66 percent of participants agreed. Those most blamed for not respecting a diet were significant others, friends, and relatives; however, these are the people with whom we are most likely to have frequent interaction and most likely to share a meal. The more time we spend with someone, the more chance there is that person could disappoint us. Respondents were least likely (17 percent) to feel disappointed by their best friends.
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Sometimes, good intentions go horribly wrong. How often does that happen with food and fitness goals? You aim to do the right thing but you don’t quite get it. If only the rules would stop changing! Here are a five diet errors I commonly see. Don’t let them happen to you.
You Eliminate Entire Food Groups
We all need a balanced diet to get a full complement of nutrients. The elimination of an entire food group – be it milk, meat, starchy grains, or whatever – calls for fancy diet maneuvers to make up for missing nutrients. In nutrition school, they teach us that eliminating entire food groups places people at risk for malnutrition.
You Neglect Healthy Fats
The focus is no longer on how low can you go with your fat intake. Those old, low-fat diets were often high in sugar and did not deliver health benefits as well as diets rich in healthy fats. The Mediterranean Diet, featuring nuts and seeds, olive oil and fatty fish, is the way to go. Just remember to eat healthy fats within your calorie budget.
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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ditch the food rules, eat what you want, and still achieve a healthy weight? Well, it may be possible. That is, if you follow the 80/20 principle.
The 80/20 principle is a guideline that encourages individuals to eat healthy 80% of the time while leaving 20% leeway for those less healthy choices. This allows you to incorporate all the foods you love into an eating plan, even the worst of them, (Twinkies, anyone?) without feeling guilty. Although this sounds too good to be true, many nutrition experts have found that this concept has helped many individuals fight the battle of the bulge over time, yet knowing a little nutrition know-how and keeping yourself accountable is pretty much essential if you want this concept to guide you towards better health.
First, you have to realize that this principle is a general guideline and not a precise equation that should be used at every meal. Instead, it suggests that if an individual gives their best and eats as nutritionally as they can, successfully sticking to this plan 80% or more of the time will result in success. Or in other words, you don’t have to be a perfect eater to successfully reach your healthy living goals.
And that’s a good thing according to nutrition expert and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips, Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN. Zied who says that “by giving people permission to indulge in small amounts of nutrient-poor but delicious foods like candy or cookies, they may feel less deprived and perhaps it will motivate them to try to include more healthful foods in their diet.”
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