February 11, 2013

Wanna Lose Even More Poundage?

People want to look good. They also want to be healthy. For these two reasons, people diet, and they diet in different ways. They also diet in detrimental ways. Before giving up, take a look at this advice on common dieting mistakes from Cynthia Sass of CNN Health.

Right, so I will just start with all those fad diets. You know what I am talking about: the low-calorie or low-carb or all fruit or cabbage soup or fill-in-the-blank here diet. These do not work very well, and they have a tendency to cause more harm than to help one lose weight. Sass says that they cause headaches, moodiness, fatigue, and cravings. As if that wasn’t enough, they usually only end with temporary weight loss.

Sass’ advice: “Jot this on a sticky note for your fridge: NO fad diet is good for my health or happiness. Then avoid them like the plague.”

It has been my experience that the fad diets are only in it for the bank they make off of people wanting to lose weight. Do not trust them. Ignore them. Delete them. Avoid them.

Another mistake Sass discusses is not eating often enough. Many dieters will save up their calories for big meals — dinner out, a party, other eating events — but that is also a big no, no. Doing so actually impacts the rate our metabolisms work by forcing our bodies to burn muscle for fuel, which slows the metabolic rate way down.

Plus, not eating at regular intervals may affect our moods and zap all our energy because we do not have enough calories to function properly. Oh, and if those three things are not enough, not eating often enough was also found as a risk for pre-diabetes. This is perhaps the easiest mistake to fix; people simply need to make sure to eat something every three to five hours.

Carrying on, a third mistake that dieters make on a regular basis is to eat too many good calories. Calories are calories even if they come from the good, healthy foods. And any body taking in more calories than it burns will naturally store the unused calories as fat. Yes, even whole grains and vegetables can be turned into fat. This is where understating our portions and controlling those portions diligently comes into practice. The United States Department of Agriculture’s website ChooseMyPlate is a great resource to help with this.

One must also be careful not to overeat because of our feelings and emotions. Sometimes, when we are stressed, sad, happy, mad, overwhelmed, or just bored, we eat. We eat and eat and eat because our emotions influence our appetites.

Sass recommends that if one overeats due to an emotional state, that person should keep a log of what they eat, how much, and what their feelings were before and after eating. This will not only show people what they are eating, but it will also give insight into why they are eating. Then that individual can replace overeating with another, healthier coping mechanism.

Lastly, ditching food groups (i.e. becoming vegan or following a gluten-free diet) specifically to lose pounds (as opposed to doing so for ethical or health reasons) can be detrimental to weight loss. See, one can’t just stop eating meat without replacing that protein source. Similarly, one cannot cut out gluten-based carbs without supplementing with other carbs. Our bodies need all the different nutrients from the different food groups.

Should one decide to eat vegan, make sure to replace the proteins with nuts, beans, soy, tofu, or other protein sources. Similarly, cutting gluten means that the body will need other carbs like those in gluten-free quinoa or brown rice. Cutting requires replacing so that the body has balance.

Understanding how to diet will lead to a healthier lifestyle and shedding those unwanted pounds. Don’t fall prey to the mistakes of the past. Use Sass’ information to diet right.

Image Credit: Chepko Danil Vitalevich / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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