Is obesity now a permanent part of America’s physiological landscape? A new study from the CDC confirmed what many of us already knew: United States citizens are heavier than ever, and that trend won’t turn around anytime soon. Ballooning waistlines, high diabetes rates, heart disease – what went wrong?
The reasons for our obesity epidemic are too numerous to examine in one blog post, but there’s plenty of room in this space to look at myths, misconceptions and “conventional wisdom.”
Weight Loss Myths and Facts
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about weight loss. You’ve probably heard some of these, while others might surprise you – and they might make sense, on the surface. But scientific scrutiny, real-life experience and common sense tell a different story.
1. Restricting certain foods is a great idea. Ever hear of the “good food, bad food” weight loss protocol? In a nutshell, this style of dieting restricts certain foods and encourages the consumption of other nutrients – the so-called “healthy foods.” But there are two big problems with categorizing groups of food. One famous study (“Restrained and unrestrained eating,” Herman & Mack) showed that people on a “good food, bad food” diet tended to underestimate the calorie content of acceptable foods and meals. As a result, it becomes much easier to over-eat “good foods.” Plus, the day-in, day-out obsession in determining which foods fall into the “good” and “bad” categories causes a lot of stress, which causes spikes in cortisol, the “fat storage” hormone.
2. You can out-train a bad diet. It sounds good in theory: “OK, I had 3 donuts for breakfast, but I’ll just burn those calories off on the exercise bike later today.” But theory is very different from reality, unless you’re a professional athlete, have an insanely efficient metabolism or are indifferent to pain (rigorous training and overeating can cause injuries or illness).
3. A calorie is a calorie, plain and simple. Even on the surface, this one is easy to dispel. While the calorie is the basic unit of food energy, they’re not equal across the board. Calories from different foods are not absorbed and processed the exact same way. 30 calories of high-fiber blueberries, for example, impact your body much differently than 30 calories of a Twinkie.
4. You have to count calories to lose weight. You can count calories – and many dieters do – but it’s not a requirement. In fact, obsessing over every single morsel, every bite, every meal all the time adds more confusion and frustration, which makes weight loss more difficult. “Calories in, calories out” is pretty sound advice, but it’s not 100% foolproof. Energy expenditure, the thermic properties of food and other variables, impact how calories add up. Bottom line: you shouldn’t have to track everything all the time.
5. If you can’t do it by yourself, you’re doomed to fail. This is one of the most persistent weight loss myths. In the battle of the bulge, a support system matters. You’re going to have those “off days,” where you go to bed thinking you set your weight loss goals back a few steps (and perhaps a few pounds). Everyone knows there are numerous weight loss aids and dieting systems, but do they always place your best interests first? Banner Urgent Care’s medical weight loss plan does. Whether you want to shed 10 pounds for the beach or enact long-lasting, life-changing weight loss habits, our plan is perfect for you!
6. All diets eventually fail. Most fail, but not all. If you want to “solidify” your weight loss efforts and make your new nutritional eating patterns more permanent, stop thinking of your modified routine as a “diet.” Instead, embrace your healthy habits as a lifestyle choice. When you start thinking in terms of months and years instead of hours and days, positive results will follow.
7. You need to spend endless hours on the treadmill. Wrong. “Chronic cardio” can actually cause weight gain. A recent study took two groups of people and tracked their weight loss progress. Group A ate a healthy diet and did aerobic exercise, while Group B ate a similar diet and did resistance training (sprinting, weightlifting, etc.) instead of cardio workouts. After 12 weeks, Group A lost 40 total pounds, 9 of which was muscle. Group B lost 32 pounds, and all of it was fat!
8. Slight weight gain means that you’re on the wrong track. If you’ve put on a few pounds a day or week into your weight loss efforts, don’t sweat it. Those “gains” might actually be muscle! Keep an eye on your waist measurement for an accurate gauge of fat loss. Quick tip: if your waist circumference x 2 is less than your total height, you’re probably at a “good weight.”
9. To aid your metabolism and meet weight loss goals, you have to eat several meals and snacks every day. Think about this myth for a moment. Essentially, you could rephrase it as a question: “What should I be eating to make myself lose weight?” Outside of preparing a grocery list full of healthy options, sometimes, just taking the occasional break from eating is the best weight loss method of all! When eating your larger meals, try to portion your meal in half. Once you reach the halfway point, take about five or so minutes to assess whether you feel full or not. This is a good idea, since your brain and stomach take about 20 minutes to register that you may be full. You may have a larger breakfast or lunch during the day as well, so you may not even need your snacks for the day! Just make sure to listen to your body’s needs and be prepared with healthy options.
10. Avoid high fat foods at all costs. This untruth has been around so long, yet dieters still fall for it. Remember the salad days of the low fat era? This dieting philosophy was rooted in famous research published by Ancel Keys in the mid-20th century. Keys’ research, the so-called Seven Countries Study, concluded that a high-fat diet was responsible for the higher rates of obesity in Western countries. But the research was incomplete – after all, why didn’t Polynesians suffer from heart disease, with a diet consisting of mostly high-fat coconuts and tropical fruits? It turns out the scare-mongering was based on bad science. So don’t shy away from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and other natural foods rich in fats. Just watch out for the hydrogenated vegetable oils, which can oxidize and become rancid very quickly.
The Truth about Dieting
Banner Urgent Care’s medical weight loss initiative takes the mystery out of losing weight. Your dieting journey has many twists and turns, and it’s easy to get lost along the way. That’s why so many of our patients have utilized our weight loss program with outstanding results.
Stop by one of our Arizona walk-in healthcare clinics today to talk with one of our medical professionals. With multiple tiers to select from, our medical weight loss program provides customized data, your choice of weight loss aids, personalized dieting protocols and so much more. For long-term weight loss goals and short-term immediate care, Banner Urgent Care has everything you’re looking for! Contact Banner Urgent Care today to get started with your weight loss plan, or speak with one of our representatives at (480) 988-9108.