It’s no secret that there is a massive , massive demand for effective weight loss solutions in our society.
Many people are interested in weight loss because of the perceived ( and often delivered) promise of both looking and feeling better, which can be incredibly strong driving forces.
As a result , we are bombarded by programs, services and supplements that play people’s hopes and desires to be healthier.
Unfortunately, the majority of the solutions being offered are quick fixes with minimal long-term efficacy.
The reality is that people are still going for them, otherwise they wouldn’t continue to exist.
Why does this happen?
Well, statistically speaking many North Americans are technically classified as overweight, largely ( but not exclusively) as a result of a consumption of calories beyond their needs.
This means that the potential market for weight loss products/services is massive. When you couple that with the fact the average person isn’t overly nutrition savvy, a situation is created where well marketed but ineffective products and services can be profitable .
Alas, quick fixes and silver bullet solutions do NOT work.
So, if your tired of false promises let me share with you my ” not so secret” tips to help you manage your weight this summer ( and every other season too).
The first secret to losing weight? There is no secret to losing weight.
The most fundamental thing you need to understand is that losing weight is achieved, in most cases, by adopting one ( or both) of the two behaviours described below.
1. Eating Healthier: The key component I emphasize with all my clients. It is never just about losing weight. It’s about eating healthier food too. Weight loss could be as simple ( on paper) for some people as identifying the weakest parts of their diet and substituting those foods for healthier options on a regular basis ( ie: popcorn for chips, yogurt for ice cream)
2. Eating Less: The other fundamental component of weight loss is eating less. If portion and quantity control is an issue for you, know that even an extraordinarily healthy diet can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Most people consume not only the wrong foods , but too much food in general.
Let’s take at a look at the steps you can take to address both of the concerns above:
1.Understand how much you are eating currently
The first step to eating less is understanding how much you eat currently.
It could take as little as a measuring cup and closer visual assessment to start on your path towards this goal and it could go as far as more complex calorie tracking using an application ( I don’t recommend this, but I know some people enjoy the clarity they provide).
It need not be overly complicated though.
Replacing a portion of your calorie dense foods ( such as your meat & grains) with more leafy green vegetables, is a great place to start for most people.
2. Know that many of your calories may not even be coming from whole foods
I see this in my practice all the time, where people struggle to lose weight even though their diet appears healthy and moderate.
Statistically speaking, however, foods such as soft drinks, beer, salad dressings, vegetable oil ( yes including olive oil) are known to contribute excess calories to our diets.
These foods aren’t technically part of any food group and may be holding back your weight loss endeavours.
The solution? Start by reducing your consumption of these items by 50%. For example using 1 tbsp of oil for meal prep rather than 2+.
3. Know that even a “healthy” meal at a restaurant usually contains excessive amounts of calories
I see this a lot in my clients.. the unfortunate reality is that even if you are pretty savvy at eating smart while you are out, it can be very challenging to avoid a calorie excess.
People want food that tastes good, one of the easiest ways to improve foods taste is adding sauces and oils. Which in turn adds calories. This is the restaurant business.
If you eat out a lot ( 5+ days a week) you need to make sure you are eating out smart, but even more importantly you probably need to make sure you are eating out LESS.
Bringing rather than buying lunch could be a massive step in the right direction.
4. Know that there are certain foods you can consume a lot of for not that many calories
Most people love to eat large quantities of food, myself included.
This can often lead to an excessive intake of calories.
There are some foods out there, however, that tend to be naturally quite low in calories relative to their volume, which means you can eat more for less!
Plain popcorn and strawberries are two great examples of these types of foods.
You could probably have popcorn and strawberries to your hearts content before came close matching the amount of calories in an order of large fries, for example.
5. Keep your hunger under control:
One of the common issues I see in my clients is a lack of consideration for regular snacking which leads to uncontrolled eating and poor food choices later in the day.
If you know yourself to be someone who indulges in less healthy choices or eats excessively when they go long periods of time without food, you need to be proactive and avoid putting yourself in those types of situations.
There you have it folks… The closest you will get to get summer weight loss secrets, presented by yours truly.
Hope they helped!
Until next time
Andy De Santis RD MPH