If you do a search of the fattest countries in the world, you will find ten different lists on ten different websites. The one thing they have in common is that the US is in the Top 10, with an estimated 38% of the population overweight. A report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says Colorado is doing pretty good, placing us at the bottom of the list with just about one-in-five people suffering a weight problem. That’s still a lot of people and the rate jumped from about 6% in 1990 to just over 20% and it is still trending up.
There are a lot of reasons people put on weight: a sedentary lifestyle, too much fast food, soft drinks (even diet drinks are high in carbs!), and processed foods can all help share the blame. And once on, taking off the excess weight is a major chore.
So why bother? We came across a fortune cookie once that said that “If everybody is fat, then the world is closer together.” That might sound good coming from a cookie, but your doctor will tell you that being overweight is like being on the expressway to diabetes, heart disease, back and leg pain, and a multitude of other issues. Maybe that is good for your tailor, who is always letting out your waistband, but it is a disaster for your health. So lose weight and enjoy a little more personal space!
The checkout counter magazines will bombard you with diets, expert opinions on weight loss and reasons you are adding pounds, and a plethora of other useless information; most of it wrong, some of it harmful. Why the US – and Colorado – is putting on weight is food for a several-volume book series, not a blog post. But we have put together some of the most egregious myths, misconceptions and “conventional wisdom” concepts you should know.
Weight Loss Myths and Facts
There is “good food and bad food” for your health. You’ve heard in on the talk shows and read it in the tabloids: cut certain foods and stick to a diet heavy in specific nutrients – the “healthy foods.” But categorizing groups of food, especially when calorie counting, can create its own set of fat problems. One study (“Restrained and unrestrained eating,” Herman & Mack) discovered that people on a “good food, bad food” diet are not real good at estimating the calorie content of foods and consequently their meals have higher portions of “good foods” than they need. In other words, they are over eating. And relentlessly dividing meals into the “good” and “bad” categories generates stress. Unfortunately, stress causes spikes in cortisol, the “fat storage” hormone, so good food-bad food dieters often add more weight than they take off.
We can work it off! Not really. It is not uncommon to take a look at that glazed donut and figure you can work it off with just a few extra minutes on the exercise bike. But the chances are you are guessing wrong on the calorie count and way off on the time it will take to burn off that before-meeting indulgence. A regular glazed donut and a chocolate covered cream filled morsel will usually have the weight-conscious reaching for the glazed temptation. Not a bad choice, according to calorieking.com. One glazed donut from a popular chain is 190 calories and will take 26 minutes cycling to work off. The cream-filled wonder is 310 calories and requires a whopping 42 minutes on the peddles. This comes in at about twice what most people would guess. And it is never just one, is it?
Out-training a bad diet may sound good, but the reality is that most people undertrain to burn those excess calories. Perhaps a power performance athlete may get away with it, but most people risk serious injury or illness using rigorous training to compensate for overeating. Contrary to the popular belief, the pain you feel may well be setting you back, not moving you forward.
Most people think that they can count calories and just stop when they have reached their limit. Not true. It is not about how many calories you eat, but the kind of calories you consume. No, 30 calories of high-fiber blueberries are not the same 30 calories of a Twinkie. In an upcoming book by Steve Caparella, he recommends forgetting the calorie counting and using a 50/50 balance between grams of nutrients from fresh fruit and vegetables and your protein/carb base. He counts grams first, matching carbs and proteins to the number of grams of fruits and veggies. So if your goal is 1200 calories, get there by measuring enough grams of fruits and vegetables to make 600 calories. Then balance that with your protein, rounded it out with carbs. You may not see immediate weight loss, but you will see fat moving into cellular density, which is a good thing.
Keeping in mind tip number three, it is not essential to count calories but it is important to know your total daily calorie goal. Sedentary people need fewer calories than active people. Performance athletes may want to shoot for 2000 calories while a telephone customer service rep may be around 1200. Get with your Metro Urgent Care Primary Care Physician or our Weight Loss Specialist to see what works best for you. But the bottom line is that obsessing over calories at every meal all day is stressful, confusing, and frustration. Those conditions make it easier to add weight than lose it. And while “calories in, calories out” sounds good, it is incomplete: it ignores how your body uses different kinds of calories. Most Americans fall way short on the calories they need from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Taking on a weight loss program by yourself is usually a futile effort, especially if you are in a family group where people have different nutrient requirements. Your support system matters. And while some programs allow for a “cheat day” that allows your body to “reset” (this helps keep you from being hungry all the time and one day a week is not going to impact your weight loss program), you will need help keeping on tack the other six. Where friends and family fail, Metro Urgent Care’s medical weight loss plan can step in to assist. We have specialists who can help you shed those extra 5 pounds or make a life-changing difference in your weight. Taking off those extra pounds can also be a lifesaving decision, and making people’s lives happier and lasting long is all about what Metro Urgent Care had in mind when we opened our doors for the first time.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing all diets eventually fail. OK. Most do fail, that is true; but not all. Weight loss is often less an issue of dieting – eating less – than of eating the right diet for your body and in making some intelligent lifestyle changes. A good weight loss program is not fast, but slow and steady stemming from changes in eating habits, exercise routines, and personal choices. It is not a “diet” but a way of life. And you don’t need to become a Tibetan Monk to see real changes and to make them last.
So someone told you to get on a good “cardio” exercise program to lose weight. Get that old heart pumping and off goes the weight. But recent studies have shown that “chronic cardio” can actually result in weight gain. Cardio might help the heart, but not the waistline.
A weight loss chart is not a straight line. If you look at it on a daily basis, there are peaks and valleys, which is not a bad thing as long as the trend is downward. If you add a few pounds over a couple of days and then begin taking it off again, that is fine. Two steps forward, one step back is still moving forward. Besides, you may be adding muscle, not fat, which is a good thing! Watch your waist measurement. A good rule of thumb is to check your waist circumference. If it is x 2 less than your total height, you’re probably good. A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables may not exhibit immediate weight loss, but you will notice your clothes are looser, the belt needs a few more notched. Even if the weight is the same, your health is improving. Given time, that diet will also generate weight loss.
While eating several small meals and snacks every day is a pretty good idea for diabetics to keep the blood sugar balanced, it does little to help weight loss. There are a few things you can do to help cut down how much you eat at each meal. One is to start eating slower and the other is to stop about half way through and take a five minute break. You see, it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you may be full. Think of it as a dial up process vs. a cable connection. Your stomach uses dial-up. If you slow down and listen to your body’s needs, you may not be as hungry as you think you are just because the body has a habit of eating more.
Finally, there is the myth about high fat foods. This all started with Ancel Keys in the mid-20th century who decided fat was unhealthy. Keys’ research, the Seven Countries Study, suggested that a high-fat diet was responsible for the higher rates of obesity in Western countries. But the research was incomplete and completely ignored Polynesians, with a diet centered on high-fat coconuts and tropical fruits, and Eskimos who spend most of the winter eating fat from sea mammals. Here we have another case of bad/fad science. Carbs are necessary, fats are needed – especially in cold climates – and you can even have salt on those eggs and watermelon. Just don’t overdo it. Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and other natural foods rich in fats are just fine as long as you keep an eye on those with hydrogenated oils. Because they are unhealthy? No. Because they can oxidize and become rancid very quickly and rancid oils are a health issue.
The Truth about Dieting
Metro Urgent Care’s medical weight loss programs provide you with all the tools you need to embark on a successful weight loss program. Our specialists can recommend a program that is supervised by one of our staff doctors to ensure your program is efficient and healthy. Or programs are inexpensive and have produced outstanding results – without the risks or the pain of other programs.
We accept walk in people interested in starting on a healthy program of exercise, diet, and nutrition as well as appointments. We have a variety of programs to select from, so your personal needs will be met one-on-one not in a one-size-fits-all-program. Metro Urgent Care will provide customized data, a variety of weight loss aids, personalized dieting guidelines, a weight loss coach for support and encouragement, and much, much more. For long-term weight loss goals and short-term immediate care, Metro Urgent Care will get you started on a weight loss plan today. Just or speak with one of our representatives at (303) 555-5555 or even email [email protected] for more information or you can use our interactive map to find the clinic nearest you.