You’ve probably heard them all before: facts like chocolate being a cause for acne, or eggs being bad for your heart. These are food myths that have been passed along for years, leading us to believe that certain specific food and dieting choices are more harmful (or helpful) than they really are.
To reach your weight loss goals, you should know the truth about these myths. That way you can continue to make positive dietary choices and strive towards a healthy overall lifestyle.
Common Food and Diet Myths:
- Carbohydrates make you fat. Not true! Your body needs carbohydrates because they are a main source of energy. However, choosing the too many, or the wrong types of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. Highly refined carbs like white bread, pastas and doughnuts are unhealthy choices and could lead to weight gain. Whole grain options offer “good carbs” and dietary fiber that your body needs.
- Margarine is better for you than butter. This one is partially true. Margarine is made with vegetables oils, unlike butter which contains cholesterol and saturated fat. However, many of the margarines being sold today contain trans fats which is even worse for your heart health and cholesterol levels. When you are buying margarine, make sure you are reading the nutrition labels carefully.
- All carbonated drinks are bad for you. Soda is full of sugar and harmful ingredients like artificial colorings and chemicals. Other carbonated beverages, like soda water, are not. In fact, with a slice of lemon or lime, they are quite refreshing and don’t harm your health in the least.
- Fat-free and low-fat options are always better choices. When it comes to meat and dairy, this fact is generally true. But not when it comes to processed foods and snacks. When manufacturers take out the added fat content in snacks, they have to make up for it by including other, equally harmful ingredients like sugar to compensate for the taste.
- Eating after a certain time at night will make you fat. This is not true. Calories are calories no matter when you consume them. Choosing the right kinds of food and the right portion sizes is the important part.
The list could go on and on. The best way to figure out what’s really beneficial (or potentially harmful) to your diet is by doing your research. Don’t believe what you read on every package in the grocery store. Make sure you are reading the nutrition labels and taking them into careful consideration. During medical weight loss you want to ensure that you are making the best possible choices for your diet and your lifestyle. Don’t let a food rumor get in the way of your progress.
Consistently getting nights full of uninterrupted, quality sleep can have a positive influence on your weight loss efforts in Naperville or Lombard. Similarly, tossing, turning and getting poor sleep will negatively affect your weight management. To optimize your weight loss with a medical weight loss program, you’ll want to try your best to make all of the healthy lifestyle changes that you can.
How Sleep Affects Weight Loss and Health
Sleep—or more specifically, not getting enough sleep—can make losing weight difficult.
- Lack of sleep causes daytime fatigue and grogginess. It’s hard enough getting motivated to go for a walk, or even exercise at all, but being tired before you begin will make it many times more difficult to achieve the amount of daily activity that your body needs.
- Sleep is linked to the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Getting too little sleep may cause you to feel hungry even after you’ve eaten enough food to normally make you full.
- Sleep is linked to your body’s ability to break down carbohydrates. Because of this, not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood sugar, an overproduction of insulin and increased storage of body fat.
How Weight Affects Sleep
Someone who is overweight or obese has an increased risk of developing sleep problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep problems can make getting a healthy night’s rest nearly impossible unless they aren’t treated.
So if you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect your health and weight loss efforts, and if you’re overweight, that may affect your sleeping habits. This creates somewhat of a vicious cycle, where losing weight may help you sleep better, and sleeping better will help you lose weight. Fortunately, there are steps you can take while you’re losing weight in order to help improve your sleeping habits.
Tips to Get Better Sleep
- Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Most adults need more than seven hours to function at an optimal level during the day.
- Create a healthy sleeping environment. Keep the room dark and free of distractions when it’s time for bed.
- Form relaxing pre-sleep rituals, like taking a bath, listening to soft music or reading. Avoid bright screens before bed, like the TV or a laptop.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants in the evenings.
- Don’t nap throughout the day unless it’s a powernap in the early afternoon.
Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best lifestyle habits you can form when trying to lose weight. Not only does it promote healthy weight management, but it can help improve your overall health and wellness. If you believe that you aren’t getting enough sleep due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder, consult your weight loss doctor in order to receive proper diagnosis and begin the treatment process.
If you’re trying to lose weight this spring and summer, try getting out for a hike. The Naperville area is full of beautiful parks, with trails that offer both a strenuous, well-balanced workout and a taste of the great outdoors. Getting out of the stuffy gym and into the wild can be a breath of fresh air for any weight loss program and a way to keep your regular exercise from feeling like a chore.
But before you hit the trail, it’s important to prepare yourself. Bringing water is crucial, of course, but if you’re planning a long day of hiking, it will also be necessary to bring along some lightweight, healthy snacks that stay fresh and pack the energy punch you’ll need. Though ideal for hiking, these portable snacks are perfect for any time you’re on the go, providing healthy sustenance while not taking up much space in your bag.
- Seeds. Tiny, light and full of nutrients, seeds are a perfect trail snack. One that might be of particular interest is the chia seed, which is rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. They also absorb nine times their weight in water, which will help to keep you full and hydrated. Best known for sprouting into the “hair” on Chia Pets, chia seeds also have a long history of providing on-the-go energy, as they were once used as an energy source for Aztec warriors during battle and by Native Americans during long journeys.
- Nutrition Bars. Packed full of the protein you’ll need to keep your muscles and bones healthy and plenty of carbohydrates to give you energy, nutrition bars offer a lot for such a small package. When picking a nutrition bar, be sure to take a look at the calorie and protein content. Some may be best suited for a quick snack while others will provide you with enough energy to substitute a small meal.
- Trail Mix. It may seem like a no-brainer hiking snack, but most of the trail mix you find in stores is full of sugar and empty calories. Instead, try mixing up a batch of your own using dried fruit (with no sugar added), raw nuts and energy-boosting foods like the goji berry, which contains over 20 vitamins and minerals like fiber, protein and vitamin C.
When considering your trail snack options, there are several problem ingredients you’ll need to be on the lookout for in the grocery store. Though the above are all great on-the-go energy sources, many versions of these products will contain things like high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, aspartame, MSG or artificial preservatives like TBHQ, BHT and BHA. These kinds of unhealthy ingredients can ruin the otherwise beneficial energy boost that each trail snack provides.
During your weight loss program, take every opportunity you can to move around more. Becoming physically active can help you with your weight loss efforts.
Your sedentary lifestyle could be affecting your health negatively, and even simple activities such as walking out to get your mail or moving around periodically, could reduce your risk for disease, researchers have discovered.
You don’t need to dedicate hours to physical fitness to experience benefits of exercise and regular activity. You can move more everyday by taking part in simple tasks that help you burn calories, like:
- Parking away from your destination and walking more
- Taking the stairs
- Taking walks at lunch time
- Walking the dog
Consider wearing a pedometer every day so you can track your daily steps. Hitting 10,000 steps every day is considered healthy for an active lifestyle.
Why Moving Matters
The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that men and women who have desk jobs or who spend inordinate amounts of time on their couch are at a higher risk of illness than those who move their muscles periodically in some fashion.
Muscle movements and contractions may play a role in affecting important blood fats, and this establishes some connection between prolonged sitting and bad health, although the connection is still a bit tenuous.
The researchers suggest that it’s important to identify what “sedentary behavior” really is. Rather than being defined as a failure to exercise, it should be considered its own separate class of behaviors, including prolonged sitting, which promotes a lack of whole-body muscle movement. These bad behaviors are unrelated to the lack of exercise and can automatically raise your risk of heart disease.
For example, a woman’s chance of metabolic syndrome, which is an early indicator of diabetes and heart disease, can increase more than 25 percent for every extra hour in front of the television.
Researchers urge physicians to focus on simple, non-exercise activities such as using stairs, walking, and taking breaks during sedentary periods, as a way to help men and women avoid additional heart disease risks.
One of the best ways to reduce the chances that you will get the flu this season is to see your doctor for a flu shot. But that may not be true for everyone, as a new study suggests that flu shots have less of a preventive effect on people who are very overweight.
The study suggests that people who want to avoid the flu and who are overweight would do well to consider using dieting, exercise and weight loss centers to help them lose weight. Following a weight loss program, such as one that features meal replacements in Naperville may help you lose weight and improve your immune health, ultimately helping you to avoid the flu altogether this winter.
Obesity and Flu Shots
The International Journal of Obesity has published a recent report stating that those who are overweight to the point of obesity are more likely to get the flu despite getting a flu shot. Not only that, but when obese people get the flu it also strikes more severely and they recover more slowly.
The way a vaccine works is by triggering the production of anti-bodies which can then work to fight off the disease. In this study it was discovered that anti-body levels in obese people decreased four times faster than in those with a healthy weight. That means the effectiveness of the vaccine faded four times faster.
Some doctors have suggested that those who are overweight might counteract the effects of their obesity by getting two flu shots per year instead of the usually recommended one shot per year.
The only long term way to solve ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine caused by obesity is to lose weight.
So while the short term answer may be two shots per year, the long term solution is the use of exercise, dieting and weight loss centers to lose weight.
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