Avoid Those Diet Pitfalls

Avoid Those Diet Pitfalls
by Dr. Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, CVJ

“I want to lose weight and eat better”. Most of us at some point or another are guilty of reaching for those cleverly labeled “diet “ products thinking it’ll be a safe ticket to weight loss. Most of those products are labeled to make you think there’s a shortcut to “skinny “without any real sacrifice.  The truth is, in order to really lose the weight and change your body the healthy way, you need to feed it the right nutrition. Yes…feed it 🙂 Unfortunately, the path to a skinnier you is full of pitfalls that can easily set you back.  Losing weight is a daily habit of eating good foods in balanced portions and is an overall lifestyle decision.

Read those nutrition labels! And, on everything you purchase! Use a careful eye for marketing of products called “diet”, “weight control”, “low calorie”, or “low fat”. Many of these products have a secret weapon against your weight loss success…sugar. It’s amazing how many food items, diet or not, are loaded with sugar or sugar substitutes. I was disheartened to learn that most artificial sweeteners still stimulate insulin release by the body, thereby leading to “storage” – not ideal for weight loss. A natural alternative to sweeteners are Stevia or Truvia …derived from a plant and do not stimulate insulin release – yay…or I should say “sweet!”

Serving size awareness! Look at the serving size when evaluating nutrition contents of the food. Often times 1 serving may not seem too bad but if you eat the whole item…is it really 2 to 3 servings? And, look up the calories and nutrition info on foods you order, like fast food. Even sandwiches and that “healthy” salad can contain up to 1000 calories!

Don’t skip meals! It’s easy to miss a meal especially breakfast. I used to be an “I’m too busy for breakfast” person and never knew how important that meal was for my metabolism. After a good night’s sleep, your body needs a fuel source for energy. Breakfast will help boost energy and metabolism as you start your day. Skipping this morning meal actually can reduce metabolism which is not a good thing if you want a lean body. Of course, when choosing a breakfast meal, avoid sugary, dessert breakfasts and feed your body with protein, whole grains and fruit.  If “we are what we eat”, then I want to eat great food to work towards a great body 🙂 It is equally important to eat frequently, as in every 2-3 hours, to maintain a healthier weight.  By eating more frequent (smaller portion) meals, your body will run with a better metabolism and stable blood sugar which results in better weight loss and more energy.  (See a sample diet plan here: Burn Fat and Tone Up Sample Diet)

Watching TV with my kids this week, I noted at least 3 snack or junk food commercials between each show.  The commercials marketed “healthy snacks” yet the items, such as granola bars and fruit snacks, are again loaded with sugar and contain little nutrition to properly “fuel and keep you full.” Again, the marketing and advertising of food today can lead you into unhealthy cravings and eating habits so beware 🙂 Pick snacks with a higher protein, less sugar to help control hunger.

Healthy eating is all about making smart choices throughout the day with what food you put in your body. Avoid these common food mistakes and the result will be a healthier, leaner you 🙂

Dr. Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, CVJ