Are We Still Learning How to Lose Weight?
If you’ve battled extra weight all your life, it might feel like a waste of time and energy. You’ve been through the trendy diets, the workout programs, cleanses, skipped breakfasts, high-carb, lo-carb and no carb; and so much more. But you’re still overweight. It can make you wonder whether or not even the experts really know how to lose weight.
One example is the study that found some contestants on TV’s “The Biggest Loser” have gained back most or all the weight they lost on the program. It’s just one of the recent indicators that we still have a lot to learn about how our bodies handle the consumption and use of food energy. Below are just a couple of others:
1. Exercise Does not Promote Weight Loss as Much as We Thought it Did
It was a hopeful picture. By jogging, swimming or otherwise working out, we would burn more calories. And the more we burned, the more weight we would lose. It fit perfectly with the “burn more than you consume” calorie equation of weight loss. Even better, you could actually “see” the weight coming off in the sweat that came out of your efforts.
But, just like how much you sweat has little to do with how many calories you burn, exercise now appears to have little effect on weight loss.
From the release of the The Biggest Loser study, to various reports in the media, there’re many reasons cited as to why exercise doesn’t work for weight loss the way we once thought it did.
Recent studies have found that exercise doesn’t raise our metabolic rate as much as previously thought. Also, while the energy in the food we eat accounts for 100% of the calories we consume, exercise generally only accounts for 10% to 30% of the calories we burn; so it would have a tough job to get rid of all the calories we eat.
2. Canada’s Ever-Evolving Food Guide
For a clear idea of how recent it is that we started to understand and document the importance of what we eat, Canada’s original food guide, then called “Official Food Rules”, was introduced to the public in July, 1942; well within the lifetime of many Canadians alive today.
With resources and food production strained due to World War II, the government saw the need to ensure that Canadians understood how to get the right nutrition and food energy to maintain good health.
The eight major revisions to the Food Guide since it first appeared mean that its guidelines change about every 10 years. The latest version of Canada’s Food Guide was released in 2007.
The point here is that even the idea of what foods we should be eating is virtually changing as we speak.
What gives? How can anyone be expected to healthily lose weight if much of what we know about eating and burning calories seems to be in flux?
The Three Truths of Healthy Weight Loss
Through it all, there are certain truths that are undeniable. When you put these facts together, you give yourself the highest chance possible to lose weight and keep it off permanently.
1. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
If there is one thing that’s been consistent in Canada’s Food guide since its inception, it is that we must eat foods from all the major food groups, including grains, fruits & vegetables, dairy and meat/meat alternatives. That means getting the following proportions of food energy from the main macronutrients:
- 25% to 35% from Fats
- 40% to 50% from Carbohydrates
- 25% to 35% from Protein
2. Proper Nutrition
While a balanced diet will generally mean you’ll get the nutrition needed to maintain good health, many weight loss diets encourage you to cut calories, even while the diet remains “balanced”. If you want to lose weight healthily, you must give your body adequate levels of nutrition to help it deal with the changes you are making to your weight.
3. Don’t Consume More Calories Than You Burn
On the other end of the spectrum to calorie cutting is the idea that, if it’s good for me, I can eat as much as I want. Overeating even a healthy, balanced diet will lead to weight gain just as surely as overeating junk food.
Clearly we are still learning a lot about how we eat, how we can stay healthy and how we can healthily lose weight. The trained nutrition specialists at your local Herbal One Centre know how to help you understand the information. They can develop a personalized nutrition plan that will help you lose weight healthily and successfully.