Virgil McDill, Experience Life
Let’s see now. Are carbs the source of all dietary evil – or is it fat? Is dairy supposed to be good for weight loss these days, or bad? Is protein’s day in the sun over, or just beginning? And should you be eating and exercising according to your blood type or your Ayurvedic dosha, or just strictly counting calories?
If you feel confused or clueless, it’s no wonder. Every season brings a new weight-loss trend. Infomercials on diet supplements and exercise gadgets promise to help shed unwanted pounds, and we’re bombarded daily with diet and exercise tips – from folk wisdom to the latest medical research – which often seem contradictory or incomplete. With so much weight-loss advice to wade through, many folks simply throw up their hands in despair and decide that they might as well sit on the couch and eat whatever they like.
No surprise, then, that we just keep getting fatter: Nearly 65 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. And the more obese our nation becomes, the greater our collective risk for many deadly and costly diseases, including type two diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and breast, colon and prostate cancers – to name just a few.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we are not powerless. We needn’t let our lack of knowledge about nutrition and fitness prevail over our common sense and our desire to live healthy, happy lives. We do, however, need to rethink what we think we know about dropping pounds and keeping them off.
For starters, we can forget about finding instant fixes and miracle cures for what are essentially pathological lifestyle habits. “We must stop falling for the myths that keep us fat and perpetuate an endless cycle of weight loss and gain,” says Mark Hyman, MD, former long-time co-medical director at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, and current editor in chief of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
As much as we all might like the idea of a “magic bullet,” most experts agree with Hyman that healthy, sustainable weight loss doesn’t come from extreme measures or single-faceted diets. Nor does it come from relying on heavily marketed low-fat or low-carb foods and diet drinks (which, in fact, have been shown to hinder weight-loss efforts by messing up metabolism, contributing to cravings and undermining energy levels).
If you really want to lose excess weight and keep it off (or if you just want to maintain your current weight and stay healthy for the long haul), start by putting aside any worries about your love handles or saddlebags. Instead, start focusing on the space between your ears. Any weight-loss misconceptions or misinformation harbored there could present a real danger to your weight-management success.
Think you know everything there is to know about weight loss? Maybe it’s time to think again.
Next: Five Weight-loss Rules to Re-think