When it comes to losing weight, there is no shortage of advice. Whether that is good advice remains to be seen – mainly in your results if you take the advice to heart and implement it in your daily routine.
But what about the “tried-and-true” tips we hear from researchers, doctors and weight loss experts? You know the standards:
- Always eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking.
- Eat small meals throughout the day.
- Make dinner your lightest meal of the day.
- Never eat within 3 hours of bedtime.
We’ve all heard them, and we’ve probably adhered to one (or more) of them; however, some health and wellness experts say, for some individuals, these strategies may not make a significant difference at all when it comes to pounds lost.
After all, each of us is unique, with different biochemical needs. It only makes sense there is no one-size-fits-all weight loss program.
The best way to know what works for you is to try different approaches. Next, determine the ones that help you reach your goal of losing weight.
For the tactics that seem to hinder the goal, or lead to zero change, strike them from your list, then try another approach. In time, you will have customized your own weight loss program.
If you’ve experienced slow (or no) loss in the past using the “tried and true” advice of weight loss professionals, maybe it’s time to go rogue with these counter-approaches to blasting fat.
The Best “Bad” Advice for Weight Loss
That’s right, skip it. If you’re not a morning eater, then don’t eat in the morning. While it does help most people to have something within an hour of waking to set the metabolic pace for the day, do not force feed yourself first thing in the morning if you are truly not hungry. In fact, one of the worst things we can do is to eat “just because”.
Maybe you prefer waking up to a cup of coffee and getting ready for your day, then eating after you settle in a bit. When your body shows signs of hunger – your tummy grumbles, you start thinking of the vending machine instead of that report you’re supposed to be writing, or you find yourself searching Pinterest for something decadent to make for dessert tonight – it’s time to eat.
Bottom Line: listen to your body, not to other people telling you what you’re “supposed” to do.
Eat a big dinner.
A variety of studies examining how the time of day and the number of calories consumed find that it really doesn’t matter which meal of the day is your largest, as long as total caloric intake for the day doesn’t go off the charts.
For some of us, eating the largest, most calorie-dense meal of the day must be dinner due to work schedules and daily routines.
When my family spends time in Europe, dinner is never before 8PM and is sometimes as late as 9 or 10. Spending as long as six months in France, none of us ever gained weight. In fact, our tendency is to lose weight when we are there. Not because we try, but because of certain lifestyle differences we experience there.
The same situation occurs when traveling to other places, even in the USA. We tend to have our dinner later, but we do not experience weight gain.
Weight loss researchers at the University of Oregon sum it up by telling us it really doesn’t matter when our calories are consumed, but if we eat too many calories for our body’s needs, we will gain weight.
Of course, eating balanced meals (in contents and in size) does help keep blood sugar regulated, which is definitely linked to weight loss success and overall health. Always aim for balance, but don’t skip dinner just because it’s after 6PM when you are truly hungry.
Have a snack before bed.
Again, if you’re genuinely hungry, you should eat, regardless of the numbers on the clock. If you had a light dinner, or didn’t meet your caloric requirement for the day, you should have a small, light snack before bed. This is particularly true for people who workout intensely.
Try to combine a complex carbohydrate with a protein and health fat. Some apple slices and a tablespoon of nut or seed butter is a great choice that fits the bill when it comes to macronutrient intake. A hard boiled egg and 2 tablespoons of hummus would also qualify. Get creative and feed your body when it needs to be fed.
But, be mindful of late-night “habit snacking”. A snack before bed if you’re truly hungry is one thing, but noshing on a bag of chips or bowl of ice cream in front of the TV is still a big no-no! That’s not hunger, that’s habit.
Eat saturated fat.
Don’t fear fat. The 1990s forever tainted our minds in the worst way when it comes to fat. Dairy products went fat-free, Snackwell’s® cookies were all the rage and everybody seemed to be OK with all the extra sugar and additives as long as there was little or no fat in a product.
That may have been the beginning of the end in the downward spiral of obesity in the USA.
The fact is, if you want to lose fat (which is the weight you want to lose), you must eat fat. The body requires it for many vital function. Cholesterol actually wipes out dangerous free radicals in the bloodstream. Revered scientists and health researchers, like Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of Harvard’s Nutrition Department, agrees with the latest research that foods like sugar and dairy products, not saturated fat, are responsible for the obesity epidemic as well as cardiovascular disease.
The bottom line: eat healthy fat in moderation from sources such as avocado, nuts, seeds and wild caught cold water fish. Fats keeps our bodies functioning properly and keeps us feeling full and satisfied, which reduces the chance of over-eating later.
So there you have it, four “bad” pieces of weight loss advice that might just be worth taking. ;-)
Have your broken any of the rules and tried these approaches? What were your results?