Weight loss is a mix of skill and will, and having one without the other spells almost certain disaster. This week, we’re focusing on skill. Lots of myths and misinformation abound, and not having the facts abouthealthy eating will make your journey more challenging. So read on for some common healthy eating (and drinking) myths – and learn what you should do instead!
Myth 1: Juice is a better calorie-saving choice than soda. You may find yourself swapping juice for soda, thinking it will trim your waistline. Not so. Juice and soda actually have roughly the samecalories —about 100 per 8 fl oz (1 cup). In some cases, juice may actually have more calories than the soda: Cranberry juice can be about 140 calories per cup! This is true even for 100 percent juice, which many people assume is the best juice choice. While juice does contain vitamins, minerals, and other healthful substances that soda doesn’t, when it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, a calorie is a calorie. The most diet-friendly choice? Drink only water and have a piece of fruit when you’re craving something sweet and satisfying.
Myth 2: If a food is ‘all-natural,’ it’s a good choice for weight loss. Navigating the maze of “healthy eating” products in the grocery store can make anyone a little nutty. One thing you can count on, though: If a label says ‘all-natural,’ it’s a smart choice for your medical weight loss program, right? Not so. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees food labeling requirements, doesn’t actually have an official position for the use of the term ‘all-natural’ – which means it can mean just about anything.
Furthermore, there are lots of ‘natural’ substances that can set back your weight loss and healthy eating efforts significantly: Sugar, for example, is ‘natural’, as is butter. Neither of these substances contains a great deal of vitamins or minerals, and both pack a calorie wallop. In the end, while choosing minimally processed foods and avoiding artificial colors and flavors might be a good idea for your health, it’s a calorie game when it comes to weight loss. If you want to go ‘all-natural,’ consider choosing more of those foods that are low in calories and don’t actually have a label: fresh fruits and veggies.
Myth 3: There are certain things you can never have on a diet. The magazine headlines scream at you from the grocery store checkout: ‘5 foods you should NEVER eat!’ You may conclude that ‘evil’ foods exist – and that even if you just brush up against them at a party, they’ll instantly add 10 pounds to your hips! If you simply avoid those foods and focus on healthy eating, you’ll be fine, right?
In fact, there are no foods that inevitably will wreck your weight loss plan; instead, it is all about portion size. Make sure you have just a small amount (sometimes even just a bite) of a less-than-healthy food. However, it’s also all about knowing yourself. If the standard answer is that you can have anything in small quantities, but you know you have a tough time sticking to controlled quantities of a particular food or type of food (for example, sweets), for you it may be better to sharpen your portion control willpowerbefore you introduce even small amounts of danger foods. Try some of the mindful healthy eating techniques we’ve discussed in previous articles. Sometimes you may find you simply don’t want to tempt yourself, so you stay away entirely. That’s fine, and a smart solution. But as you learn to savor and feel satisfied by small amounts of foods you love, it’s a nice way to reward yourself when you know you can eat just a small amount. In fact, it’s almost its own reward!
See 3 more diet myths – debunked!
Learn how to identify what you’re hungry for.
Find a center near you to schedule a consultation with a CMWL doctor.