Pick a diet to maintain your weight, not to lose weight.
That advice was a game-changer for me. I was a yo-yo dieter for years.I always wondered why I couldn’t seem to maintain my weight loss and was so frustrated. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I keep off the weight? Why couldn’t I maintain a healthy weight?
I, like lots of people, looked at weight loss as an event. Does this sound familiar? Yikes! I need to lose 20 pounds before my high school reunion, daughter’s wedding, or any other event that will come and go. What I hadn’t done is fully commit to making my weight-loss diet a lifestyle. I realized that if you don’t commit to change your lifestyle, any weight loss success will be temporary.
A recent article interviews one of the winners from the TV show “The Biggest Loser” who had lost more than 100 pounds in 4 months! You know that couldn’t have been easy. He had totally changed himself and his life. What an accomplishment! And then something terrible happened. Unfortunately, he only kept it off for a short time and gained nearly all of it back. He attributes his failure to keep off the weight to not making the necessary lifestyle changes to keep it off.
That’s what happens when you’re on a “diet”. That’s why diets don’t work. What’s the solution?
The health and nutrition industry has so many mixed messages so that the whole idea of what to eat for best health can be confusing and leave you feeling frustrated and ready to quit before you even start.
It doesn’t have to be confusing; you simply have to find something you can stick to for life.
When I discovered “low glycemic” eating, it felt like I had discovered a secret. Some popular “diets”, like The Mediterranean, Paleo, Atkins, and Sugar Busters have elements of the low glycemic approach, even though the specific recommendations vary for each of them. I’ve found that a low glycemic diet is very manageable and lifestyle friendly.
The principle behind low glycemic eating is to keep your blood sugar levels even so that your body has a steady source of fuel (glucose) throughout the day. Food is rated on a scale of 0 – 100 according to how much your blood sugar rises when you eat a particular food. There are lots of helpful resources and apps that list the glycemic index of foods. Low glycemic foods have a glycemic index of 55 or lower.
When eating a low glycemic diet, it’s important to include lots of low glycemic vegetables and some fruits, as they are loaded with nutrients. Fiber and the amount and type of sugar in the food are considered. For example, white flour and white rice are stripped of fiber and have a high glycemic index, meaning they act like sugar in your body, raising your blood sugar levels and causing an increase in insulin level. And insulin is a fat storage hormone. So, eating high glycemic foods causes all sorts of problems, including difficulty maintaining a healthy weight.
Even if weight management is not an issue for you, eating a healthy, low-glycemic diet can help you stay well and feeling good.
Here’s a sample of a healthy low-glycemic dinner:
Small chicken breast – prepared in any way except deep-fried
Broccoli drizzled with olive oil and sea salt
Quinoa (about ½ a cup) prepared with chicken or vegetable broth
You can top the chicken with tomato slices or a small amount of crumbled Feta cheese. When looking for recipes, avoid recipes that call for creamy soups or breading with white flour.
It’s important to drink at least 8 – 10 eight ounce glasses of water a day, but if you sweat a lot, you may need more.
You don’t have to make massive changes all at once. Start with changing one thing, like eating more vegetables or drinking more water. Pay attention to food labels for the ingredients listed, serving size, and fiber. You’re looking for high fiber foods and ideally you would be able to pronounce all the ingredients on the label.
Small changes will add up over time. Stick with it and don’t give up. Your body will be so glad you did.
Have you ever experienced confusion or frustration about what to eat or made a real effort to improve the quality of your nutrition?
Tell us about it in the comments below.