Have you ever stocked up your kitchen cupboards with fat free foods to try to lose weight? You go through the torture of eating tasteless rice cakes and drinking bland soda thinking it is healthier because you are cutting out the fat...but what happens? A month goes by and you think you are actually gaining weight instead of losing it! What went wrong?
The first thing that is necessary for weight loss is a basic knowledge of how the body works. People often confuse dietary fat (what we eat) with body fat (what we store). While dietary fat contains twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein, it is the calories in that fat that makes us put on weight.
Calories in the carbohydrates and protein add to that weight gain. Dietary fat is important to human health and should make up about 25 to 30 percent of our caloric intake. Fat helps with the absorption of vitamins, including A, D, E, and K. Fats also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Regulatory and health agency reports labeled fats as being unhealthy in the 1980’s even though they were largely targeting saturated fats. To avoid having to explain the complexities of the different types of fats, they believed it was easier to tell Americans not to eat fat in general. These warnings caused the food industries to flood the market with low-fat and fat-free versions of products.
More often than not, they would simply replace the fat with sugar or starch which increased the calories and consumers never lost any weight. You have to take it upon yourself to have a little common sense when it comes to marketing food. People will do anything for money, even if it means misleading consumers just to get them to spend money. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is not true at all.
Thankfully, over the years we have since become aware of the differences between the various types of fats. Healthy, unsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil, nuts, and fish are not to be avoided while decreasing the allowance of saturated and trans fats.
Just as before, makers of cookies, breakfast cereals, and snack chips have jumped on the bandwagon by emphasizing the lack of Trans Fats on their packaging. Although we may believe they are finally on the right track, do not be fooled into thinking
there are any fewer calories. Most pre-packaged foods promoting their restraint of trans fats are not suddenly health foods.
Some of these products never had trans fats to begin with, but they know it is a good selling point to the consumer. Always check labels for unsaturated fat, and make sure there is not an abundance of calories. You are not going to lose weight by going on a diet of fat free cookies, ice cream, cheese or any other trigger food that made you gain weight. Most often these versions of foods are so packed with preservatives and additives that they are more unhealthy than the version containing fat.
You simply cannot cheat your way into losing weight. There will never be a magic pill that will allow you to look healthy and slender while you devour every kind of yummy food you like. And switiching to fat free snacks will do nothing but keep you on the emotional roller coaster of fluxuating weight for the rest of your life.
They key to losing weight and keeping it off for good is to focus on changing your lifestyle. This doesn't mean you have to give up everything you like and become a health nut, only eating bean sprouts and trail mix. It means you slowly condition yourself to enjoy foods that are better for you so that you aren't always ordering the fettucini alfredo or fried mozzerella sticks when you sit down for a meal.
One way to make sure you are eating the good fat and not the bad fat on a daily basis to seek a soy-based meal replacement to drink once or twice a day. This will not only ensure proper nutrition, but it is the only way science has developed a way to get what you need without eating tons of calories in the process. It is how I lost 70 pounds in 4 months over 15 years ago and have kept it off without a struggle.
Start by becoming familiar with good and bad fats so you are not in a constant state of wonder and bewilderment at the grocery store, then make small healthy changes on a daily basis until eating healthy feels normal. And remember...the road to good health and weight loss is paved with proper nutrition.