‘Losing weight’ may be at the top of most New Year’s Resolution lists this year, but if you want to make lasting change and really give yourself a chance of making your ideal BMI, you might want to give extreme dieting a miss. A recent study published in SAGE journals found that the majority of people who started a commercial weight loss program lost less than 5% of their initial body weight, which is interesting considering that many commercial diets can cost thousands of dollars to follow. If you want to lose weight in the long term and without resorting to starving is there a better way to embrace a healthier lifestyle through a commonsense approach?
Sticking to a Diet is Hard
A report published in Cell Metabolism explained why it seems that body and mind struggle so hard against the idea of dieting. When we starve ourselves, say scientists, neurons in our brain send out signals to make us eat more. If hunger doesn’t work, perhaps the secret to weight loss success lies in making the right food choices, so we feel satisfied without consuming more calories than we need to.
Low Carb or Low Cal?
Studies have shown that both low-cal and low-carb diets can help us lose weight In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers noted that even a high-carb, low-protein diet can be effective. Other studies have shown that a ketogenic diet (like the Atkins or Paleo diets) can be very good options for those wanting to lose weight and keep it off. Perhaps the key to success likes in not taking any of these diet forms to an extreme. When we feel deprived, it can be very difficult to change our mindset and embracing healthy eating as a way of life rather than to achieve a specific weight goal.
How You Cook Matters
When we go on a diet, we often think of the ingredients we are allowed to prepare, but cooking methods are equally important. By cooking snacks in a toaster oven rather than deep frying, for instance we can lower our caloric content considerably. For instance, a large baked potato has 278 calories; when we fry the same potato, the calorie count jumps up to over 800 calories. The type of fats we use are also key. Experts warn us to avoid trans fats and opt for healthy choices like cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, which is rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids and which decreases the risk of heart disease.
Embracing Plant-Based Foods in 2019
One positive change you can make if weight loss is in the cards, is embracing vegan dishes. Even if you don’t go fully vegan, a diet that is higher in plant-based foods generally has less calories and more fiber than one which is rich in starches. A study by scientists at the University of South Carolina found that those on vegan diets lost more weight than those on diets containing meat and dairy. Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that vegetarian dieters lost weight more effectively than those on calorie-restrictive diets.
Healthy Treats to Make
If cooking is your thing, healthy treats are the way to go in 2019. Consider making a healthy pizza, making your own base from scratch and using healthy ingredients like mushrooms, peppers, olives, fresh mozzarella, and lean proteins. If you have a sweet tooth, try a raw food dessert like raw apple pie, sweetened with nothing but raw Medjool dates and orange juice. Raw pies use ingredients like dates and crushed nuts for the base as well, thus eliminating flour and other starchy ingredients that have less nutritional value.
If embracing a healthier lifestyle is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, the good news is that it is easier to achieve than you may have thought. Forget fad diets and unrealistic expectations, and try to make the switch to a Mediterranean-style or a plant-based diet, which will naturally help you stave off obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Vegan and vegetarian diets seem to be particularly effective at weight loss, so if these regimens appeal, why not introduce them a couple of days a week?