The Sneaky Reasons You're Not Losing WeightPosted on Jan 28th 2011 12:00PM by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
You rely on "healthy" foods that really aren't. You'll find all kinds of foods at the supermarket that seem great for dieting because they're labeled "fat-free" or "light." But these items are actually loaded with other ingredients, such as added sugars or sodium, that aren't particularly diet friendly. "Those head-fake foods really get me angry because they don't help you," said Dr. Oz. Beware of these foods in particular:
- Flavored "light" yogurts. They may have little or no fat, but they can contain as much as 14 grams of added sugars, like high fructose corn syrup, per serving. If you're a little heavy to start with, eating sugar works against you because it prompts the body to store more than a third of those calories as fat. Instead, Dr. Oz recommends reaching for plain yogurt and sweetening it yourself with blueberries or honey. Go for Greek yogurt -- it has half the sugar and nearly twice the protein of regular plain yogurt.
- Fat-free foods. These sound ideal, but according to Dr. Oz, they're major diet traps. "Reducing the amount of unhealthy saturated and trans fats is a diet must," said Dr. Oz. "But when foods that are supposed to have fat in them are made fat free, like cookies or ice cream, they're also taste free. To make up for the lack of flavor, manufacturers add things like sugar, salt and starch, which are terrible for your diet." Besides, having some fat in your meals is better for losing weight. "Fat is much more satiating than sugar, so if you're not getting any fat, you may not feel full and that can lead to overeating," said Dr. Oz. "You're often better off having a small portion of the full-fat stuff.
- Juices. Fruit is good, so how can juice be bad? The problem with juice drinks is that they're full of added sugars, making them a big source of empty calories. And while 100 percent juice is better, it's still not ideal. "You get all of the sugar from the fruit, without the fiber to keep you feeling full," said Dr. Oz. One way to have your fruit and drink it, too, is to make a spritzer with seltzer water/club soda and a splash of your favorite juice for flavor.
- Frozen "diet" meals. Steer clear of these, said Dr. Oz, because they're often pumped full of preservatives and sodium, which can blow up our bellies like balloons. "Part of the reason you're dieting is to look good, so you want to avoid things that bloat you; otherwise, you're not going to look so hot," he said. "Plus, when you're bloated, you feel heavier." Rather than stock your freezer with packaged meals, make your own with fresh ingredients, then freeze them for the week. Winter is the perfect time for making chilis or stews. "These are very flexible dishes because you can put in whatever you've got in the fridge that you want to use before it spoils," he said.
You eat when you're not hungry. We eat for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with actual hunger. Sometimes we nibble just to be social or to celebrate a happy occasion with a little bread-breaking. But digging into a pint of premium ice cream because you're lonely, scared, angry or sad is a double diet whammy. The food itself doesn't ultimately make you feel better -- and after eating you feel even worse for breaking your diet. "You can't feed emotional emptiness with food," said Dr. Oz. "It's not satiating." The better approach is to find a feel-better activity without food that you can fall back on when you're tempted to pull out the ice cream scoop. Dr. Oz's suggestions: Do some yoga, meditate, bundle up and take a walk, or vent to a friend. "Studies suggest that eating comfort food reduces your body's stress response, which may explain why emotions send you running to the kitchen for an indulgent snack," Dr. Oz said. "Venting to a friend may also relieve some of that stress, and it's a much more waist-friendly option." Another idea: Start a food diary. "That's been shown to help find patterns between your mood and food," he said.
You're sedentary. Dieting without exercising is like trying to drive with the parking brake on: You won't get very far. "You may drop some pounds initially," said Dr. Oz, "but your body can't selectively lose fat or muscle, so you lose both, and that makes losing weight more difficult because pound for pound, muscle burns more calories than fat." Another bummer: "You also lose bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life," said Dr. Oz. Get started by choosing an activity you enjoy. "That way you're more likely to do it," advised Dr. Oz. Maybe that's taking some fitness classes at the gym or working out at home with DVDs or even getting together with a friend to talk while you walk. In fact, walk as much as you can. Aiming for 10,000 steps a day really helps the weight come off, said Dr. Oz. "You can get a few thousand steps in with just your daily activities, but you'll need to commit extra time to reach the 10,000 mark," he said. Get a pedometer so you can track your progress.
Dinner is your biggest meal. If you're just so hungry by dinnertime that you can't help but gorge, try eating several small meals during the day. "Then you won't feel like you need to make up for the entire day at one meal," said Dr. Oz. "It's generally more waist friendly to make breakfast or lunch your big meal. Eating earlier in the day gives you more time to use up the calories so they're not stored as fat."
And when you do sit down to dinner, start with a small portion, telling yourself that you can have seconds if you're still hungry. "It generally takes about 30 minutes for your stomach to register that it's full, so by the time you're ready for seconds, your first serving will just be settling, and you may think twice about the extra calories," said Dr. Oz. Another trick that may stop you from automatically taking seconds and thirds: Leave the serving bowls and platters on the counter, not on the table. Women participating in study at Cornell University ate about 10 percent less when they had to get up to refill their plates compared to when the serving platters were within easy reach.