You wake up one day and decide that you want to lose a few pounds. So you start working out and eating healthier. You gradually lose weight and reach your goal weight. Then you congratulate yourself and reward yourself with a new wardrobe.
The problem is that the weight you’ve lost might not be as valuable as you think. Here’s why.
The Biggest Loser
If you’ve ever watched the reality show The Biggest Loser, you might think that losing weight is as easy as going on a diet and working out. This couldn’t be further from the truth. To begin with, contestants on the show are encouraged to lose as much weight as possible without feeling too bad about it. So the goal is to make you feel uncomfortable. In fact, many of the strategies contestants use are downright painful. For example, Alumni from Cornell University tell us that “The Biggest Loser contestants are not given sufficient nutrition information. Instead, they are encouraged to follow a ‘penny pincher’ diet with lots of soups, stews, and other cheap and easy to prepare food.” Moreover, contestants are put through hell in weekly competitions as teams of trainers vie for the top spot. Finally, most people who go on the show are highly motivated to lose weight for social reasons. So while it’s easy to congratulate yourself after reaching your goal weight, it’s also important to look at the truth behind the show’s catchy slogan: Being thin isn’t everything.
Water Weight vs. Fat Weight
If you’ve ever seen the show, you know that not all the weight lost by contestants is actually fat. Some of it is water weight, which is essentially empty calories that your body retains until you drink enough to balance it out. This is why people who drink a lot of water and don’t eat much end up looking thinner than those who follow a low-calorie diet. In one study that compared the body composition of men who followed either a low-calorie diet or a water-drinking diet, researchers found that “After 6 months, [the participants following the low-calorie diet] showed a similar significant weight loss compared with [those on the water-drinking diet]. However, the latter group had significantly decreased body fat percentage, whereas the former had similar levels of body fat percentage to the baseline.” In other words, even though the contestants on The Biggest Loser ate less food and exercised more, they still had an important factor that helped them slim down: water weight. Drinking more than eight glasses of water a day can cause you to lose a ton of weight without even trying! It’s important to remember that the human body is roughly 70% water, and drinking at least eight glasses of water per day will help you stay hydrated and maintain a healthy weight. Nowadays, many weight-loss supplements and diets are even engineered to be ultra-filtered so they can rid your system of any water weight. In other words, the sooner you start drinking enough water, the sooner you’ll start seeing the results of your hard work. And to think, all this time you were doing the right thing and drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per day – it’s easy to make the wrong assumption and think you’ve accomplished something when in reality, you haven’t!
Water Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Tastes
In an earlier study, we looked at the differences in how men and women perceive and value food. One of the findings was that, over time, men have developed a greater appreciation for some foods’ tastes – especially sweet and salty tastes – while women have become more focused on other factors such as texture and how meals look. For example, the study found that men tended to value sweet and salty tastes more while women placed greater emphasis on the textures of foods and how they looked. This is important to keep in mind when trying to lose weight. Even though you might be tempted to cut out all the foods you know you shouldn’t eat – especially the ones with lots of sugar in them – you should still focus on what you enjoy eating. If you start feeling deprived of the foods you love, it can be a sign that you’re starting to lose motivation and need a boost. One way to do this is by mixing sweets and salty snacks with other foods you enjoy eating. If you’re not sure what to eat, try out some of our all-time favorite healthy recipes, like the Jamaican Jerk Chicken or the Beef Brisket. Not only are they cooked in healthy fats but they taste amazing!
Counting Calories vs. Eating Healthy
Have you ever seen the movie Ratatouille? If not, you should definitely watch it. It’s about a rat named Remy who is tasked with transforming humans’ leftovers into edible food. While in the process of transforming this food, Remy encounters many obstacles he must overcome. One of the problems he faces is that the people he’s helping don’t know how to eat healthy and count their calories. If you’ve ever been to the doctor’s office and had your weight quantified, you might be familiar with the phrase ‘eat healthy’ and ‘count calories.’ Well, guess what? Calorie counting can be hard. That’s why most people aren’t very good at it. It takes a lot of practice to learn how to eat healthy without consuming too many calories. The easiest and least strenuous way to do this is by making healthier choices without having to count every calorie. Some people call this ‘intuitive eating,’ and it’s a popular weight-loss strategy among people interested in lifestyle changes. So, rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet and lifestyle all at once, you can focus on making healthier choices without having to worry about how much you’re eating. If you want to give it a try, you can start by replacing your usual lunch of a sandwich or burger with a salad. Instead of eating the bread basket at dinner, have some bruschetta or French fries. If you want to lose weight, there are plenty of strategies out there that don’t require you to overhaul your entire lifestyle and only focus on how to make healthier choices without having to worry about the calories you consume. Find what works best for you and stick with it.
Lose The Little Bit Of Fat You Have
While we’re here, let’s discuss the misconception that all fat is bad. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The bad fat you need to avoid is the trans fat that takes years off your lover’s skin and makes them look bloated. The stuff that’s hiding behind the ‘fats’ on the nutrition facts panel is not fat – it’s often polyunsaturated fats that aren’t as harmful as other fats. These fats can help your body make some important hormones and may even help protect your skin from damage. So, rather than avoiding all fat, you should be eating the right kind of fat at the right time. If you want to lose weight, it’s important to understand that your body needs some fat to function properly. Your heart needs fat to be healthy, your skin needs fat to be healthy, and so does your brain!
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of A Sugar Rush
You might be used to getting a ‘sugar rush’ from sugar, but did you know that you can get the same effect from artificial sweeteners? This is because when you eat sugar, the insulin in your blood stream triggers a response in your brain that makes you feel happy. When this effect is combined with an activity you enjoy, such as fitness, it’s possible to lose weight while feeling fulfilled. If you’ve ever tried to diet and discovered that your mood dropped significantly, maybe it’s time to give dieting a rest and try something new. Find what works best for you and stick with it. If you want to try a healthier option, you can look into the alkalizing diet or the ketogenic diet, which have the potential to raise your energy levels and keep you motivated.
Did you know that your body’s main function is to regulate hydration? In other words, it keeps you dry and makes you drink whenever you feel the need. If you don’t drink enough, your muscles can become weak and you could even become sick. In order to stay hydrated, you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. This is why cutting back on the fluids you drink can cause you to lose a lot of weight. Your body is smart, and it will do what you ask of it. If you want to be healthier, you need to be responsible for your drinking habits. You should only drink what’s healthy for you and be aware of how many glasses you’re having. If you think you might be dehydrated, drink some fluids to rehydrate.