Summer is here and everyone wants to look their best, so diets are all the craze (of course, they always are). And while we’re constantly bombarded with too much (often contradictory) diet advice, I thought I’d shed light on 5 weight loss tips that, while good to follow, are not always the right thing to do.
Eat Every Three Hours
Well what if you’ve just had Thanksgiving dinner or its caloric equivalent? I eat within 3 hours 99% of the time, but there are both studies and stories of people who are losing weight and eating less often, sometimes every 4 to 5 hours. It really comes down to if you will eat the fewest calories and have the least cravings with whichever approach. I think for most people, eating 3 hours or sooner is ideal, but if someone is having successful weight loss eating less often than that, why break a good thing?
Follow a Low Carb Diet for Maximal Weight Loss
I am a diehard low carber. And studies have finally vindicated my approach to weight loss, showing it to be as effective if not more so than high and moderate carb diets. But it’s not going to be for everyone. I think if you’re diabetic or very overweight (and in either case have a lot of weight to lose), a low carb diet is going to be your best bet. It controls blood sugar, and the food is satisfying.
Still, there are some people for whom a low carb diet makes them sluggish and feel rotten, even after the 2 to 4 week adjustment phase. These people if trying to lose weight may need to a more modified approach. If we define a typical low carb diet as eating fewer than 50 carbs a day (not counting fiber), they may need 100 grams. It’s highly individualized, but the bottom line is if you don’t have a lot of energy and far fewer cravings after 4 weeks on a low carb diet, and you feel exhausted and moody all the time, I’d bet you’d do better eating a few more carbs.
Eat One Gram Of Protein For Every Pound You Weigh
What if you weigh 300 pounds? That’s 1,200 calories of protein already. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for all the other food you need to eat in your caloric budget. It is true that on a diet, you are only as lean at the end as the fat pounds you lost and muscle pounds you kept. Losing a lot of fat and muscle together gives the “skinny fat” look. This is why eating protein and lifting weights are recommended rightfully so on a weight loss diet. They help you keep the muscle while you burn the fat.
But must we get a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight? Heck no! If someone beginning a diet made an effort to eat some eggs, cottage cheese, or chicken everyday while lifting weights 40 minutes a day 3 times a week, I really think that’s enough at first. You’ll find yourself eating enough the more you get into your fitness routine. Starting out, it’s more important for someone not eating breakfast to start or to just make it to the gym 3 nights a week. And by the way, eating breakfast is not a rule you can break.
Don’t Eat Late at Night
On this one you can get into trouble. There is a right way to eat at night and a wrong way to eat at night. The wrong way: not eating breakfast, eating light during the day, and then getting all your calories at night. That is a recipe for disaster. Your body is basically yo-yo dieting everyday with that strategy, starving itself in the early hours, overfeeding during the later hours, and gaining fat on a day to day basis.
The right way would be to always have breakfast, still have lunch, and if dinner is your largest meal, but you’re still not overeating, you’re going to be ok. If you’re doing this while losing weight, and you stall, you might want to make breakfast the largest meal, but done once in a while (or often if it’s working), this is not a big deal. Eat at night, just don’t overeat.
Drink 8 to 10 Glasses of Water Per Day
I admit I do not always do this. I make sure to have at least 1,500 ml of water in protein smoothies, but straight water? Not always, and yet I have lost all the weight I wanted to lose. Studies show the water found in the tea and coffee we drink does count towards the elusive 8 to 10 cups per day rule, but even then, I don’t know that I add up. I’ll say this much: drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water is not mandatory for weight loss, but I have noticed faster weight loss and more energy when I drink more water.
This last rule to break brings up a good point. Just because it is okay to break these rules does not mean you’re not hurting yourself when you do. They’re taught for a reason. However, losing weight is a crazy day to day grind, and some days, things just aren’t going to go as planned. If you need to break something you hold sacred to make it to the end of the day without blowing your diet completely, I say go for it. Successful weight loss is more about not losing the ground you’ve made, so break away if it helps you!
- Aaron Snyder