Updated: Jun 17, 2021
One of the biggest complaints I get from patients is that they diet and diet and don’t lose any weight. I see so many frustrated patients but when we get down to it, it’s obvious that they aren’t “dieting” at all. What most people don’t realize is the number of calories they are actually consuming on a daily basis. I used to track my macros when I first got into fitness. Let me tell you, it was time consuming in the beginning. As you start to learn proper measurements and the calories associated with those measurements you start to get a feel for how many calories goes into a certain amount of food. It wasn’t until I started counting my macros that I realized how much I was actually eating. Now, I’m not saying that you need to count your calories to lose weight. I actually stopped counting because I now have a general idea of what I am intaking into my body. But I tell you this so you can put into perspective what most people think they are doing versus what they are actually doing. Portion sizes are so overestimated in our culture, and that is a pitfall in our diets. A “handful” of nuts is not an actual portion size, but maybe three or four.
We need to start reading nutrition facts in the back of food labels and understanding what they mean. Calories are broken down into three categories: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Those should be our primary focus. Protein will keep you feeling full the longest and has 4 calories per gram. It is important for lean muscle mass, especially if you work out. Carbohydrates are important for energy and strength. They also have 4 calories per gram. Fiber goes under this section and the greater the amount, the greater your bowel movement. Fats are 9 calories per gram, and although we do need good fats in our diets this is the one that we should be careful with. Fats are important for energy, but due to their high caloric makeup it is easier to overeat. Some examples of “good fats” include avocado, natural peanut butter, salmon, olive oil, and nuts.
Another big issue with weight loss is knowing what is and isn’t healthy. Marketing is huge in the food industry. Anyone can label their food “healthy” by paying off the company. This is why I stress to look at the nutrition facts and know what you are actually putting into your body. Anything processed should be limited in consumption. Always try to aim for natural foods, such as meats, vegetables and fruits. Lets talk portion size. Although fruits are healthy, they also tend to hold a lot of sugar. So don’t think you cant eat an unlimited amount of fruits and still be able to lose weight. And fruit juice… don’t get me started. Juice is pure sugar; if you look at the nutrition facts in any juice box you will see that an 8oz glass has at least 50 grams of sugar. That’s the same or more than a can of soda! And who actually drinks JUST a glass? So be weary of what you think is “healthy.” If you like fruits, then opt for berries which have the lowest calories per serving.
Remember, everything is ok in moderation. When you want to “diet” to lose weight, your focus needs to be on making small changes over time so that these changes become permanent. Start by decreasing the amount of rice you eat for dinner. Or switch from white to brown rice, which has more fiber. A diet is no fun and is not going to sustain you for the rest of your life. We need to learn to make certain adjustments that are acceptable for us to maintain in the long run. love to eat. It would make me sad to know I was having a meal I did not enjoy. You should enjoy your meals also!