Thursday, March 26, 2009

What's Making you Fat?

The bulk of the American population is overweight or obese—at last count, more than 66 percent of us fall into this category. And although a good majority of them are trying to peel off those extra pounds, many are making mistakes that can not only stall their weight-loss efforts, but can actually lead to weight gain. If you're trying to slim down, be sure you avoid these common traps: You blame your weight problem on your love of food. The fix: Emotions, such as stress, boredom, grief and even happiness, are often the cause of overeating. So if you want to lose weight, you not only have to pay attention to portions and calories, you also have to examine the major voids in your life—whether it's an unfulfilling job or a troubled relationship—that drive you to overeat. You steer clear of fats. The fix: Low-fat diets were all the rage years back, but we now know that small amounts of the right kinds of fat are actually good for your health and your weight-loss efforts. Unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts and olive and canola oil, have been shown to lower cholesterol, help you feel satisfied, and may prevent overeating. You avoid exercise because you don’t want to bulk up. The fix: When you start to work out or increase your activity, the body tends to hold onto water, which can make it seem like you've gained a few pounds. But this water weight actually helps fuel your metabolism and allows your muscles to function properly. The erratic fluctuations in weight can be frustrating, so avoid the scale for at least the first month of a weight-loss plan. You stop snacking. The fix: Many people confuse "snack" with "treat." A treat is a small splurge that helps you avoid feelings of deprivation, whereas a snack is a nutritious bite that keeps your hunger in check between meals. Ideally, snacks should be about 200 calories and offer a mix of lean protein and good carbs as well as a little healthy fat. Start with a snack a day (two if you're very active) to see if that helps manage your appetite. SOURCE

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