The gifts have been unwrapped, the leftovers are long gone, the decorations are back in the attic. It’s now that time where almost half of all Americans resolve to lose weight and get healthy. Sound like you? If so, beware of setting yourself up for failure by avoiding these 5 resolutions:
Resolution #1. Eliminate carbs. It seems everyone thinks that carbs cause weight gain. The scientific truth is, they don’t. Sure, if you consistently overeat carbs, they’ll contribute to weight gain, but any food in excess will cause weight gain. About 40-65% of your intake should come from carbs. On a 2000 calorie intake, that means about 1000-1300 calories (or 225-325 grams) should come from grains, fruits, veggies and dairy. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy. Plus they contain B vitamins, which help with mood. But here’s the real truth about carbs: if you can’t cut something out for life, don’t bother trying. Eliminating a food group will backfire, and lead to overeating or binge eating.
Resolution #2. Avoid gluten. If you have celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, it is very important to avoid gluten. However there is no evidence that shows eliminating gluten leads to weight loss. Additionally, gluten-free foods aren’t better for your health. Don’t be fooled- gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean “low calorie” or “healthy.” In fact, gluten-free foods may have extra calories and sugars to make up for taste and texture when substitutions for gluten are made. They also tend to have less fiber than the regular products.
Resolution #3. Get a 6 pack. If you’re a guy, then yeah, this may be achievable because guys can have 6% body fat and be healthy. If you’re female, then whoa…. . The majority of females have higher body fat stores (think babies) and unless they are restricting their intake and exercising excessively having a 6 pack is unlikely. There are exceptions: some women have a more muscular build and a naturally low body fat level that allows for their abdominal muscles to be visible. However, for most women, achieving a 6 pack may put you at risk for disordered eating.
Resolution #4. Try to look like that hot person on Instagram. Comparing yourself to other people will only make you feel worse. Everyone has different genetics, body types, body distribution and metabolisms and photo-editing apps! Focus on yourself and celebrate your body for what it can do.
Resolution #5. Believe that everything you read on the internet is true. In addition to the plethora of sound, scientific advice for losing weight on the internet, there is also an abundance of recommendations that are extreme and potentially dangerous. Some things to stay clear of include: diets that promise quick results, extreme diets that eliminate food groups, and cleanses. In order to lose weight, your output must consistently exceed your input. So move more, eat less. Boring, but true!
Pam Chin-Lai, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD specializes in the nutritional rehabilitation of eating disorders in children, adolescents and adults.