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The 12 Diet Myths that Sabotage Weight Loss

By Dr. Leslie Van Romer

Welcome aboard to America’s diet-go-round, one you may have ridden a few times before. You plan, measure, count, weigh. You sacrifice, deprive, starve then crave. You sneak (as if you can really sneak from yourself). You guilt. You beat yourself up. You lose. You gain. You lose. You plateau. You get depressed, frustrated and feel like a hopeless failure.

The good news is: you didn’t fail, the diets failed you! What a relief! Most diets-of-the-day are designed to fail. Let’s sort myth from fact and stop the dizzying diet-go-round madness forever.

Myth: To lose weight, you must control your hunger drive.

Fact: Your hunger drive cannot be controlled. It’s an inborn instinct. Like all instincts – thirst, sleeping, breathing, sex – it keeps you alive. When you’re hungry (not just bored or sad or upset), do the novel thing and eat! Choose foods that give you the best nutrition for your calorie buck: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains (like brown rice) and beans. To lose weight, you must satisfy your hunger drive, not wage war with it.

Myth: High protein foods satisfy your hunger drive.

Fact: Of the three major nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, carbohydrates sourced by unrefined whole fruits and vegetables satisfy your hunger drive, not the protein found in animal products. Beef, poultry, pork, and fish contain exactly 0% carbohydrates. If you are eating a high protein diet sourced by animal products, you are not getting enough unrefined carbs, which is responsible for triggering your brain to tell you when to stop eating.

Myth: To lose weight, you must starve yourself with restricted portions.

Fact: To lose weight, you must feel full and satisfied, not starving from baby-size portions. You can only starve yourself so long before that hunger drive takes command with such unstoppable power that you eat anything and everything. If you fill up on the best-for-you foods, you can and should eat as much as you want without fussing, counting, measuring, depriving, and bingeing – and putting on extra pounds – ever again.

Myth: To lose weight, you must give up your food favorites forever.

Fact: You don’t “have to” give up anything. Let’s face it. As soon as you proclaim you’re going to give up your favorite food, you’re probably tempted to indulge as soon as the next day! Instead of trapping yourself in that “I have to give up” box, follow a new strategy. Think addition, not subtraction and give yourself wiggle room.

Think about which foods you “get to” add to your day instead of which you “have to” give up. Center your meals on whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, beans, sprouts, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds, and homemade fruit and vegetable juices. Fill up on these first and then eat your traditional not-so-good for you foods. Enjoy your wiggle room, flexibility in your food plan. Just don’t wiggle more than 20% of the time.

Myth: Carbs make you fat.

Fact: Who started the rumor that eating fruit is the same as eating refined white sugar? All carbohydrates are not created equally. There are good carbs and bad carbs. Good carbs are sourced by whole, unrefined plant foods, as in fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. These are your body’s most efficient fuel; what you ate yesterday will give you today’s energy.

Bad carbs are sourced by refined plant foods, such as white sugar and white flour products: breads, cookies, pastries, cake, candy, soft drinks, store-bought drinks, and many processed, packaged foods. Bad carbs, high in calories and empty of nutrients, add fat.

No matter what low-fat, low-carb, high-protein diet is being preached, the real truth is weight gain is ultimately dictated not by one major nutrient, but by a simple math equation:  (Calories in) - (Calories out) = the fat you wear.

Myth: Cravings are all in your imagination.

Fact: Cravings are real. They can hold you hostage and stuck in a body you don’t like. Diets usually deprive you of enough calories and nutrients, intensifying cravings, causing those uncontrollable urges to eat foods high in calories, sugar, fat, salt, and chemicals.

Fresh fruits and vegetables feed all the nutrients necessary for human health, satisfying your hunger drive and minimizing or wiping out cravings, sometimes within a week.

Myth: Olive oil is a good fat.

Fact: Shocker – your body makes almost all the fats it needs! Two exceptions: linoleic and alphalinoleic fatty acids, amply sourced by a variety of plant foods. Therefore, it serves no purpose whatsoever to add more fat to the ready-made fat. Olive oil is a highly concentrated, refined fat that comes without any nutrition. All added oils, even olive oil, offer one thing: calories. Those calories come with a fat price tag – more fat added to your body!

Myth: You must eat meat to get enough protein.

Fact: Animal products come automatically packaged with artery-clogging, disease-causing saturated fat and cholesterol. Beef is 67% fat, skinless, white chicken 38%, salmon 48%, cheddar cheese 73%, eggs 62%, and 2% milk has 35%. Meat, dairy, and fish can quickly hike up fat calories, sabotaging weight loss. As for the cholesterol, chicken, fish, and dairy products are up there with beef.

Myth: You must drink milk and eat cheese to get enough calcium.

Fact: Because dairy products are packed with fat, not to mention other ill-effects, they are not your allies in the weight loss game. Most cheeses are 70% fat or more and even skim milk has 4 to 7% fat.

Don’t we need to eat dairy to get our calcium? Well, think about it. Where do cows, horses, giraffes, apes, and elephants get their calcium for strong bones and teeth? Plants. They certainly don’t drink milk (once weaned). Cow’s milk is made for baby cows, not for baby people much less grown-up people. The only milk made for baby people is human milk.

Unrefined plant foods contain all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients you need, including calcium. Nature is so smart. Where does calcium come from? The soil. Calcium is dissolved in water in the soil and absorbed by plants. Plants transform inedible, unusable calcium from the soil into usable calcium needed by all mammals. Eating plants is the most direct way of getting calcium, and without the fat, cholesterol, animal protein, hormones, antibiotics, other toxins, which can come in dairy products.

Meat and dairy products are choices, not necessities, and can add significant calories to calories and fat.

Myth: You can exercise off the calories you take in.

Fact: It takes about twelve miles of moderate walking, all at one time to lose one pound of fat. Unless you are a high level athlete, exercising without changing to a more nutrient-dense, low-calorie food plan contributes disappointingly little to ideal weight loss in the average person.

Myth: A diet is a temporary way of eating to lose weight. Once a weight goal is reached, you can go back to your “normal” way of eating.

Fact: As soon as you abandon a restrictive diet and return to your “normal” eating habits, the weight comes back – with a vengeance. The only way to lose weight permanently is to shift your thinking. As you do this, you also shift your daily choices. As your choices shift, your habits shift. As your habits shift, your behavior patterns and entire lifestyle shift. At first it takes a lot of effort, as with any change. After a while, it magically transforms into effortless, freeing you from the food trap.

Myth: If you slip-up, you are weak, lazy, undisciplined, and ultimately a failure.

Fact: Ridiculous – you are a human being, so you’re going to get off track. It’s tough to change habits that have been deeply grooved into our brains. Slipping up is totally normal and natural for us mere mortals. When you get off track, there’s no need for self-flogging. Let it go – what’s done is done – and get right back on track. Go to the store, get lots of fresh, whole foods, and center your next meals on the best-for-you foods. And remember: the only slip-up is to give up, and you are not going to give up!

It’s your time to feel good about you! Hop off the diet-go-round and shed those pounds forever. Just add, stop and wiggle. Add the best-for-you foods first, stop eating when your brain tells you to, and wiggle – but not too much! With time, patience, and really wanting it, you can step into your body-dream-come-true.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Leslie Van Romer.

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