// Weight loss myths debunked!
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« on: Nov 15, 2009 02:36 AM »

Thought these were some good points! -- J.


Weight-Management Myths Debunked

See why you can eat after 7 p.m., plus get the real story about six other commonly held beliefs

Diets are filled with dogma about when, what and how much to eat. Certainly "the rules" are usually based on observations that make sense, but unless you understand why you do certain things, you'll break the rules as soon as the temptation is greater than your motivation. Let's examine some of these myths, where they come from and how to make long-term changes that will work for you.

Myth #1: Don't Eat After 7 p.m.

Your metabolism doesn't shut off at 7:01 p.m., so why is this rule so common? It is based on the observation that a lot of people who struggle with their weight overeat in the evening. Most people have already eaten dinner, so they aren't snacking because they're hungry. They snack because of boredom, television, loneliness and other triggers.

Rather than creating a rule to address those habits, ask yourself, "Am I hungry?" whenever you feel like eating in the evening. If you truly are, eat, keeping in mind that your day is winding down so you won't need a huge meal. If you aren't, consider why you feel like eating and come up with a better way to address that need. Ken, a man in one of my workshops, realized he was just bored, so he started doing stained-glass projects in the evenings to entertain himself. Whatever works!

Myth #2: Eat Small Meals Every 3 Hours

This rule is based on the fact that many thin people tend to eat frequent small meals. However, most of the thin people I know don't check their watch to tell them it's time to eat--they eat when their body tells them to. They eat when they're hungry and stop when they're satisfied. Since that tends to be a small meal, they get hungry again in a few hours.

Instead of watching the clock, begin to tune into the physical signs of hunger to tell you when to eat. And remember, your stomach is only about the size of your fist, so it only holds a handful of food comfortably. By learning to listen to your body's signals, you are likely to follow a frequent small-meal pattern naturally.

Myth #3: Don't Let Yourself Get Hungry

This one is based on the belief that overweight people are incapable of controlling themselves when they are hungry. In my experience with hundreds of workshop participants, once they learn to tell the difference between physical hunger and "head hunger," the opposite is true.

Think about it. When you're hungry, food tastes better and is more satisfying. My grandmother used to say, "Hunger is the best seasoning." Besides, if you aren't hungry when you start eating, what's going to tell you to stop? Of course, you also need to learn to recognize hunger and make time to eat before you are too hungry, since it's harder to make great choices when you are starving!

Myth #4: Exercise More When You Cheat

I hate this one because it has caused millions of people to equate physical activity with punishment for eating. As a result, many people either hate to exercise or use exercise to earn the right to eat.

While it's true that your weight is determined by your overall calories in versus your calories out, exercise is only part of the equation and it has so many other important benefits. Instead of using exercise to pay penance, focus on how great you feel, how much more energy you have, how much better you sleep and how much healthier you are becoming. In the long run, you are more likely to do something because it feels good than because you are forced to.

Myth #5: Follow Your Diet Six Days a Week, Then You Can Have a Cheat Day

This is absurd! What if you were a harsh, overly strict parent six days a week, then completely ignored your kids every Saturday? How would this approach work for your marriage or managing your employees?

It just doesn't make sense to try to be perfect (whatever that is) Sunday through Friday while obsessing about everything you're going to eat on your day off. Then on Saturday you overeat just because you're allowed to, so you end up feeling miserable all day. Huh? Personally, I would rather enjoy eating the foods I love every day mindfully and in moderation. I call this being "in charge" instead of going back and forth between being in control and out of control.

Myth #6: Eat X Number of Calories (or X Number of Points) Every Day

Does it make sense that you would need exactly the same amount of fuel every day? Aren't there just days when you're hungrier than others, maybe because of your activity levels or hormonal cycles?

Rather than setting yourself up to "cheat" on those hungry days and forcing yourself to eat more food than you want on your less hungry days, allow yourself the flexibility to adjust your intake based on your actual needs rather than an arbitrary number. Important: For this to work long-term, you also need to learn to tell the difference between physical hunger and "head hunger."

Myth #7: Carbs Are Bad (or Fat Is Bad)

This "good food-bad food" thinking makes certain foods special. As a result, you may feel deprived and think about them even more than you did before. Worse yet, healthy foods become a four-letter word.

The truth is, all foods fit into a healthy diet. Since different foods have different nutritional qualities and calorie content, you can use the principles of balance, variety and moderation to guide you without trying to restrict yourself from eating an entire food group.

Truth: You Are In Charge

I assume the rule makers are well intentioned and don't realize that they've created a tightrope that most people will fall off of sooner or later. If your head hadn't already told you that all these rules are crazy, wasn't your heart saying there had to be a better way?

It's time to give yourself a wider path that you can stay on forever. Allow yourself the flexibility to make any decision as long as you consider the advantages and disadvantages of your choices and always keep self-care in mind.
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 30, 2009 09:28 PM »

Interesting.... I just was about the post the following article...

Why you shouldn't eat between 8 and 8
November 26, 2009

Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Staff Reporter

That snack at midnight – rather than at midday – could be what's destroying your diet, a researcher believes, based on his finding that when you eat has a stronger impact on your metabolism than what you eat.

"The cycle of feeding and fasting is extremely important," Dr. Satchidananda Panda told the Star Thursday.

His research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego tested the theory that the circadian clock, or the roughly 24-hour cycle that each person's body follows, regulates metabolism. What he found was that mice on exactly the same number of calories reacted differently depending on whether they stuck to a strict feeding regime with periods of fasting or whether they ate small meals and snacks all the time.

"This changes how we think of rhythms," said Panda. "It was thought that it is driven by the clock itself. Now we know it is driven by when you eat."

Scientifically, the genes that encode the enzymes that break down sugars rise immediately after a meal, while genes that encode the enzymes that break down fat are at their highest during a fast.

So a clearly defined eating schedule "puts the enzymes of metabolism in shift work and optimizes burning of sugar and fat."

What this means in theory, Panda said, is that a person would be better off not eating from, say, 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. than eating the same number of calories but not fasting for a stretch.

In fact, Panda himself instituted his own nighttime fast during his study and lost weight, without changing the amount he ate.

He also tested his theory on recent flights to and from India after a flight attendant told him her secret: Eat very little during the flight and have a big meal when you arrive.

"With this new schedule, I've had very little jet lag. I might still wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, but the lethargic conditions are gone."

The research would also explain why shift workers have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical disorders that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, he said.

"It's not because they're shift workers, but because on their days off they change their eating patterns" and throw their liver clocks into crisis.

The next step in the research, said Panda, is to extend the experiment on mice to see if extremely scheduled eating makes them live longer.

Earlier research by Panda found the conventional wisdom of a circadian rhythm entirely governed by the brain clock to be untrue: While exposure to bright light will reset the brain clock, it has no affect on the other organs' "clocks," he said.

The other organs responded to other stimuli, of which feeding time was a major factor, according to his latest study, released Thursday by the Salk Institute.

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