Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Dieting doesn’t work, “they” tell us. But wait, the Mediterranean diet prevents health problems in the tiny tots! What gives? We’re here to help you sort through the confusion:
Want to Gain Weight? Go on a Diet
You’ve probably heard that many people gain back any weight lost during dieting. It makes sense: just about any diet will help you drop some poundage, but as soon as you go back to your normal ways, the ‘libs come back like the feisty clingers that they are.
It gets worse (don’t worry, then it gets better):
Scientists have determined that not only do some dieters gain back weight some of the time, dieting is just about the only surefire way on earth to gain weight. That’s no joke or exaggeration. When the researchers examined over 30 different significant diet studies, the only similarity they could find – the only conclusion that could be reached – was that dieting is the absolute best predictor of excess weight gain.
If you want to gain weight, it’s really easy. Simply go on a diet.
Okay, here’s the good part. If you want to lose weight, don’t diet! You have science on your side, friends! How can this be, you ask? Unfortunately, “diets really do make you fat almost 100% of the time” does not have an inverse relationship to “eat whatever you want and never diet and you’ll be thin”. Whether you diet or whether you decide that a life of Dunkin Donuts and McRib sandwiches is for you, both extremes will get you plenty of junk in more places than the proverbial trunk.
The key is neither dieting or saying “to heck with it, bring on the fettucine!” To maintain a healthy weight, you have to live like a healthy, lean person would. And how is that?
1 – Whole, unprocessed, recognizable foods
(bad: french fries; not good: crackers; whole and unprocessed: brown rice)
2 – Fresh, mostly green things
(bad: ready-made meals, burritos, pizzas; not good: ready-made vegetarian lasagna; a fresh, mostly green thing: salad or steamed veggie plate)
3 – Not much
(bad: a huge burger with a soda and fries; not good: a low-fat pasta dish with a breadstick and sugar-free ice cream; not much: a small plate comprised of mostly vegetables with a little fresh lean protein and a bit of good fat)
You can see how the bad things are clearly bad. And the “not good” things are things we often think of as at least partly healthy (this is the category into which many of us fall, and why we often feel so frustrated). But to be healthy, you must do more than add in a few good things – you must live, eat, and breathe 90% good things. Are you up for it?
Mediterranean Diet: Why It Works
Hey! Didn’t we just say diets don’t work?
Well, the Mediterranean diet is not really a diet, per se. It’s a healthy lifestyle. This “diet” focuses on fresh, whole, natural foods. There’s almost no processed, pre-made or sugary foodstuffs whatsoever. The bulk of the calories come from fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, some whole grains, olive oil, and a little fish or meat.
The cool thing about this diet is that in addition to helping prevent heart disease, cancer and obesity, children following this “diet” have reduced rates of allergies and asthma. You can do your own variation because it’s more about the general fresh and produce-based idea. If you aren’t crazy about olive oil, use avocado or walnut oil. If you don’t like fish, use chicken. If you aren’t into nuts, eat avocados. Experiment and have fun! Eat tasty things.
What tasty things help keep you healthy? Give us a shout in the forum!
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The Tuesday 10: Lose Weight Even If You’re Busy
And who isn’t busy? We’ve been talking quite a bit so far this week about how fast-paced and hectic our lifestyles are (especially in April, it seems). The idea of losing weight typically generates rather glamorous images: personal trainers, hours in the gym on complicated equipment, expensive groceries and making a veritable career out of cooking dinner.
Statistically, we’re both the busiest and fattest bunch of people on earth, so it’s not hard to see why the thought of weight loss carries such impossibly glamorous, time-sucking connotations. Fortunately, our idea of what’s required is not really accurate – whether you want to lose ten pounds or fifty. Of course, diet pills and exercise gadgets you see on infomercials don’t work – it’s not quite that easy. But losing weight is surprisingly simple if you apply a few tips consistently.
Here are ten of my favorite ways to get started today:
10. No More Frivolous Bread
What’s the harm of one roll at dinner, right? A lot more than you think. Bread baskets are ubiquitous, and they’re also worthless. Make it a habit to avoid these freebie wasteful calories, period. After a few weeks you will notice a difference. It’s too easy!
9. Don’t Eat Until You’re Stuffed
This seems obvious, but many of us are guilty of over-eating. I was surprised to learn recently that liver disease is an alarming new problem (truly an epidemic), but not because of excessive alcohol consumption. It’s because of excessive food consumption! It’s really true that restaurant portions are two to three times more than you need – and that’s standard. Here’s how to deal: eat until that point where your stomach is no longer growling, but you could still eat a bit more. From now on, simply stop when you get to that point. It only takes one or two times to realize how incredible this feels. The busiest person can eat less.
8. Get It To Go
I’m not talking about take-out. Anytime you dine out, get half the meal into a doggy bag before you even start. You don’t have to cook all your meals to lose weight; just eat less when you are out. Hey, you’ll save cash, too!
7. Don’t Drink Calories
Many of us consume several hundred empty, sugary calories daily without realizing it – lattes, sodas, “energy” drinks, sports drinks, smoothies and so on. Unless these drinks are replacing a meal or supplementing a really small meal, don’t drink them. I like to have frequent protein and fiber smoothies, but they typically replace a meal, or I make sure to get in a really intense workout session.
What to do: stick with water and the occasional glass of wine or a light beer. Make calorie-rich drinks a treat, because they really are more like dessert and should be viewed as such. That daily latte is packing on as much as half a pound a week. It’s easy to see why people can gain ten or fifteen pounds a year without knowing why – these little treats have a terrible cumulative affect on your waistline (and health). Busy and need a lift? Grab a water bottle to go instead of a mocha. Realize that most of these drinks are really just glorified milkshakes.
6. Realize Why You Need to Lose Weight
Most of us get caught up in the vanity of weight loss – we just want to look good! There’s nothing wrong with that. But remember that being overweight is behind most of the major causes of death in this country – and nearly all of them are preventable! This isn’t about having the perfect abs or being a size 4. Even a ten-pound weight loss can add years of good health to your life. Time it takes to realize this: you just did!
5. Snack, Part A
We have become a culture of constant eaters. We’re always snacking – bars, chips, bags of treats, candy, cheese, it never ends. We often eat more than the serving size when we snack (who ever eats only seven chips?). Learn to slow down and enjoy meals, and think about the calories you’re putting into your mouth. Simply practice being aware of everything you eat. This doesn’t take up your time, and it makes a big difference in how much you eat.
4. Snack, Part B
When you snack, snack on fruit or veggies. Your body will soon grow to crave them instead of the other unhealthy treats. Humans become easily habituated to any substance – make this work for you, not against you. Busy folks have no excuse: pre-washed, chopped veggies are available in most grocery stores, and you can always get the kids to take on the chore of tossing rinsed veggies into baggies for a week’s worth of snacks all ready to grab and go.
3. Lunch Dilemmas
Many of us eat too much or chow on unhealthy lunches because we’re in a rush or just can’t get away from the desk. Two easy, quick fixes for even the busiest souls:
- If you eat home-made lunches, you don’t have to keep buying and consuming the same old pre-made junk. Buy and consume bagged salads instead. There is almost always one variety of bagged lettuce on sale. Keep a bottle of balsamic vinegar at work, and you’re good to go. This doesn’t take any more time than microwaving a pre-made meal high in carbohydrates and bad fats and you’ll save thousands of calories (translation: a couple of pounds) a week.
- If you and the gang dine out for lunch, just start ordering salads instead of sandwiches and pastas. Lay off the croutons and franken-dressings, and you’re well on your way to losing weight in just a few weeks. Salads shouldn’t be a once-in-a-while healthy notion. Greens of some sort should be a daily habit. They are what we are meant to eat.
2. Frozen Vegetables Are Your Friends
Too tired to whip up a healthy, nutritious dinner? We all are. Fortunately, healthy dinners really don’t take very long. In fact, heating up a huge bag of vegetables and drenching them in olive oil and tasty spices takes less time than waiting for the pizza to arrive. Get into the habit of eating veggies for dinner at least 3 or 4 days a week, and watch the pounds run. in. terror.
I eat pretty light dinners, but if you need more protein in your evening meal, bake up a big bag of frozen chicken breasts once a week so they’re ready to slice and toss into the vegetables. Now seriously, did that take any time at all?
1. Bottom Line
For people on the go, the bottom line for weight loss comes down to reducing portions. Avoid the empty calorie traps – pre-made meals, coffee drinks, snacks. These are the bane of any busy person’s existence. Avoiding them doesn’t mean you must alternatively slave over freshly-made meals or spend hours at the gym every week.
And recognize that convenience and speed apply equally to vegetables and low-calorie foods like salads, too. So make the better choice.
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Everyone loves a useful, pithy top ten – you MDA frequent flyers know that Mark delivers a piping hot set every Tuesday.
But with so many blogs, and so little time (darn work keeps gettin’ in the way), it’s hard to know which top tens are really…top. Never fear, Apples. I have spent the week scouring the blogosphere for the most helpful, enjoyable top ten lists to get you healthy, lean, fit, rested, and stress-free.
A list of lists: presenting the Top Ten Top Ten
I would add that in addition to fried fish sticks, popcorn shrimp and white-meat chicken nuggets are also lean protein sources gone very, very bad. The Doc makes an excellent point that we make these bad foods even worse by masking their bland flavor in unhealthy sauces.
Wow – this is a list you cannot miss! A sample: Fat isn’t bad. Sit-ups won’t give you a six-pack. And endless wailing at the cardio machine is not necessarily healthy.
Some of them are sneaky!
An unusual list of reasons you may not have considered. I think too much in = not enough out is the obvious major culprit for obesity, but this list serves to show us that it’s really our entire lifestyle contributing to the obesity epidemic. In fact, if you think about it, it would be weird if we didn’t have an obesity epidemic – and isn’t that sad?
A refreshing take on why quitting smoking is so important.
Careful on #5: remember to breathe and relax for best balance.
Absolutely one of the best round-ups of fitness myths I’ve seen. Each one is commonly believed by many of us, and this handy guide expertly debunks them all.
This isn’t just a problem for overweight people. (In fact, part of the reason overweight people have extra pounds is because they have really good metabolisms! Possibly thanks to gut bugs, their bodies have become a little too efficient – great in prehistoric times, not so great now.)
This list offers some great tips, though I wouldn’t recommend a) high-intensity cardio more than once or twice a week, or b) drinking ice water for caloric burn.
Too much cardio actually stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, because the body thinks it’s in “fight or flight” panic mode. (Now, now, don’t be too sad about cutting back on the cardio machines.) As far as drinking ice water goes, this is one of those “relative nutrition” things Mark always talks about. It might help, it probably won’t hurt, but it’s such a marginal influence either way, don’t expect big results.
The bread crust myth was new to me. Anyone else heard this one before? Apples?
I like this list because it takes one enjoyable habit and shows you how this habit can alleviate all your health, exercise, and stress concerns. Nice, simple concept, easy to do, and really healthy!
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Here’s the fresh mix, Apples! You sassy little things, you.
Food Police: Dangerously Close to a Sherlock Award
Since we’ve already so graciously awarded the CDC with our monthly MOTO, the food police have narrowly escaped with dignity intact – for this month. Fresh from the fryer: they’re warning us that Chinese food is unhealthy.
Hmm…is anyone really surprised to learn that a box of Chinese takeout is not the cornucopia of health we’d like it to be?
Everyone Loves a Good Bribe!
Did you know that doctors routinely accept rewards from pharmaceutical companies for
pushing prescribing new drugs? Cheerful instant messages and pats on the back these rewards are not. We’re talking cold, hard cash, and lots of it. Best of all, most states don’t really have laws in place to make sure this bidness gets disclosed.
Myths of Health
And you were just getting your fillings replaced (someone call Ludacris, quick). Here are the web’s top health myths that manage to persist in spite of all good sense.
Listen Up, Ladies
Another reason to admit that veggies are ‘licious.
Here’s an important, and easy, health tip for keeping your weight loss goals on track.
food police, Chinese food, health myths, vegetables, cancer prevention, pharmaceutical
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The Bees are proud to bring you all kinds of fascinating, humorous, important and compelling news bites today. Would you expect anything less? We hope not! Check out this clickativity:
Eating for Two?
Moms-to-be: think you need to gain 30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy? Think again. Conventional medical wisdom gets challenged by our pals over at Calorie Lab – so, naturally, we’re all over it! Many women have a hard time losing the “baby weight” after a pregnancy – could it be that women have been taught to gain more than they should? Japanese doctors routinely recommend women gain, at most, 15 ‘libs.
It’s Squeaky-Clean, But Is It Happy?
Dr. Mirkin is at it again: this time, mercilessly debunking the colon cleansing obsession that seems to have taken hold of America. Fiber is one thing; taking up second-home residence in el bano is quite another. Ahem.
Eating Sticks of Butter at 3 a.m. Again?
Yeah, it’s a problem. We’ve all heard the bizarre stories about what Ambien does to people. The FDA issues yet another drug warning for certain sedatives. Is it just us, or does it seem like the FDA’s modus operandi consists of approving new drugs in a hurry and then issuing warnings for them when things inevitably go wrong? When people start eating packs of cigarettes as a result of taking a drug, you know Uncle Sam’s food and drug agency is in danger of jumping the shark…
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For those of you interested in good causes, please take a moment to visit Mark’s friend and colleague Dr. Rutledge Taylor’s Youtube clip about the malaria crisis. That’s right – the malaria crisis. Did you know malaria kills more people than AIDS? And that it has killed more than all wars combined? While this heart-wrenching clip is quite unsettling (sensitive viewers please take note), all the same, it’s an incredibly important issue. You can visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for more information about this issue, as well.
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