Expert Advice on Losing Weight and Keeping It Off
Your diet and weight-loss questions answered.
In this section, you’ll find answers to key questions about losing weight and keeping it off.
“Shouldn’t I be cutting out fat?”
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to cast fat in the role of the nutritional bad guy. After all, fat contains more than twice as many calories (9 per gram) as the other key food components we eat, protein and carbohydrates (both 4 calories per gram). So cutting fat from foods gives you more bang for your calorie-cutting buck. Why not just slash fat from the menu?
It makes sense to be moderate with fat, but not to cut it out immoderately, either. Adding fat to a food slows its digestion, prolonging fullness and helping you feel satisfied. It also aids the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E. But most importantly, fat helps make food delicious, and pleasure is a key element in a lifetime eating strategy. So don’t de-fat your food to the point of tastelessness. Just measure your fats and use a light touch.
What about the Glycemic Index?
You might have heard about this system of ranking foods by how quickly the carbohydrates in them are digested. It’s a terrific principle that can help steer you to healthy eating—but it can be confusing too. Here are the basics:
1. Don't eat refined foods such as white breads, cracker, potatoes, pastas; choose unrefined, whole-grains instead.
2. Make sure you are getting enough fiber.
3. When eating a carbohydrate-based meal, make sure you add at least a little protein.
4. Add some oil—fats mixes with carbohydrates tend to lessen glycemic impact.
5. Double check! Researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia, published an international table of glycemic index and glycemic load values (click to view page in another window).
I’ve hit a plateau. Now what?
Everyone does; it’s a natural part of the weight-loss process. Here are six ways to break through.
1. Review your food diary and activity log.
2. Get out of your rut.
3. Talk with someone who has been there.
4. Lower your calorie goal slightly.
5. Bump up your activity a little.
6. Get more out of your food diary: Use the "Notes" section to write down what's going on and how you're feeling.
Will drinking more milk help me lose weight?
Some intriguing studies suggest that weight-loss diets that include 3-4 daily servings of dairy foods are more effective in shedding pounds than conventional diets. But when co-author Jean Harvey-Berino and colleagues tried to recreate these findings at the University of Vermont, the results were disappointing.
Where can I go for more information about losing weight/healthy eating/exercising?
You’ll find extensive resources throughout eatingwell.com. See the Getting Support page for some of the resources from the book.
Photo Caption: Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., author of The EatingWell Diet