Weight Loss in 2011: the Good, the Bad, and the Truly Irritating

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Was your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight this year? Many of us try this every year, and many of us are discouraged already! But don’t despair. Over the next few weeks I’ll share successful Healthy Eating weight loss tips, starting with the Good, the Bad, and what can only be described as, the Truly Irritating, below:

Weight Loss: the Good

No More “Diets”

After decades of wacky weight loss schemes, Americans are turning to a Healthy Living approach to lose weight. What does that mean for you? It means achieving weight loss success without starving yourself (or feeling guilty about eating a whole bag of potato chips following a day of nothing but cabbage soup!). A Healthy Living approach means:

  • Eating more whole foods
  • Eating fewer processed foods
  • Being more active
  • Spending time with your family

Wal-Mart:

Those of you who know me personally know that I am not a big Wal-Mart fan. But I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. Wal-Mart is starting a new healthy food initiative to reduce the price of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also are planning to make-over some of their store brand items by reducing trans-fats, sugar and sodium levels. This is great news not just for Wal-Mart shoppers, but for everyone. Wal-Mart is such a big player, that whatever they do, other grocers will be forced to follow. The winner here? YOU! Hopefully soon we’ll all be able to choose healthy meals, no matter what our budget.

Weight Loss: the Bad

Processed Foods:

Even though Wal-Mart and other food producers are starting to see the light and make their food products healthier, it really is a case of too little, too slowly. Most of the food on the grocery store shelf has an unhealthy amount of fat, salt, and/or sugar – even the “reduced or light” varieties. “Reduced” and “Light” just means there is less than there used to be, not that it is suddenly a healthy product. All these hidden ingredients make it difficult to lose weight unless you are an obsessive label reader – which I encourage you to become! (Get our label reading guide here).

Bad Healthy Food:
Worse even than processed foods that we recognize might be unhealthy, are the foods that are promoted as healthy and then are really full of calorie-laden, heart-damaging fats, salt, and sugar. Remember, the inexpensive way to make something taste good is not to add lots of flavorful herbs and spices, but to fill it with fat, salt or sugar. Items that have reduced one of these inexpensive “flavorings” in the name of health, often boost the remaining. So watch out for:

  • Low-fat cottage cheese (pumped up with sodium)
  • Lean chicken or beef cuts (pumped up with sodium/saline solution).
  • Fast food salads (pumped up with sodium).
  • Bottled Marinara Sauce (up to 1 TBSP of added sugars in 1/2 cup, thanks to added high fructose corn syrup).
  • Fat-free salad dressings (more high fructose corn syrup).
  • Baked Vegetable “Chips” (still full of fat, sometimes more than regular chips!).
  • Chicken or turkey sausage (almost as much fat, and less protein, than regular sausage).

Weight Loss: the Truly Irritating

Chemicals? Lack of Sleep?

So you’ve been eating better, staying active, and still can’t lose weight? Maybe it’s not you. Although there is no doubt that most of us need a diet plan overhaul, our diet doesn’t account for the increasing obesity rates among infants and/or animal populations. So what is causing this “growing” trend? Good question. It could be a variety of things including lack of adequate sleep, changing bacteria in our gut, and the proliferation of chemicals in our environment. I am not just talking about pesticide residue in our food, but also chemical additives in our foods, food packaging, dishware, beauty products, carpets, shampoo, clothing, etc. I’ll be researching several studies on this topic and bringing you the “useful” versions over the next few months. In the meantime, read labels, choose as much natural and/or organic foods and beauty products as possible, and opt for as little packaging as necessary- better for both you and the Earth!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

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