PHOENIX -- One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight.
Shedding pounds is best done at a slow and steady pace, but we all crave instant gratification, which is why we see so many fad diets and why it’s so easy to fail.Frustrated by lack of instant progress, we can fall prey to temptation, eat a pile of cookies or chips and then vow to start again on Monday or give up altogether.
Besides eating foods that aren’t good for us, there are a lot of surprising ways we sabotage our own success.
One of the worst things you can do to your metabolism is to not eat enough. Restricting food intake too severely can cause you to gain weight, even though it seems counterintuitive. When the body’s internal furnace consistently lacks fuel, it determines that food is scarce. Rather than burn fat, it will focus on storing fat to live off of during the perceived famine.
Skipping breakfast is another way we sabotage our health goals. While we are sleeping, our bodies are working to rebuild and strengthen cells, and after a long night of work, the engine needs refueling. A healthy breakfast with protein and nutrient-rich fruits can kick off a day of fat burning. Add in some exercise and you’re on the right track.
But workouts can be another way we sabotage ourselves. We feel good afterwards and can fall into the trap of rewarding ourselves with pizza or a burger or eating too much. And don’t be fooled by so-called diet or "lite" foods. Many of these foods are packed with sugar and chemicals to make them taste good. The popular 100-calorie packs cost more and can actually lead to eating more servings than we would from a regular box or bag.
We can also confuse thirst with hunger. Try drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before eating. Most often, we’re simply thirsty. Good hydration helps us burn fat, so be sure you’re getting enough fluids each day.
You have to remember, however, that not all fluids are created equal. If you’re having trouble losing weight, liquid calories could be sabotaging your efforts. Avoid sugar-packed juices, fancy coffee drinks that can pack up to 500 calories per serving, and the empty calories in alcoholic drinks.
It's also important to be aware of the foods you eat. For some, eliminating foods loaded with potential allergens (like wheat or beans) can help with weight loss.
Beware that dieting can spur frenemies into action. They are those family members or friends who want us to stay fat and sabotage our efforts so they can feel better about themselves.
Women with PCOS, or polyscystic ovarian syndrome, will have difficulty losing weight and need special care from their medical provider.
Losing weight and keeping it off requires dedication, healthy foods and good hormonal balance. Without proper levels of testosterone, our thyroid becomes sluggish, slowing our metabolism and launching a vicious cycle of weight gain that puts us at greater risk for developing heart disease, cancers and other health conditions.
Finally, don’t give up. Stick to the program and next year you can make a different resolution.
Dr. Angela DeRosa is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Internal Medicine and Women's Health. DeRosa Medical has locations in Scottsdale, Sedona and Chandler. For more information, call 480-619-4097 or visit DeRosaMedical.com.