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The true science of weight loss

The true science of weight loss
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We asked doctors, dietitians, therapists and other weight loss experts the key facts their clients most often miss. Make sure to master these oft misunderstood facts if you’re looking to shed a few kilograms.

Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight

Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight
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“Many people think if it’s healthy, you can eat as much as you want, but it’s important to limit ‘recreational’ eating, no matter how healthy the snack.” – Fiola Sowemimo, MD, Board-Certified in Internal and Bariatric Medicine.

Here are 20 more reasons why your diet may not be showing results. 

When you eat is just as important as what you eat

When you eat is just as important as what you eat
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“When you eat is important for weight loss. Starving all day and eating a big meal at the end of the day is counterproductive. No matter how nutritious a meal is, if eaten too late in the day, one does not have the time to burn it off and use it for fuel for the day. It ends up being stored in a body gas tank (the fat cells) you can’t readily access.” – Dr. Sowemimo.

Learn more about the importance of changing when you eat. 

Check your medications

Check your medications
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“Some common medications prescribed for chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes  and depression are weight positive – as in, they make you gain weight or make it difficult for you to lose the excess weight you already have. If one needs to be on chronic medications, it’s best to be on weight neutral or weight negative alternatives. Talk to your doctor about your medications.” – Dr. Sowemimo.

Reaching your goal weight isn’t the end

Reaching your goal weight isn’t the end
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“It takes fewer calories and more energy expenditure to maintain weight loss than it takes to initiate weight loss. So if you let up once you start losing weight, you will gain it all back and then some! The good news is that when you start losing weight, it becomes easier to do more things like spending extra time on the treadmill or doing more resistance training reps. The idea is to continuously challenge yourself.” – Dr. Sowemimo.

This equation will tell you how many kilojoules you should be eating. 

You need to get your thyroid checked, the right way

You need to get your thyroid checked, the right way
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“If you’re having a hard time losing weight, get a proper thyroid assessment. Most people need a test that goes above the standard medical thyroid profile. A standard thyroid test reads as ‘normal’ in 80 percent of overweight individuals, which is incorrect. A proper thyroid assessment includes checking eight different parameters of thyroid function and comparing them to optimal, not normal, values. Evaluated this way, over 80 percent of overweight individuals will actually be properly identified as being hypothyroid. This is a key contributor to overweight.” – Kyrin Dunston, MD, author of Cracking the Bikini Code: 6 Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss Success.

Here are 9 silent signs of a thyroid problem that you could be ignoring. 

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Alcohol literally prevents weight loss

Alcohol literally prevents weight loss
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“Alcohol is not only empty calories but also has a huge effect on the weight loss process. It can interrupt and inhibit fat metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Alcoholic drinks also contain a lot of added calories and carbs that will make it harder to lose weight even when you’re reducing your caloric intake. At the very least, order something you sip slowly, such as wine, rather than something you may drink larger amounts of such as beer.” – Gabriella Vetere, registered dietitian nutritionist, founder of Macrobalanced Nutrition.

Instead of beer, try one of these five best drinks for weight loss.

Not all calories are created equal

Not all calories are created equal
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“Calories are not just calories. There are foods that will nourish the body, preserve and protect lean muscle mass, and foster a healthy metabolism – such as lean proteins, fresh produce and whole grains. And there are foods that will contribute calories but very little else nutritionally – such as refined grains, processed foods and added sugars. Having a calorie limit is a good idea, but it’s critical to meet that goal with as many healthy choices as possible.” – Caroline Apovian, MD, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Centre at the Boston Medical Centre, and vice-president of The Obesity Society.

You have to exercise too

You have to exercise too
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“Exercise is important for so many reasons, with metabolic health and weight loss being only one. While it is true that focusing on diet makes more of a difference in terms of weight loss, the two disciplines work together to maintain a healthy body and metabolism, especially as you age. I advise my patients to strength train twice per week and work in cardio most days of the week.” – Dr. Apovian.

While exercise is essential, you can also try these 23 lazy ways to burn kilojoules. 

Sleep is the missing link in weight loss

Sleep is the missing link in weight loss
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“I refer to sleep as the third pillar of weight loss. Getting less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin. Lack of sleep also interferes with impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day. Getting less sleep than needed also heightens cortisol, which prompts the body to overeat to refuel after fighting off a stressor.” – Dr. Apovian.

Learn more about how to sleep away your weight worries.

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