I constantly see women overdoing it on whole grains because they're good for them. They are so important for your health, but large portions cause weight gain, period. The other day at a Mexican restaurant, I noticed women ordering gigantic bowls of brown rice with beans and chicken and cheese and guacamole, and it took every inch of willpower not to tell them, "Those foods are all good for you, but together they're way more calories than your body needs at one meal!" The truth is, unless you burn off as many calories as you take in, you'll put on pounds. Even fruit and veggies (gasp!) get converted to fat.
- 4 servings of veggies (1 serving = 1 cup)
- 4 servings of whole grains (1 serving = a slice of whole-grain bread or a half cup of brown rice)
- 4 servings of lean protein (1 serving = 3 ounces of meat or a half cup of beans)
- 4 servings of healthy fat (1 serving = 1 tablespoon of oil or a quarter of an avocado)
I'm seeing more women on vegan and gluten-free diets, not for ethical or health reasons but to shed pounds. Thing is, if you don't replace those lost carbs, protein, and fata.k.a. macronutrientsit can lead to weight gain, fatigue, irritability, and digestive issues. You need the Goldilocks approach to macronutrients: not too little, not too much.
It may be tempting to "save up" calories for dinner out or the weekend, but that can sap energy, mess with your mood, and force your body to burn muscle for fuelwhich slows your metabolism. One study found that when people ate just one large meal late in the day, they upped their risk of prediabetes. I once had a client who stopped losing weight because she moved her afternoon snack to the eveningwhich meant a seven-hour stretch of no food between lunch and dinner and two rounds of eating at night, when her activity was low.
One woman I work with regularly overate. She had a high-pressure job and a demanding family, and she was a perfectionist with a spotless home. I'll never forget the stunned look on her face when I asked how she felt while overeating. "It feels like reckless abandon, like a moment of freedom," she said. Ta-da!
Every woman I've counseled has tried a fad diet. A drastic low-cal plan sends your body into conservation mode, so you burn calories slower. It can also cause headaches, moodiness, fatigue, cravings, and, of course, only temporary weight loss.