One of the biggest challenges to weight loss today is TMI. Too Much Information.
Social media is the main source of health information for many Mainers. They read and share “new studies” and “breakthrough research” multiple times daily without any attempt to validate the information or check sources. This makes things like losing weight complex and confusing, as if weight loss wasn’t already too challenging for many folks.
Weight loss used to be simple.
Cut out alcohol, sweet and snacks and you would see an acceptable rate of loss. Cutting out food has always been a reliable way to lose weight because what you’re really doing is cutting back on your calories and that really is all it takes to lose weight.
Cutting calories coming from alcohol, sweets and snacks removes excess calories coming from foods that don’t negatively affect the nutritional quality of your diet. It was, in fact how William Banting lost weight in the 1800s. In 1863 wrote what became one of the first popular diet books of its time and was still in print as of 2007.
Today the media bombards us with “the latest science,” “revolutionary breakthroughs,” “the truth they don’t want you to know about weight loss,” “how fat keeps you fat,” how carbs keep you fat,” “how sugar kills you and keeps you fat,” etc. It’s all for a grab of money and there is plenty of money to be made off of people desperately trying to beat their weight battles.
Promises of “effortless weight loss” are an easy way to get people’s interest and money.
It’s insidious; just watch Dr. Oz for one week and you will learn “multiple untold secrets about weight loss.” Some of these secrets will even negate the secret you learned on a previous broadcast.
When you’re standing in line waiting to pay for your groceries, there is usually no less than a dozen magazines all promising to reveal the secret to lasting weight loss within its pages. If you were to thumb through these magazines to try to get some free advice you may only end up confused. Each one will have a different secret and rarely will the secret in one magazine be the same as the secret in the next.
Facebook is a huge source of TMI and the people who write the posts are geniuses in writing click bait.
Once you’ve clicked be careful. The information about a magic weight loss formula and the testimonials are all designed for one purpose – to get your money. Oh, and it’s not just to get your money; it’s to keep getting your money.
With this abundance of weight loss information it’s only made weight loss progress and therefore, resulting in success more difficult. All this information has resulted in people trying one diet after another trying to find the magic solution to each’s unique weight loss challenge. The big problem isn’t just the amount of information, but how much information is conflicting.
There’s detox diets that say weight loss is inhibited by toxins that slow digestion and calorie burning.
There are low sugar and no sugar diets that claim it’s sugar that causes weight gain and blocks weight loss.
There are low/no carb diets that suggest that carbohydrates – a macronutrient and the body’s best source of energy – is why people can’t shed pounds and are in a constant state of hunger.
Some diets ask followers to go fat free. Fat is also a macronutrient and necessary for good health.
Then there are diets that say, “eat like a caveman,” or, “you need to eat a special combination of foods that work for your blood type,” or for your body type, or your age, your gender or your metabolism.
There is so much information touting the benefits, and ease of so many more diet plans. There are volumes of information regarding diet pills, diet drinks, replacement meals, protein shakes and other products guaranteed to work. It is a lot of information to pour through and the reality is any of these approaches can work if underneath all the hype and quasi science the food plan effectively reduces calories. It should be noted, that reducing calories doesn’t always happen with some diet plans and indeed can increase calories instead.
Often before one stays on the diet long enough to actually realize a calorie deficit, conflicting information from a different source sends the dieter off course and onto the next miracle weight loss solution. The way to successful weight loss is by reducing information and sticking with a simple, science-based plan.
Ideally the plan you choose reduces your calories to create a deficit, but only slightly so that you avoid getting too hungry. It also needs to provide good nutrition and appeal to your taste preferences.
Find a plan that works and stick with it.
Ignore all the information that comes at you and just keep working your plan. When it comes to weight loss, too much of anything can hold back your progress, especially too much information.