It's not too late to resolve to live a healthier lifestyle in 2010. The road to sustainable weight loss can begin when you get rid of weight loss myths that might be standing in your way.
For all the good information out there on how to improve your health, there are a lot of weight loss myths that continue to circulate. Weight Watchers, the world's leading provider of weight management services, debunks some of the most common and controversial weight loss myths, and provides some timely tips to help you make healthy changes in 2010:
Myth: Eliminating food groups will help you lose weight
By eliminating certain types of foods, like bread, you may experience an initial weight loss simply because you're no longer eating the additional calories from that type of food. But in the long run, you start to miss the prohibited food - no bread means no sandwiches, after all. In the end, it becomes too hard to resist and you generally overcompensate by eating more bread than you normally would.
Tip: Incorporate all food groups into your diet. Visualize your plate in three sections - half filled with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with whole grains and the last quarter with lean meat or protein.
Myth: You have to eliminate sugar and fat, not to mention foods you love, in order to lose weight.
Everyone knows that a diet high in fat and sugar will pack on the pounds. This myth carries that concept to the extreme, with an all-or-nothing philosophy that assumes you can't achieve the self control required to eat certain things in moderation.
Tip: Self-deprivation is a sure fire recipe for failure. Depriving yourself entirely of foods you love will likely make you resent the restrictions and return to old (poor) eating habits. Instead of giving up things like pizza or ice cream, plan your indulgences. On the day you want to enjoy pizza for dinner, have a lighter lunch or increase your exercise to compensate for the extra calories. Consider writing down what you eat so that it's easier to track and plan ahead for treats.
Myth: Fresh produce is always healthier than frozen or canned
With so much emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, this is a myth that's easy to believe. Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of important nutrients, but some vitamins may be lost in handling or transportation, and while they're sitting in your grocery store's produce aisle for days at a stretch.
Tip: Frozen or canned veggies are packed at the peak of their freshness, which helps preserve their nutrients. Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as healthful as fresh - as long as you make sure they don't have added sugar or sodium. Increasing your veggie and fruit intake can help you succeed at losing weight, thanks to their higher fiber content and lower calorie count.
Myth: You can't eat out when you are trying to lose weight.
Restaurant portions in America are notoriously over the top, and many dishes are high in fat, calories, sugar or sodium. Even salads, which might seem healthy, can be loaded with calories at a restaurant, thanks to add-ins like bacon bits, cheese and high-calorie dressings.
Tip: You can eat out and still chose foods that won't derail your weight loss efforts. Take note of how items are prepared - a good rule of thumb is to select dishes that are grilled, sauteed or broiled versus fried or stuffed.
Also, don't be afraid to request sauces and dressings on the side as this may help reduce your fat and calorie consumption. Many restaurants also now offer lighter options that feature the calorie and fat content. One way to avoid overeating is to request a to-go bag at the beginning of the meal versus the end to keep portion sizes in check.
You'll find more tips and support for your weight loss goals at www.weightwatchers.com.
Cheesy Sloppy Joes
Preparation time: Five minutes
Cooking time: Fifteen minutes
1/2 pound lean ground beef (7 percent fat or less)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (1.3- or 1.5-ounce) package sloppy joe seasoning mix
3 whole wheat hamburger buns
6 (3/4 ounce) slices fat free cheddar cheese
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, four to five minutes, stirring with a spoon to break it up. Discard any drippings.
Stir in the mixed vegetables, 1 1/3 cups of water, the tomato paste and seasoning mix, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring, until thickened - about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the buns cut side up on a broiler rack and broil 3 inches from the heat until toasted; about one to two minutes. Top each bun half with one slice of cheese and broil until cheese is melted, about one minute longer. Spoon 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on top of each bun and serve.
Contains 207 calories, 4g fat and 26g carbohydrates per serving.
Preparation time: Fifteen minutes
Cooking time: Twenty minutes
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 (16-ounce) cans sliced pears in juice, drained, with 1/2 cup of the juice reserved
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package cinnamon and spice instant oatmeal mix
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix 1 tablespoon of the flour, 4 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the ginger in an 8-inch square baking dish. Add the pears and the reserved pear juice, stirring until blended. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, then prick a few holes in the plastic. Microwave on high until the filling begins to bubble, four to five minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, combine the butter and the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in a bowl. Add the oatmeal mix and the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the filling. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Contains 225 calories per 1/2-cup serving, 4g fat and 46g carbohydrates.