The article describes a study whereby 600 participants "cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods," such as, "brown rice, barley, steel-cut oats, lentils, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, quinoa, fresh fruits, legumes...olive oil, salmon, avocados, hard cheeses, vegetables, nut butters, nuts and seeds, and grass-fed and pasture-raised animal foods." Participants were not told not to worry about counting calories, limiting portions or increasing their exercise levels "beyond federal guidelines for physical activity."
And--wouldn't you know--over a year most participants lost weight and "saw improvements in other health markers, like reductions in their waist sizes, body fat, and blood sugar and blood pressure levels."
"The research lends strong support to the notion that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run. It also suggests that health authorities should shift away from telling the public to obsess over calories and instead encourage (people) to avoid processed foods that are made with refined starches and added sugar."
Wait a minute--that's what I do...
If you follow me on social media or have been around me during meal times, you'll know that the majority of what I eat can be described as what is described above (with the recent exception of excluding animal products). I eat better now (and even more so in the past five years) than I have my entire life. Yet every single day I struggle with keeping my weight in check. I've spent countless amounts of time focusing on what I eat and how it will affect my body. I count and track calories, points, nutrients, pounds, activities, steps. And please don't tell me to stop because I know if I don't, I gain. Do I eat things that would be discouraged in this article? Absolutely. Do I eat them often? No. Those items represent perhaps 5-10% of my overall diet. I often joke that my biggest food 'sin' is my definition of a tablespoon of unsweetened all natural peanut butter.
I guess the reason for writing this my annoyance in hearing about the weight loss success of others making the same change to their lifestyle that I've followed for years. It makes me want to say, "Hey! That's not fair, that's what I do every day!" I know that overall I am very healthy--and for that I am incredibly thankful and proud. It is purely the weight maintenance struggle part of the equation that is incredibly frustrating. I guess I always think that it should be easier.
Will I change what I eat after reading about this study? You'd probably expect me to say no, but in fact I probably will, as I am always trying to make improvements. Slight tweaks here and there.
Back to my kale salad...