We are constantly bombarded with weight loss solutions on social media, from diets and skinny teas to workout gadgets and gear. With pool parties and lake day season officially upon us, you may feel the pressure to jump on the “rapid weight loss” trends that are constantly being shoved in our faces. Like anything in life, losing weight the right way doesn’t happen with a magic, celebrity endorsed pill, nor will you see a transformation from a week of dieting. Our registered dietitian gave us the dos and don’ts of these popular summer diets.
When done correctly, low carbohydrate diets may be the key to getting rid of those last few stubborn lbs. On the flip side, using a low carb diet as an excuse to slash calories will only cause your body to suffer further down the road. Dropping carbohydrate intake below 130g/day (about 500 calories coming from carbs) can be a drastic stressor on your body, even more so when you’re not increasing fat or protein to make up for those lost calories.
Many people notice rapid weight loss initially with low carb diets, but most of this is due to the loss of water. The word “carbohydrate” comes from “carbon,” “oxygen” and “hydrogen” – meaning when you store this energy in muscle (glycogen), water is stored along with it. When you cut out carbs, you’re also cutting out the water stored in muscles, leading to a smaller number on the scale.
“Low carb” means something totally different to each individual. Someone typically consuming a SAD (Standard American Diet) may be eating upwards of 300g of carbohydrates, likely highly refined and processed – meaning little to no nutrients or fiber. Taking them to a “low carb” diet may mean introducing more nutrient dense carbohydrates at about 200g per day.
Intermittent fasting (IF), a trend gaining major popularity in the health & fitness community, is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Fasting can be pretty simple – stop eating after 8pm and hold off on eating breakfast until 8am the next morning and there’s your 12 hour fast. The duration and frequency of a fast will vary from 8-36 or 48 hours once or twice per week.
Our R.D. breaks it down like this; When you fast correctly and consistently, human growth hormone (the hormone responsible for rebuilding muscle) levels go up, while insulin levels go down. Your body’s cells also change structure and promote cellular repair. As far as weight loss goes, reducing your calorie intake over an extended period of time will help to burn more fat and lose inches around your midsection. Make sure you don’t overcompensate by eating larger meals on the days before and after the fast.
Intermittent fasting works better for some than others and women should use more caution than men. If you already have low body weight, take medications, have a history of eating disorders, or are pregnant you should consult with your doctor before starting a fast.
Stomach wraps (waist trainers)
If you’re a KUWTK fan, the craze of “waist trainers” is nothing new. If Kim K uses them it has to work, right? Depending on the wrap you choose, some claim they work through botanical compounds to melt away fat, while others work to raise core temperature, promoting water (and “weight”) loss. The tried and true way of sustainably toning up your midsection is a combination of a healthy diet and effective exercise. Instead of wrapping yourself in $10, invest that money into buying quality fruits, vegetables and good sources of protein.