Why We’re Fat (& How to Get Skinny!)

There's no denying it: We're fat. In fact, according to research by the National Center for Health Statistics in the US and Statistics Canada, a staggering two-thirds of North Americans are considered overweight or obese. How did this happen? Nutritionist Theresa Albert gives us the skinny on why we can't seem to trim the fat and how we can tip the scales back in our favour.

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1. We undervalue food.

North Americans too often value convenience over quality. European cultures that sit down to meals, eat high-quality, whole foods and dine in are typically thinner.

Skinny solutions:

  • Eat for pleasure not just satiety.
  • Sit down to eat; never eat in your car, at your desk or on the couch.
  • Eat mindfully: Taste and savour each bite.

2. We claim to have no time.

North Americans love to use their busy schedules as an excuse for not eating properly, but research shows that the average North American spends 35 hours a week watching television.

Skinny solutions:

  • Schedule two hours per week for food prep.
  • Chop, peel and portion fruits and veggies so you'll always have a healthy snack at the ready.
  • Cook as much in advance as possible: Roast a whole chicken on Sunday and use it in meals throughout the week; boil eggs for breakfast; make a huge salad and portion it out for lunches.

3. We drink our calories.

Those fancy coffees, sodas, cocktails and juices all add up to a lot of empty calories. And your brain doesn't register liquid calories in the same way it does solid, so these drinks won't leave you feeling full despite their high calorie counts.

Skinny solutions:

  • Don't drink your calories until you've reached your weight-loss goal.
  • Water, green tea and black coffee are good choices.
  • Beware cream and sugar, which tip the scale quickly.
  • Even pure fruit juices are dangerous as they contain a ton of sugar and little to no fibre.

4. We eat out too much.

Believe it or not, 37% of our food dollars are spent eating at restaurants or fast-food joints, where portions can be up to eight times larger than a proper serving. Worse yet, it's almost impossible to control sodium, sugar and fat intake when eating out.

Skinny solutions:

  • Spoil your dinner on purpose and eat something before you go out: Grab a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.
  • Split your main or order from the kids' menu.
  • Ask your server to put half your meal in a doggie bag before he/she brings it to the table.
  • Just say no to the bread basket. (After all, you don't usually have one at home, do you?)
  • You don't need an app and a dessert; have one or the other.

5. We skip meals.

There's a reason people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day: Skipping breakfast actually prevents you from producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat. It can also lead to snacking and bingeing later in the day, which sabotage weight-loss efforts.

Skinny solutions:

  • Remember: Hunger is the enemy of weight loss. You should eat consistently throughout the day so you are never hungry.
  • Eating within an hour of waking stabilizes your blood sugar and provides the body with fuel to start the day.
  • Consuming foods that are high in fibre will help you feel fuller, longer.

6. We eat too much!

It's no secret that North Americans comsume more food today than they did a few decades ago. In fact, between 1971 and 2000, North American women increased their daily caloric intake by a whopping 22%!

  • Eat more vegetables. As many as you like.
  • Monitor your daily intake of the remaining food groups. Use Theresa's weight-loss plan as your guide and watch as the pounds melt away!

 

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