Are There Really Any Weight Loss Secrets?
No, not really. Every weight loss expert has one or a few pieces of advice that are incorrectly referred to as secrets, though. Most of them are offered in isolation, as if one or even a handful of strategies might be useful without considering other key factors.
It is no surprise that you get advice about exercise from fitness trainers, advice about supplements from supplement manufacturers, advice about nutrition from nutritionists, and advice about drugs from drug companies and medical doctors. Who has the best advice?
One way to evaluate weight loss tips is to see who uses them and where. A recent article in Readers Digest listed 19 such tips from around the world. The short version of that list is:
Serve a side of rice and beans (Brazil)
Fast once in awhile (Indonesia)
Eat at home more often (Poland)
Eat your breakfast (Germany)
Drive less, ride a bike more often (Netherlands)
Eat muesli (Switzerland)
Grow your own garden (Russia)
Use turmeric (Malaysia)
Drink rooibos tea (South Africa)
Eat pickles (Hungary)
Take a weekly family hike (Norway)
Do yoga (India)
Take a daily power nap (Japan)
Make lunch your biggest meal (Mexico)
Spice up your food (Thailand)
Back off of supersizing (United Kingdom)
Eat leisurely, with more conversation (France)
Take up Nordic walking (Finland)
Eat herring (Netherlands)
All of these strategies are beneficial in some way. It seems silly, however, to list any one strategy as representative of a particular country.
Best Weight Loss Solutions
As you can see, the list offers nothing new. No item is a secret. The main question, therefore, concerns which of these is the best for weight loss. My opinion is that, regardless of how well they work, the best ones are the ones that you will actually do. Making lunch your biggest meal may be too inconvenient. Taking up Nordic walking, even on a machine at the gym, may not be especially appealing. Spicing up meals may exceed your limit for foods that burn your palate. You may not even like pickles! Maybe you don't even eat where supersizing is an option, which is a good idea to begin with.
Weight Loss Tips Are Weak and Incomplete
Generally, national magazines offer weight loss advice that is superficial and weak. This list is no exception. Comprehensive advice that explains how to combine diet, exercise, supplements, lifestyle, hormone balance, and many other factors is much more valuable than any list.
The Most Important Components for All Weight Loss Programs
The subject of eating is, all by itself, comprised of multiple variables: what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. All of these probably have more impact on weight management than all of the items in the above list combined.
Exercise for fitness generally fails to address weight loss. Indeed, there is no general agreement on what fitness really is. For the purpose of weight loss, exercise must stop and reverse the loss of lean body mass (i.e., muscle mass) that accompanies aging after the age of 25.
Hormone imbalance, beginning with estrogen dominance (progesterone deficiency) and continuing to insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and low levels of testosterone and growth hormone, all of which are important in men and in women, is a key cause of weight gain.
The federal food pyramid is a big, bad joke for dieters. If you eat according to the recommendations of this pyramid, you will look like a pyramid.
Supplements can be very helpful. The best research shows how an ingredient in green tea, called EGCG, directs fat loss. Other top fat loss supplements include chromium, fish oil, and CLA.
These are just some of the more important factors that must be incorporated into a total weight loss program.
The Most Common Missing Weight Loss Secret
The list above comes close to the main missing ingredient in most weight loss programs, because it advocates daily naps. Stress and sleep deprivation are two of the most powerful causes of weight gain. Naps are certainly helpful. However, if the 90 percent or more of Americans who are sleep deprived would do what takes to get a full, restful night's sleep, the rate of obesity in the U.S. would slow down. Unrelieved stress acts like super-glue for hanging onto fat. Good sleep resets our ability to deal with daily stress. It even boosts nightly spikes in growth hormone levels, which has beneficial effects on fat metabolism and dozens of other aspects of human health.