Five Reasons You're Still Fat

Five weighty mistakes that many people make -- and advice for shedding pounds.

ByABC News
April 14, 2008, 12:41 PM

April 15, 2008— -- Still struggling to lose weight? Here are five mistakes that many people make -- and advice to help you shed pounds. Also, Click here for a calorie counter, which will tell you how much you burn when you exercise.

Sometimes the government goofs. In the late 1970s, the United States began advocating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. In the early 1970s, the average daily energy intake was 2,450 calories. By the year 2000, that number had risen to 2,618. Almost all of those extra calories came from carbohydrates, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Do this: Eat fewer carbs. People are overeating carbohydrates, not protein and fat. So if you want to lose fat, start by cutting back on carbs. After all, ask just about any nutritionist what the main purpose of carbohydrates is and they'll say "energy." Trouble is, most people are consuming more energy than they can burn.

Imagine that the carbs you eat go into a bucket. When the bucket is full, the carbs overflow and are converted to fat. This is how it works in your body. But by eating lower carbs most of the time, your bucket is always about half full -- even if you're not as active as you'd like to be.

This not only keeps your body burning fat, but when you do eat lots of carbs -- as long as you consume them when your bucket isn't full -- they don't end up on your hips or belly.

Bonus tip: The best time to eat a high-carb meal -- even if it's high in sugar -- is right after a workout. After all, your "carb bucket" is lower than ever, since you've just burned up a bunch of calories with exercise.

Warning: Low-fat foods may make you fat. Cornell University researchers reported that when overweight men and women were told they were eating low-fat M&Ms, they consumed 47 percent more calories than those who were given regular M&Ms (the M&Ms were actually all the same). On average, low-fat foods contain 59 percent less fat, but only 15 percent fewer calories than full-fat products.

Do this: Go ahead and eat full-fat foods -- for instance, cheese, sour cream, nuts and even a nice, marbled steak. They have slightly more calories than their lower-fat counterparts, but they'll help you feel full longer after you eat. And that'll reduce the number of calories you eat at your next meal.


Related links:

Do this: Eat your first meal within 90 minutes of waking. The UMass scientists determined that people who waited longer increased the likelihood that they'd become heavyweights by 147 percent; those that didn't eat breakfast within three hours of waking elevated their risk by 173 percent.

Bonus Tip: As soon as you wake up, consume 16 ounces of chilled water. German scientists recently found that this strategy boosted metabolism for about 90 minutes afterward (a smaller amount of water had no effect).

Related links: