The myth of “Move More” for successful weight loss without calorie restriction is addressed in this excellent article. This simple explanation seems paltry compared to the complexities of weight loss from both internal and external factors like hormones and the food environment, respectively.
In my opinion, we seem to ignore our habit of snacking in this country (USA) and from the looks of the snack aisles in the supermarket, it becomes obvious. Do we include that bag of chips when we try to keep a food diary? – maybe no. We have chips, cookies, snack bars, energy bars, crackers, etc., most with added sugar. Some are made for portability (small packages) so we can take them wherever we go. Snacking leads to mindless eating habits and calories add up.
Again, we turn to the French population who traditionally did not snack or diet. They have enjoyed one of the lower obesity rates in the world although that is changing due to infiltration of Western foods. Isn’t there a message there?
Some of the traditions they practice include:
- They do not formally diet – if they eat too much one day, they eat less or skip a meal the next day.
- Meals are generally light and portions are small.
- Although they are known for eating rich foods like pastries and cheeses, they enjoy these foods occasionally, maybe once in two weeks. Emphassis is placed on quality, not quantity.
- They prefer the real stuff – butter and sugar in small amounts, of course. Artificial sweeteners are not widely used.
- They prefer walking to workouts for their exercise needs.