Eating Salad Everyday and Still Not Losing Weight - What Gives?

A lot of times we associate the word “salad” with healthy and weight loss, but is it really? That completely depends on what all you put in your salad and what type and how much dressing you use.

Let’s start with the basics: what type of lettuce are you using? In general, iceberg lettuce is the least healthy. It contains a very minimal amount of vitamins and fiber yielding very little nutritional support. Oppositely, better options for lettuce or greens would be spinach, romaine, or kale which all contain higher fiber and nutrients than iceberg lettuce.

Secondly, what veggies are you adding to it? Usually vegetables are relatively safe to pile onto a salad. Red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions are all fair game. It’s usually the peas or the corn that you want to keep more moderated as those tend to be starchier carbs.

Are you adding protein to it? Chicken, salmon, shrimp, turkey, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein that are great to add to a salad; of course we would prefer the meat to be grilled though versus fried. Adding protein to your salad is vital because that is what’s going to fuel your body, give you more energy, and help you stay fuller for longer.

What type of dressing are you using and how much? Of course we all know that although ranch dressing is a favorite to most, it is one of the unhealthiest dressings you can use because of the high fat content. Others that would fall into this same category include:  creamy caesar, creamy italian, and bleu cheese. Usually if it’s creamy, it’s a no-go. From a high sugar standpoint, fat-free honey dijon is one that you would want to steer away from also.

So what about this controversy of using low-fat versus fat-free salad dressing? Research has demonstrated that your body needs some fat ailment in order to properly absorb some of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the salad. Furthermore, fat-free salad dressings are typically higher in sodium which can cause fluid retention and an increase in blood pressure over time. So possibly skip the fat-free, and just go with a low-fat or light dressing choice.

So what are some of the healthier dressings that won’t hinder my weight loss plan? Wish-Bone Salad Spritzer in Italian Vinaigrette, Wish-Bone Light Italian, Annie's Balsamic Vinaigrette, Newman's Own Low-Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, or you could go with squeezing a lemon or lime over top your salad. Of course from the lemon or lime you will not get that needed fat content, so I would encourage to include a source of healthy fat into your salad so that your body can properly absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the salad. And remember too, it’s not just about what type of dressing you use, but it’s important to keep to the recommended serving size as well. For this reason, always ask for your dressing on the side when ordering a salad out.

Other things to keep an eye out for or to keep in moderation on your salad include cheese, croutons, bacon bits, wantons, glazed nuts, and craisins.

On a final note, don’t eat salad every day. For most of us that would get boring real quick, but additionally, your body actually functions best when you give it various forms of nutrition versus having the same meal every single day.

Take home points: Choose dark leafy greens for the base (not iceberg lettuce), pile on a rainbow of vegetables, add lean protein, and choose a small amount of a light or low-fat dressing on the side.


7 Quick & Effective Weight Loss Tips

Welcome to the New Vision Weight Loss Clinic Blog - your locally owned and operated weight loss, weight management, and wellness center right here in Knoxville, Tn!

As we live in a world of instant gratification, we find ourselves wanting the excess pounds to just instantaneously disappear. While although that sounds awesome, we all know weight loss is not that simple, nor does it work that quick. However, there are some ways to get the weight off quicker and more efficiently that are realistic. That's the key word - realistic.

1. Set small, realistic goals for yourself. Each time I consult with a patient, we develop at least 2 goals. One is short term, maybe 5-12 lbs away, and the second one is our ultimate goal - where we hope to be eventually. Setting that long term goal is great, but can feel overwhelming and forever away on day one. By setting small and incremental goals, this allows us to work in small steps and begin laying the foundation for our healthier patterns. When we reach that first small goal, we rejoice and experience a sense of achievement which encourages us to keep working and moving forward. We then set another small goal. Eventually, all these "small" goals add up.

2. Develop a plan for how you are going to reach your goals. You have probably heard of the "Five P's" before... Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Take a few minutes to decide how you are going to start implementing healthier changes in your daily routine. Choose which days you are going to fit exercise in, which day you are going to grocery shop, and which day you are going to meal prep - then stick to that schedule.

3. Make water your best friend. Did you know that the average individual is comprised of 55-65% water? Crazy huh? And do you know what happens when you don't drink enough water? It can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased kidney stones, constipation and GI issues, and a decrease in cognitive function, just to name a few. Water and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Water actually helps the body burn more calories and has been shown to help reduce appetite. Plus it's 100% calorie and sugar-free! The average amount an adult should drink in a day is at least 64 oz.

4. Eat smaller but more frequent portions. Usually I recommend between 5-6 small portions daily. By doing this, it helps us in a few ways. For starters, it has been proven to help keep the metabolism boosted more consistently, so that the body can burn more consistent calories. It's also been proven that it helps to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels, which can help reduce irritability and fatigue. And lastly, it also helps us to not overindulge as much at "main meal time" because we have had multiple small things throughout the entire day. Protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats are great things to incorporate.

5. Be more conscious of what you're eating. Sometimes it can become necessary to count macronutrients such as calories or carbohydrates, but typically, I don't recommend this in the beginning.  Initially, I merely recommend being more conscious of what types of foods you are consuming a lot of and which ones you're possibly not consuming enough of. The body needs a certain amount of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, and sugars to function properly, however, we obviously want the healthier things to outweigh the starchy carbs and sugars by quite a bit.

6. Get moving! We all know the basic equation of weight loss: eat less + move more = weight loss. One of the most common excuses for not exercising that I hear is lack of a gym membership. Guess what? The gym is great but you don't have to have a membership to one to exercise and be active! Actually, walking is one of the best forms of cardio-specific activity that there is, and of course that doesn't require a gym at all. There are also various workout videos you can access for free online, and those are tools that you can use from home, many without any gym equipment or weights at all! Of course exercise is good for helping us lose weight, but it also serves many other important purposes, such as helping to keep our heart healthy and strong. Ultimately the American Heart Association recommends exercise 4-5 days a week for about 30 minutes at a time, so this is a great fitness goal to work up to.

7. Consistent sleep is important! This is probably one area I see individuals struggle with the most. A lot of times work schedules or shifts, school schedules for the kiddos, working multiple jobs, and various other things can pose as obstacles to getting consistent sleep each night. I understand, so I just encourage you to do the best you can with this one. When we sleep, there are certain hormones in our bodies that decrease and some that rise. If our sleep patterns aren't consistent or long enough, it inhibits these hormones to balance out as they should -- which can not only inhibit weight loss, but ultimately cause weight gain.

These 7 tips are just a few of the weight loss recommendations we give here at New Vision Weight Loss Clinic. Stay tuned for more health, fitness, and weight loss tips coming soon!