Superbowl Sunday is over, which means everyone is back to their diet. Me included :-)
We all hear tips on how to diet...drink more water, cut out sugar, stop eating all your kiddos double stuff oreos - wait. Maybe the last one is just for me. But do we ever question or wonder if the tips we're getting are good or bad? Beachbody shared diet tips to ignore and I knew if I found them interesting, someone else would too!
- Hype - choose fat-free / sugar-free foods
Instead of shopping for foods that are "free" from fat or sugar, try shopping for unprocessed foods. Make sure to watch your portion sizes and read the label to really understand what you're getting. While it may be fat or sugar free, the sodium could be through the roof (v. the original) and you could be cheating yourself that way.
- Hype - cease eating all carbs, fats, gluten, etc. to drop those lbs.
We've no doubt all heard of a friend of a friend of a friend who stopped eating all carbs and lost a boatload of weight. However, do we ever wonder what happened after this friend of a friend of a friend stopped dieting? Chances are once carbs started to be consumed, the total weight loss didn't last. If you're just cutting food out to lose weight, and not really learning about how to supplement those nutrients or change your lifestyle, you'll see the same thing. The key to long-term weight loss is tailoring plans to your personal preferences.
- Hype - cheat meals are a no-no
Instead of being incredibly rigid in your diet plan, try the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time focus on eating healthy and giving your body the good food it needs. 20% of the time, let loose and enjoy that piece of cake. This removes the stress if you have a slip-up and you can kick guilt to the curb.
- Hype - no snacking
The word "snack" does not mean chips, chocolate, and sweets. Try stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks in single serve portions to help keep you on track! What snacks are healthy? Think apples with peanut butter, hummus and vegetables, or smoothies with Shakelology. If you need another reason, remember that a healthy snack will help you maintain steady blood sugar levels which will in turn keep your appetite at bay and energy stable. Win. Win. Win.
- Hype - eat 6-8 smaller meals a day; don't eat after 8 PM
I've heard this MANY times. But think about this. If you're following a diet plan that has strict times you should eat, what happens when that time hits and you aren't hungry...or what happens when it's between those smaller meals and you're starvin' Marvin? Take time to learn your body's hunger cues so you know when you are legit hungry and when your body is just bored.
I tend to follow the second part of this hype and try not to eat after 7 PM. I just don't have time before bed to try and burn off many calories and don't need a sandwich sitting in my belly while I'm sleeping. What is ok, though, is a healthy snack (see previous hype). By keeping healthy, portioned out snacks on hand you're set when hunger strikes. Not sure what to snack on before bedtime? Think mixed nuts or a small batch of popcorn.
- Hype - fruit is full of sugar
Truth is, yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs. BUT it's also packed with vitamins, minerals, and rich in fiber. The good outweighs the bad here. We can all agree there's a difference between adding a banana to your snack list and 2 chocolate chip cookies, right?
- Hype - if it's organic, it must be good for you
Organic food is produced without antibiotics, grown hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients according to the USDA. However, many people assume organic food is low cal as well, which isn't always the case. Better to be safe and read the label so you know what you're eating.
- Hype - a calorie is a calorie is a calorie
Yes, a 100 calorie candy bar and a 100 calorie veggie snack has the same calories, BUT it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which one is better for you. The vegetables are going to be packed with nutrients, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you full...I'm guessing the candy bar doesn't have these same qualities. To put into another perspective, 50 calories of spinach is about 7 cups...50 calories of ice cream is about 2 Tbsp.
If you're having trouble feeling full while trying to cut calories, try foods rich in fiber (vegetables) and broth based soups.
- Hype - Paleo, gluten-free, Atkins, cabbage soup, etc. diet
I'm not here to slam any diet plan out there - and there are many. The idea is to find a plan that works for you and includes looking at your age, gender, lifestyle, metabolism, etc. as these can all play a role in your weight loss journey. Just because a Paleo diet worked for your colleague, doesn't mean it will work for you. If you're struggling on what diet plan will work best for you, talk to a registered dietician.
- Hype - always get the salad
We all know the scenario. You're out with friends for lunch and you get the trifold menu that's about 2 feet tall. The burgers look good, but you're in the mood for chicken more. The chicken with cheese sambo looks delish, but you're trying to cut back. Hey, there are the salads! I'll just get one of those and call it good.
Yes, you made a good decision to check out the salad options, but be careful. You can have a beautiful bowl of leafy greens and vegetables, but once they're dredged in creamy dressing, topped with back, croutons, fried chicken, and cheese you just added lots of calories to your meal (and in some instances, can have more total calories than the burger or chicken!) Don't fret about being selective and asking for no cheese or croutons with dressing on the side.
- Hype - exercising will only make you hungrier so why do it
Moving every day will enhance your health and is so important to do! Exercise isn't just about losing weight, it also helps to strengthen your bones and joints among a wide range of added benefits. You may feel hungrier while recovering from an intense workout, but don't over-stress about it, just make sure you're eating clean to fuel those workouts.
- Hype - rewards = junk food and other treats
I'm totally guilty of this. I'll get a good, hard workout in and then treat myself to a few Oreo's (seriously...I need to ban these from our house). However, did you know that the splurging can undo all the hard work you just did? Once I started thinking why am I working so hard only to reverse all that sweat equity - it changed everything. To help me stay on track, I make sure I've got a yummy protein shake or know what I'm going to refuel with before working out so it's ready to go. No need to stare off into the abyss and stuff my face with not so healthy options.
In the end, there's no perfect, one size fits all exercise and diet routine that will work for everyone. We're all different and need different things when changing our lifestyle, especially what we eat. You want a program that's going to truly help you improve your eating habits and that you can stick to for the long haul (not just 30, 60, 90 days). I love this advice. Try picturing your life 3 months, then 6 months, than one year from now. What do you see? Do you see a healthier version of you? If you do, and you truly, 100%, without a doubt believe you'll be able to continue following your program (including through holiday's, vacations, birthdays, special occasions) for that long and beyond, you've found a winner! If not, keep looking or ask for help! There's no shame in having someone help you become the best you possible :-)