From magazines to celebrity interviews to the news, diet myths and fads pop up daily. “Drink this, cut out that, don’t eat after 6pm, put butter in your coffee, etc.” fills the headlines on a daily basis. These myths confuse people into thinking that losing weight/body fat is about doing one thing. Nothing could be further from the truth! Some crazy cleanse or diet cannot help you maintain a healthy weight, feel good and have energy long term. It’s just not possible. So to prep for your bikini-wearing summer, ditch these 5 diet myths and see the success you will have:
- Juicing is the answer: Juicing is a craze promoting fruit and vegetable intake. Sounds good right? The challenge is that many “natural” juices have 60+ grams of sugar in them! Though they are full of vitamins and minerals, juices can add up to lots of calories over the course of the day, especially if consumed WITH a meal. If you want to get in more fruits and veggies, create a juice that is primarily vegetable-based with one-two servings fruit to keep the nutrients high and the calories low.
- Cleanse to get healthier: Magazines will teach you that your body needs to be “cleansed” with some fancy lemon juice or starvation of whole food. The truth is that your kidneys and liver are designed to cleanse your body and quite frankly, they do a darn good job of it. Yes you might lose weight in the first few days, but it is typically due to the lack of calories and water loss versus actual long-term fat loss. If you really want to cleanse, try a week of whole foods only like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, oats, sweet potatoes, avocado, etc. plus plenty of water. Then you can revert to a normal plan to help you with your weight/body fat goals. Restrictive diets and cleanses are too low in protein and can result in muscle loss if followed for long bouts of time.
- Eat a light breakfast: There is an old rule that says it breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. So basically eat breakfast like you’re rich and dinner like you’re poor. The more you eat earlier in the day, the less hungry you are likely to be later in the day and at night. So fill up your breakfast with whole grain carbs, lean protein and healthy fat early in the day so you aren’t tempted to eat more late at night.
- Cut out carbs: The reality is without carbohydrates your energy will be low and you will likely be cranky. No one wins without carbs! However, choosing more whole food, high-fiber carbs like oats, sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, etc. earlier in the day will ideally help you not crave sugar at night. When you skip carbs during the day, your body tries to regulate things at night leaving you looking for cookies or ice cream. The goal is to eat more carbs when you are up working, moving and exercising throughout the day versus filling up on them sitting in your chair at night.
- Fat is bad for you: Fat is not bad for you! Now loading up on pizza and pastries is not a good plan, but garnishing your meals with healthy fat like nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocado, hummus and the like will help you feel more satisfied after meals. However, note that fat does yield more calories per gram than carbs and protein do (9 calories per gram versus 4) so sprinkle it in throughout the day.