The Truth and Lies about Dieting
isAs someone who suffered with an eating disorder into my early 20s, I can still find myself having mental battles of eating certain foods. Sometimes only occasionally but sometimes on a daily basis. It can be draining and even as someone who works in this profession and trains on a daily basis it can still take over my brain. It also makes it so hard to watch people, especially women put themselves through crazy diets, starving themselves and becoming taken over by what they eat, as I can fully understand how they are feeling. Yet on the other hand as a fitness professional I know what they are doing is just crazy and is not solving their weight problem. It is in fact making it more likely they will put on even more weight in the long run.
Before you look at starting any ‘diet‘ (a word which should only be used with ‘Healthy’ written in front of it). Have a look through these 7 diet MYTHS and ask yourself is it really going to help you lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off.
MYTH 1: A diet is only for a little while.
The first and largest mistake people make. By telling yourself that you only have to change eating habits for a small amount of time (until you see the results you want) you don’t put the time or effort into finding long-term solutions and substitutions for old habits. The truth is that changing your diet and lifestyle is a long-term change if you want the results to last long term.
MYTH 2: Eating less Calories means quicker weight loss.
So, if eating 400 Cals less a day helps me lose weight then doubling that to 800 less means I will lose weight quicker. Right?
The body needs a minimum of about 1,200 calories per day just to function properly.
If the body senses inadequate calories to support daily function it will switch into survival mode. One of its first acts of protection? Slow down the metabolism to burn through less calories.
MYTH 3: I should avoid all Carbs!
There are so many diet fads today that advocate cutting out all of forms of carbohydrates. The plain fact is though that carbs are a massive food group that your body requires to have the energy supply to function at its best. They also contain many other nutrients we need that cannot be easily found in other foods.
It is unrealistic to think that you can cut out carbs long-term thus just another quick fix.
MYTH 4: Avoid all fat! (at this rate there will nothing left to eat but air!)
Don’t get me wrong, reducing your intake of unhealthy saturated and trans fats is enormously beneficial. However, classifying all fats into one category is not only unrealistic but also unhealthy. Again, your body needs certain types of fats, omegas etc to function properly. If you aren’t supplying your body with the correct fuel it will not burn those calories to its max potential.
Beware foods marked “low-fat,” because food manufacturers also replace lost fats with sugar, salt, or other additives to help improve flavour, taste, and texture.
MYTH 5: Thinner is better.
If only I had the chance to talk to my teenage self and tell her what a load of BS this is! Women and young girls today are subjected to image after image, social media post after post of the ‘perfect’ body. The fact of the matter and the 100% truth is that just because you are ‘skinny’ and have a thigh gap doesn’t mean you are healthy. Body composition (lean versus fat mass) is a far better indicator of health than thinness. Your daily eating habits predict your overall health, not just the number on the scale.
MYTH 6: Detox your body at least once a month.
*News Flash* …. Your body detoxes 24/7 without you even thinking about it. The truth is, our bodies have a liver designed to rid the body of toxins. An overall nutritious diet doesn’t require any cleanses at all.
Detoxing or cleansing are words often used to describe periods of time (usually one to three days) in which an individual abstains from certain foods and beverages in an effort to rid the body of toxins. Detox diets are often costly, challenging to maintain, and can have side effects of weakness, irritability, and fatigue.
More concerning: Going about a detox or cleanse may result in an eating disorder. For example, people often view cleanses and detoxes as opportunities to binge or eat unhealthy in the days prior. They see a detox as a “reset” for bad behaviour.
MYTH 7: You will gain weight if you eat after 6pm.
‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper.’ Have you ever heard this saying?
It doesn’t matter what time you’re eating as much as what you are eating. This is more about portion control and how you’re burning calories. It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat as long as you are eating a balanced diet, consuming foods in moderation and burning off more calories than you consume.
The best way to stay healthy both physically and mentally is to have a varied, balance diet. Allow yourself treats and keep your fitness levels up. If you want to lose weight it is as simple as calories in V calories out.