If you listened to all the advice there is out there about nutrition, you’d probably be convinced that water and air are just about the only things that are actually healthy. But, it’s not meant to be that hard! Whether you think that you currently eat well or are looking to make some dietary changes, here are two nutrition myths everyone needs busted!
Nutrition Myth 1: Dieting is How You Lose Weight
Going on a ‘diet’ requires you to eat certain foods and avoid others. How does having a list of ‘yes I can eat’ and ‘no I can’t eat’ foods make you feel? Restricted? Deprived? Like you’re missing out on the good life?
Dieting makes people sad and if you do diet, it’s only so long before you’ll want to eat foods that make you happy again. When you ‘can’t eat’ doughnuts, chips, chocolate, muffins, pizza and burgers, it’s going to be these comfort foods you reach for, not a fresh mango that could normally make you feel like you’re eating sunshine. Not only is this restrictive behavior bad for your mental health, the cycle of low calories and binging could actually stop you from losing weight altogether.
Another problem with dieting is that it encourages you to continually keep cutting those calories. But, calories aren’t evil! Your body needs enough of them to survive AND to lose weight effectively. If you’re starving and not getting closer to your goals, nobody’s winning.
So, instead of dieting to lose weight, focus on making healthy lifestyle changes. This could include eating more vitamin-rich vegetables or including healthy fats such as salmon and avocado. Focusing on fueling your body with beneficial foods creates a positive mindset that’s sustainable and will help you to reach those goals in the long run. And, once you do reach them, you’ll be much less likely to revert to your old habits and start piling on the weight again!
Nutrition Myth 2: Carbs Make You Fat
Just like calories aren’t evil, neither are carbs! In fact, they’re one of the three macro-nutrients your body needs to function properly every single day. However, carbs have become the thing that’s blamed for almost everything bad under the sun including obesity, heart disease and maybe even your partner cheating on you too…
To get real again, if weight loss is your goal, carbs alone won’t make you fat! It’s eating too many calories from any source that will cause your body to store the excess energy as fat.
When people do lose weight on a low-carb diet it’s usually for one of two reasons. Firstly, reducing carbs has cut their overall calories or they’ve lost some water that’s naturally retained by eating carbs. The latter is what bodybuilders do to peak for a competition but it’s not real, sustainable weight loss.
Although it’s not really focused on at the moment, low carbohydrate diets have also been shown to decrease physical performance. So, being low on energy from skipping that sweet potato probably just stops you from being able to push as hard in the gym so you burn fewer calories and don’t gain the same fitness or strength.
So, what does work for weight loss if cutting carbs isn’t going to cut it?
It all comes back to taking a balanced approach. Eat some carbs, protein, fats and lots of fresh vegetables. This will give your body all it needs to function at its best. Yes, it’s good to leave the sugary treats for a special occasion. But don’t short change the weight loss process by deciding that you can’t have a bit of potato!