Read any article on healthy eating and weight loss, and invariably you have to eat one food group in larger quantities (protein), restrict a food group (carbs), or totally remove a food group (dairy) from your diet. Every year a new, “proven” eating style makes many promises about weight loss, longevity, and overall health. The truth is, diets and eating styles are not a “one-size-fits-all” affair.
Each of you has an individual and unique genetic make-up that has a major impact on metabolism and what is healthiest for your system. Throw in a food intolerance or a food allergy, and you have added hurdles to maneuver. There are many factors to consider when choosing a healthy diet plan; but, most of all, there are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes a healthy diet. Dispelling these ideas is important before you embark on any change to your diet. Below are just a few misconceptions to consider.
Healthy Eating Means Giving up the Foods You Love
This factor is the hardest to accept when you move into a healthier eating style. Does eating healthy mean avoiding any foods that are considered “sweet” or “fattening?” Absolutely not. Cheat “days” or cheat “meals” can be an important way to stay on track.
By allowing yourself a planned day to cheat or eat a food that’s off-limits most of the time, you are rewarding yourself for all the hard work you’ve done and giving yourself permission to enjoy something that has traditionally been a part of your diet. Earning that planned special treat can serve as a motivator as well. A cheat can be chocolate candy, French fries, or a glass of your favorite wine. Chances are you may not even want to indulge on the day you planned the cheat, but the simple act of giving yourself permission is positive enough in itself.
Eating Healthy Means Severely Restricting Calories
A recent article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association states that you will lose weight and be healthier with a diet of quality versus quantity. If you engage in a low-sugar, whole-food style diet, you will lose weight in equal measures whether the diet is low-fat or low-carbohydrate. Simply reducing calories is not the answer. Choosing healthy, whole foods while cutting back on sugar and processed foods produces similar results. In this study, no calorie reduction was required, and each group experienced similar weight loss.
Juicing Serves as a Meal Replacement
Although juicing is a fantastic way to get those much needed fruits and vegetables into the daily food regimen, it can backfire on you when it comes to weight loss and overall nutrition. Using a juicer removes essential fiber that whole fruits and vegetables provide. Unless you add pulp back into what you juice, a vital source of fiber is removed.
Additionally, many fruits are full of sugar. Although it is natural sugar, it is still an important factor to consider if weight loss is your goal. Sugar begets sugar, which means sugar creates the need for more sugar. Lastly, a juice-only diet may leave you feeling hungry. Without fiber and protein to help you feel full, you may be tempted to reach for less healthy options.
Cutting out Entire Food Groups Is Necessary
Eating healthy does not equal removing entire food groups from your diet, like all dairy or all carbohydrates. Unless you have some sort of dietary restriction, the complete removal of a food group or macronutrient is not a healthy long-term decision. Invariably, you will add those foods back into your diet. Everything in moderation is generally the best course of action.
Fasting Is a Bad Thing
Intermittent fasting has gained recent notoriety as part of a healthy-eating lifestyle. Fasting is more of an eating pattern than a diet, but proponents of fasting state that it helps to regulate blood sugar and can help with weight loss as well. One nice aspect of the program is that it creates a routine that is easy to follow. For those of you who do better knowing how much to eat each day and when to fast, it can be a new twist to add to an already-healthy eating lifestyle. It’s best to go slow and make gradual changes with this pattern.
Healthy eating is something that is done everyday. Although it requires some planning, eating healthy should be considered a form of self-care. One body is all you get, so make the most of proper nutrition and fuel for living your best life!