There is plenty of advice out there on how to get healthy, but is that advice always the best advice? For example, there are a ton of “diets” you can follow to lose weight, from the popular don’t-eat-any-carbs-just-eat-bacon-fat Atkins Diet to the starve-yourself-for-a-week Cabbage Soup Diet. Sure, you’ll lose weight on both diets, but does that make them healthy?
Why don’t these fad diets work? Because they only focus on losing weight, not on adopting a healthy lifestyle. So what might work in the short term definitely won’t last in the long term. Here are some other supposedly “healthy” habits that may not be so healthy:
Overeating healthy foods: Even if you are only eating healthy food, you still need to watch your portion sizes. Yes, veggies and fruits are healthy, but eating a huge plate of them still counts towards your daily calories. Calories are calories, no matter how healthy you are eating. When maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you still need to consider your calorie consumption. Portion sizes are still important!
Falling for labels: Just because foods are labeled “fat-free” and “sugar-free” doesn’t mean they are healthier for you. Actually, they may make you gain weight! For example, people who consume diet pop have a higher risk of being overweight than people who don’t consume the diet drink. Why? Because people who consume “diet” foods/drinks tend to eat/drink more to make up for the lack of sugar and fat in those so called diet foods. So instead of drinking and eating those processed “diet” foods, always opt for whole foods instead. And please…STOP DRINKING POP. PERIOD.
Eating too little: Just like eating too much food, eating too little food can have the same effect. I know plenty of people who have put themselves on a “starvation” diet only to gain back all the weight they lost (and more!) Trust me, I used to be one of them. Your body needs healthy calories. Eating too little can slow down your metabolism and put your body into “starvation” mode! This means that it holds onto everything you put in it thinking that it needs to store the food. I recommend never eating less than 1,200 calories per day. Figure out how many calories your body needs to function throughout your day. There are some great online programs that can help you do this.
Snacking on “danger foods”: Danger foods are foods that may seem relatively healthy, but really aren’t that healthy. Foods like granola, fruit cups, flavored yogurt, bran muffins, etc appear to be the healthy choice, but often they can be loaded with added sugar and sodium that your body doesn’t need. Be sure to read the label and look for sugar, sodium, and other added ingredients.
Over-fueling post-workout: Have you ever said to yourself, “I can eat that extra amount of cereal because I worked out today!”? I used to be guilty of that. I felt that if I worked out, I could anything I wanted. WRONG. Just because you worked out, doesn’t mean you can eat that extra piece of whole wheat bread for lunch or that piece of cake after dinner. You still need to be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. It’s important to choose meals with a proper balance of carbs, fat, and protein to satisfy your hunger without undoing all that hard work.
Becoming too restrictive: Just like eating too much or eating too little can sabotage your healthy lifestyle, so can restricting the occasional treat. I realize this statement sounds counterintuitive based in what I’ve just written about, but it’s true. I’m not asking you to give up your favorite treats completely. I’m just asking you to limit them to the occasional indulgence. I will usually limit myself to having one treat per week. I like to make my family dessert once a week, so I make that my treat for the week. Perhaps for you it’s one meal out a week. Whatever it is, enjoy every bite, knowing that you are allowed to indulge once in a while.