Now that we’re a couple weeks into 2016, you may be feeling a little discouraged if it feels like your New Year’s resolution isn’t really working out - especially if it’s a healthy living resolution. Seeing as only 8% of New Year’s resolutions ever really stick each year, you definitely aren’t alone if this is the case. If, however, your goal had anything to do with eating a healthier diet or losing weight, now is the perfect time to evaluate your goals and ask: are they any good?
To be clear, we don’t just mean, are your goals good in the sense of “are they reasonable and achievable”. We believe that good healthy diet goal has also considered the many myths out there about dieting. After all, it only takes one good myth to completely derail someone’s dieting efforts - but a little planning can help prevent this from ever happening.
So before you abandon the idea of eating better or losing a couple pounds this year, it may be worth considering whether or not your dieting and weight loss efforts are centered around myths such as these - and if they are, you can fix them and get back on track today:
1) The Myth: I want to lose weight, so I just need to cut calories.
The Reality: If only it were that simple. However, simply cutting back on the number of calories you eat won’t help you lose weight. In fact, cutting too many calories will have the exact opposite effect on your weight loss efforts! Ultimately, any weight you do lose from cutting calories alone won’t stay off forever.
The solution: Instead of just saying “I want to eat fewer calories” this year, you’ll be better off making changes in your everyday life that focus on being more active and eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Doing this will ensure that in addition to losing weight the healthy way, your health overall will improve!
2) The Myth: “If I ditch this food group and replace it with lots of food from another food group, I’ll lose weight!”
The Reality: This myth exists in many forms, including calls to cut fat and carbs from your diet and to replace them with proteins or low-sugar fruits and vegetables. The reality is that cutting or dramatically reducing any food group from your diet is going to have the opposite effect of you’re looking for. Our bodies rely on the nutrition we get from proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and yes, even fats. It’s the balance of these food groups that keep our bodies functional and healthy.
The Solution: Rather than eliminating a food group altogether, evaluate your diet and check that you’re eating the right amounts of foods from each food group every day. Your waistline and health alike will thank you! (While the exact dietary changes that are made will vary from person to person, it’s generally advisable to eat a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, as well as leaner proteins. Additionally, it’s important to choose healthy fats over “bad” fats whenever possible.)
3) The Myth: “If I start eating better, I can eat as much as I want!”
The Reality: Sorry, guys. To quote this SkinnyMs. article, “A calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie, no matter where it comes from.” You’ll likely be able to eat more of certain foods during your day, of course, if you focus on eating fruits and vegetables over cupcakes and cheeseburgers. But even when the food your eat is nutritious and delicious, eating too many calories regularly will still lead to weight gain rather than weight loss.
The Solution: It’s easier than ever to track the calories we take in thanks to digital food diaries - so with a little extra work, you’ll always have an idea of just how many calories you’re eating each day. Knowing exactly what you’re eating is the best way to ensure that you’re not overeating (and will also help you figure out if you’re eating too much or too little of certain nutrients and food groups).
4) The Myth: If I’m not losing weight, I’m not getting healthier.
The Reality: Every bit of exercise and every item you chose to eat can add up and make a difference in your overall health, even if the number on your scale isn’t dramatically changing. Additionally, even a modest change in weight can make a big difference. According to SkinnyMs., “For every 2 lbs. you drop, you can lower your cholesterol by as much as 3 points, and recent studies show that both men and women can reduce blood pressure by losing as little as 9 pounds.”
The Solution: Never be discouraged if you’re not making big waves just yet - even little changes matter! Ultimately, the number on your scale is just a number - and if you need evidence that your efforts are working, a visit with your doctor may quickly confirm that your diet efforts really are making a difference.
These are just four examples of common diet and weight loss myths that are likely to sabotage anyone’s healthy living efforts. Of course, as these articles on WedMD and SkinnyMs. prove, there are many, many other false ideas out there when it comes to dieting. Ultimately, the best advice we can offer is to stick to the principle of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.” So if you’re still ready to make 2016 the year you try to diet or to lose weight, remember: putting healthy living ideals first, rather than simply trying to make that number on your scale go down, will make all the difference as the year progresses!
We’ve touched on some dieting myths - next up are exercise myths! Check in next week to see if the methods and tricks you took on this year are ones that you need to ditch ASAP.