Before I even start writing about this, I just have to be up-front about 1 thing. I have definitely been someone guilty of the things I’m going to recommend that someone trying to lose weight (or even just eat “healthy”) NOT do. I’m by no means perfect, and my mistakes have helped me learn and become more knowledgable along the way.
I can’t speak for everyone, but if I had to make a general assumption, I would assume that at least 75% of the people surrounding you on a daily basis have either tried dieting, shown interest in a diet, thought about loosing weight, or thought “I definitely could eat healthier” at some point in there life. Like right now for example, I’m thinking “If I could only lose 3-4 lbs, my wedding dress would just fit perfectly” even though I darn well know that it fits great as it is. Many people have a moment of doubt at some point in their life about what their are eating, how they look, or a change that they would like to make in themselves. We are human, so naturally we are super critical of ourselves no matter how hard we try not to be.
When we have these moments of doubt, we often turn to quick solutions or seek advice from anyone who will give it. How many times have you skimmed through Pinterest and seen “Top 10 Foods For a Flatter Tummy” or “Lose 10lbs In Just 2 Weeks With XXXX’s Flat Belly Diet.” Bad advice is everywhere and when we are doubtful or when we are having moments of weakness, a little light looks like shinning ray of sunshine.
My goal today is to bring to light 5 things that can sabotage any diet or efforts to lose weight or eat healthy. Everyone is different, of course, but out of my experience and witnessing experience of others, I’d say these are pretty valid. Hopefully this helps a reader somewhere, and please always remember that there is beauty in everyone, all you have to do is dig a little deeper and realize what makes you special, different, and beautiful inside and out!
- Protein is your primary focus. Now before anyone takes this too literally, hear me out. The human body is only made to utilize so much protein in one day. That is why there is an RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for grams of protein per kg of body weight per day for the average adult and child. I know we all want to believe we are super athletes and taking 2-3 scoops of protein/day plus shoveling our face with chicken and quinoa for dinner will make us superwoman or superman, but science has a different take on that. Unless you are running marathons every other day, are an elite athlete training for hours/day, are breastfeeding, or have special dietary requirements due to disease or special conditions, once your body reaches it’s limit on protein intake, the rest you will either store as excess fat or you will exhaust your kidneys trying to pee it all out. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet. There are 5 food groups for a reason, each provides beneficial nutrients that your body needs to function properly and will utilize in different ways. Your diet should consist of about ~45-60% carbohydrates (try to choose complex over simple), ~25-35% fat, and 10-30% protein. These percentages vary, which is why there is a range, based on your PA level and other health factors.
- You focus on supplements before whole foods. Similarly to what is listed above, the powders, the bars, the supplements, the “cleanses,” the energy boosters, they all need to be moderated. Focus on whole foods first, use supplements for what their name entails, as a SUPPLEMENT. Your body recognizes nutrients, protein, fiber, etc from whole foods easier and is better digested and utilized than packing yourself with the newest “all in one energizing protein powder with added omega 3’s and 10 essential nutrients”. Really? Eat an apple, a couple of carrots, a few eggs, and drink a class of milk and I bet you are getting something similar without all of the preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or fillers. Not only will you save money, you will save your body a whole lot of confusion from all the nonsense you are packing into it. NOW, little disclaimer here. I am OK with using these products in moderation… heck, I put protein powder in my oatmeal and love a good protein bar when I’m on the go. Just use in moderation, read food labels, and remember these products are supplemental, not your whole diet.
- You deprive yourself early in the day to “try to be good.” Now, let’s think about this logically. Your body needs fuel to run. No fuel, we start to run on fumes. We run on fumes, we become ravenous. We become ravenous, we over eat. We become ravenous, we make poor decisions. It is that simple. Try to eat every 3-4 hours, not a large meal, but a small snack or “mini meal”. Not only will this help regulate your blood glucose levels and keep your body satisfied, but you will be less likely to over-eat later in the day OR make poor food decisions because you are more focused on silencing your tummy than nourishing your body.
- You are a “diet goods” fanatic; low-fat, low-sugar, non-fat, sugar-free, low-calorie… here I come! Diet products are not always all they are set out to be. Typically when one major ingredient is take out, such as sugar, it is replaced with more of another ingredient like sodium or fat. Read food labels and read them thoroughly. Sugar-free? Well, how much artificial sweetener or sugar alcohols are used? How much fat was included to add a more savory or rich flavor? Whole foods are happy foods. No, I don’t think you should go eat 7 whole milk cheese sticks or indulge in full fat ice cream, but my thought is the fewer ingredients, the better. Get rid of the fillers, get rid of the artificial crap, and treat your body with wholesome goodness. It will thank you! Everything in moderation of course. Another little point to think about…. typically purchasing “diet products” causes us to eat more because they are “healthy,” right? Doesn’t 1 scoop of full fat ice cream for 200 calories and 5 grams of fat equal the same thing and 2 scoops of diet ice cream, each 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat? Think about it…
- We weigh ourselves every day. No matter how hard you try and how “good you ate” 1 day out of the week, you are not going to weigh 5lbs less the next morning. Weighing yourself every day can be discouraging. Maybe it’s “that time of the month” or you’ve been having a little difficulty going to the bathroom. I know, it sounds silly, but that makes a difference! My recommendation is typically to weigh yourself weekly. Make sure you do it at a consistent time of day and if you were wearing a sports bra and shorts the first time, wear a sports bra and shorts the second time. Remember, safe weight loss that you can keep off is 1-2 lbs/week. Give it time, and be patient! You are working hard and making healthy changes that can benefit your body in more ways than just dropping a few lbs. That is all that matters!
I hope this was helpful!