I have been thinking lately about the biggest diet misconceptions I find amongst my clients. By diet misconceptions I mean those lifestyle habits that we have been told, at one time or another, are good for us but are really sabotaging any possibility of losing weight and feeling really good every day. They are hard habits to break because, in our heads, the old advice somehow make sense and is comfortable. One thing that is evident, however, is that we’re not losing weight and feeling good every day. Quite the contrary, actually. For so long we have put up with being overweight, having zero energy, getting colds every other week, stomach viruses, headaches, allergies, acne, anxiety, infertility, depression, lack of desire, medications…you get where I’m going. When is enough, enough? Below are the top FIVE common misconceptions that seem to pop up with the majority of my clients. Now, will making these modifications to your lifestyle change everything in your world tomorrow? Maybe not… but it will be a step in the right direction. We have to take that first step with the biggest underlying issues to give us a good, solid foundation to start from. Here we go!
1. Skipping breakfast:
If I hear “well… I’m not hungry, so why should I eat?” one more time, everyone reading this blog will hear me scream! I understand that you’re not hungry until 10am… but that needs to change! Right now…the daily diet is backwards. The bulk of our meals are eaten at 7pm when it should be at 7am. Odds are you may feel a bit queasy making the transition to eating early… but that will only last a short time (a week or so). Not eating breakfast is equivalent to sitting in a car, turning the key, but there’s no engine. Without breakfast… we have no engine (aka metabolism). Wake up and eat – PROTEIN!
2. Avoiding healthy fats:
One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking that eating fat makes us fat. Eating SUGAR makes us fat. Actually, eating healthy fats like those from avocado, salmon and olive oil are a necessary part of losing weight. Low-fat/no-fat equals sugar, salt and chemicals. What you feed your body, your body will burn for fuel. So, if you constantly feed it sugar (carbohydrates), that’s what it will burn – never reaching the stored fat.
3. Reducing calories:
Our bodies store fat by nature. Yep, we have FAT STORING bodies. This is a survival mechanism that saved our lives many, many years ago when food was much scarcer. When food wasn’t readily available, we were able to survive because our bodies held onto the fat. Today, we’re not so food deprived, but we’ve been convinced that eating less will shed the pounds. To the contrary, eating less will cause our bodies to go into survival mode and store fat. There’s even such a thing as “non-caloric weight gain” where we eat nothing and gain weight – (this is a blog subject on its own). When we eat the right foods, every two to three hours, hormones will balance and we can begin burning fat.
4. Avoiding healthy, dietary cholesterol:
Once again, we’re back to sugar. Eating SUGAR causes high cholesterol. The body makes all the cholesterol it needs on a daily basis. So, for simplicity’s sake, if we get 10% of our daily cholesterol from say, eggs, the body will make the other 90%. It’s a perfect process until excess sugar and high insulin levels get in the mix. Increased insulin sends a signal to over-produce cholesterol, so in actuality, that’s where the problems set in. Reducing the insulin load will turn off that cholesterol alarm and consuming it (from healthy sources) will reduce our need for its production. As I always say… don’t be afraid to eat the yolk – that’s so not the problem!
5. Sugar/carb consumption denial:
I am, by no means, an anti-carb pusher. Carbohydrates are necessary for survival, among many, many other good things. We run into problems when the bulk of our diets consist of carbohydrates…and the majority of them are processed. For instance, I will have a client that eats oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, watermelon & pretzels for snacks, a wrap and chips for lunch and lasagna & wine for dinner. Odds are that I will hear them say that they do not consume that many carbohydrates – when really, the whole day was a sugar frenzy! Over time, it’s this sort of diet that contributes to high insulin levels and the cascade of issues that transpire because of it. Issues such as diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, high cholesterol…you name it! Excess sugar is indeed the enemy. We need to give healthy fats and cholesterol a well-deserved break from the chopping block!