With so much information (and misinformation) available today, navigating the world of healthy eating can be difficult.
I've coached hundreds of people on clean and healthy eating. Today I want to share most common mistakes I've noticed that my clients make when it comes to eating well. These are things that people think are helping their efforts to be more healthy, but in truth they are just sabotaging their health. Some of them might surprise you.
1. Believing there is one best way of eating for everyone.
Raw and vegan and Paleo, oh my! Healthy eating is a hot topic these days, and specific diet regimens are even hotter. But the truth is that that isn't one right way for everyone. Period. What's working for your best friend may or may not work for you.
This philosophy is know as bio-individuality, and the good news is that bio-individuality can be easily navigated. With the right tools, you can learn how to eat best for your body.
2. Thinking fat makes you fat.
This one came from poorly-conducted and poorly-reviewed research in the 1980s. The saddest part about this is that when fat was removed from the diet, the incidence of obesity skyrocketed.
Why? Because anything removed must be replaced, and fat was widely replaced with fillers in the form of hidden sugars. The truth is that our bodies need fat, along with good carbohydrates and healthy protein, to function at optimal levels and maintain a healthy weight. It's also true that in many cases, adding extra good fats into the diet actually help people lose weight. All hail the avocado!
3. Not knowing where sugar hides.
To their detriment, most people assume that food has to taste sweet to contain sugar. Not true! Ketchup, jarred pasta sauce, sandwich bread, low-fat dairy and low-fat crackers (most low-fat foods, actually) have just as much or more sugar as a piece of cake! Sugar is the food industry's #1 tool to hook you onto their food. Don't fall victim to their schemes and learn the facts about hidden sugar and sweet alternatives. Why? Because fat doesn't make people fat, but sugar does.
4. Believing all calories are created equal.
Have you ever known someone who counts every single calorie that they put in their mouth, but still can't lose weight? And they've been doing it for 10-plus years? Yea, me too. It's painful to watch, 1) because it doesn't work, and 2) because letting calories rule your life sounds sad and incredibly exhausting.
Let's get something straight: 100 calories of low-fat crackers does something very different to your body then say 100 calories of guacamole. And guess what, the low-fat crackers are ruining your health, while the guacamole could improve things drastically. A calorie is no longer just a calorie. Sugar is highly addictive. You may start to see health experts comparing it to nicotine addition in the coming years. That's just how addictive it really is. Learning how different calories affect your body can hugely improve your health, get rid of cravings, balance your weight and improve your mood.
5. Becoming dogmatic about your eating patterns.
Just like there isn't one way of eating for everyone, there's most likely not one way of eating that will serve you for your entire life. As you age, grow and change, so should your eating habits.
6. Eating gluten-free and other “healthy” junk food.
I would never tell people to avoid packaged food altogether — surprising, I know! I'm a realist, and it's just not feasible in most people's on-the-go lives and there actually are some healthy options out there.
But, and this is a big BUT, just because something is labeled gluten-free, organic, raw or some other health industry buzzword doesn't make it healthy. Some of these packaged items are higher in sugar than a 20-ounce Coke. Learning to read ingredient labels is one of the best things you can do for your health.
7. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods.
The more you tell yourself not to eat something, the more you want it. Obsession can set in, and all of the sudden you've downed an entire pint of ice cream. Healthy eating isn't about deprivation or drastically changing every aspect of your lifestyle. It's about learning how to enjoy what you love in a healthy way.
Ice cream is a good example. If you love it why not try banana “nice cream” or awhole-fruit frozen sorbet? Love chocolate? It's actually good for you, but the added sugar isn't. Most chocolate bars contain way too much sugar, so learning how to choose the right ones will allow you to enjoy the chocolate you love without detriment to your health.
You don't have to give up what you love to be healthy. Also, once you've learned how to control your blood sugar, you'll be surprised at what falls off of your favorite foods list, too.
To your health,