Diet. A word we all love to hate. Whether it’s to lose weight, “cleanse” your body, or simply try something new, we’ve all gotten stuck in the diet trap. There are so many fad diets out there and more often than not, there's little to no science behind them. How are we supposed to know what constitutes a good diet? Here are some red flags…
One of the most common myths surrounding weight loss and dieting is that carbs are the enemy. This is 100% (wait for it)…. FALSE. You NEED carbohydrates in your diet! By no means am I suggesting that you go and eat three bagels, but bottom line, carbs are actually your friend when it comes to a healthy and balanced diet. Carbs are your body’s primary source of energy and without them, you’ll get run down and tired more easily. Carbs get used up during activity, help your body recover after a workout and allow the protein you consume to go directly to your muscles. Try some of our favorite healthy carbs like whole grains, quinoa, and brown rice. Sorry… Wonder Bread and your favorite croissant are not on the list.
The F Word...
FAT. For most people, the three letter word is like nails on a chalkboard. The truth is, fat is good for you! Healthy fats keep your brain working, your hair silky and thick, and your nails strong. They support a healthy metabolism and keep you full for longer, meaning less snacks per hour. Here are some fats you should concentrate on: Omega 3’s (found in fish or for veggie eaters: flaxseed and walnuts), monounsaturated fats (found in avocados), and unsaturated fats (found in olive or canola oil). Trans fats, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs.
You Eat Too Little
Diet apps recommend that you eat somewhere around 1,200 calories a day in order to either maintain or lose weight. This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to dieting. 1,200 calories is the daily caloric intake of a 12 year-old. Even if you were Netflix binging all day you would still need about 1,500 calories in order to fuel your body properly. Eating too little can put your body into "starvation mode" and slow down your metabolism. In starvation mode, the body stores all of the calories it gets as fat in order to give it something to munch on since it is unsure of when it will be fed next. A study from The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, breaks down calories needed each day by age and level of activity. A 19-30 year-old non-active woman should consume around 1,800 calories, and one that is very active should eat around 2,200.
Navigating diets and healthy nutrition can be tricky. But cutting out major food groups and not fueling yourself correctly are the exact things you should be avoiding when trying to find a healthy diet. So close those apps, put your phone down and listen to your body!