5 Biggest Mistakes When It comes To Healthy Eating
Picture this: you have decided to change your daily routine for the better by eating healthier and exercising more, but with no visible weight loss results. This quickly becomes frustrating for obvious reasons and might even leave you wondering: is it even worth it? Before you give an answer, keep in mind that what might seem as a good choice in terms of culinary and workout options could actually be a detrimental decision on your part. Listed further on are the 5 biggest mistakes when it comes to healthy eating, how they impact your day-to-day weight fluctuations, and how you could easily solve them on your own:
- Focusing on calories instead of the food itself
One of the major aspects brought about by switching to a healthier eating regime is that of ‘calorie counting’ each and every single morsel of food that enters your body.
If you are a dieting ‘veteran’, then you are probably sick and tired of hearing how many calories each meal or snack should comprise of by now. And you are absolutely entitled to experience this feeling, since most diet-based advice is practically obsessed with this word. What they don’t highlight though is that calories should be counted with regards to their quality, as opposed to (only) their quantity.
While taking into account the nutritional value of your foods is essential for maintaining a slim body, what you should actually focus on is the health value of what you are ingesting. For example, you could get the same 200 calories from eating a chocolate bar as you would by eating almost 300 grams of grapes – but with a very different nutritional intake in each individual case.
The fact of the matter is that achieving long-term slimming effects can only be done by learning what foods give you the most satisfaction and satiety, while also being a wholesome source of energy and nutrition. Vegetables, fruits, and lean meats rank the highest on this scale, with processed foods and drinks being the ones that you should arduously avoid. Staying hydrated also helps with overall health and metabolic rhythms.
Don’t trick yourself into believing you will exercise another half an hour for that extra slice of cake – in all likelihood, the sugar ‘spikes’ normally associated with junk food will make you want to not move an inch later on. Instead, choose to go a bit over your normal caloric count with a wholesome meal or snack for improved appetite suppression, energy stability, and even your short-term mood. In the end, counting ‘empty’ calories will only lead to under or overeating, while consciously deciding what is best for your specific lifestyle regime can only generate positive results in the future.
- Giving in to temptations
Since eating healthy is a decision you need to make for the rest of your life in order to see actual results, there will inevitably be moments in which temptations will get the best of you. An extra serving of chips today, a small candy bar tomorrow, avoiding the scale the day after – you get the point.
Don’t get this the wrong way! In fact, letting yourself enjoy a small ‘cheating’ meal or snack once in a while is actually healthier in the long run than abstaining from them. Far too little stress is put on how your psychological approach to healthy eating actually impacts your relationship with extra weight. Feeling like you are always missing out on something – whether it is flavour or satiety, for instance – will build up over time and even threaten to make you relapse into older (and unhealthier) habits later on.
Nevertheless, one too many indulgencies will lead you nowhere regarding consistent progress because you will only teach your brain (and stomach!) that it is okay to frequently eat fatty or sugary foods, especially of the processed variety (fast food, sweets, soda, etc.). One too many calories of this type on a regular basis and not only will you see the scales going up, but also notice your motivation to exercise or eat healthier foods instead begin to diminish dramatically.
The key to maintaining your physical and psychological wellbeing is finding a balance between healthy eating and the occasional culinary pampering you might allow yourself as a ‘reward’ of some sorts. Just keep in mind portion control, proper hydration, and not letting your appetite fool you into believing you should have more than you really need too.
- Following all sorts of dieting ‘fads’
As ingrained into your brain as this might be by now, here it goes again: healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet – at least not in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word.
These days, all you have to do is search the internet for the latest dieting fad and you will come across all sorts of crazy, complex, and ‘guaranteed weigh loss’ regimes. One obvious problem with these diets is that they are most often than not set to last a certain period of time. The prime example in this sense are ‘detox’ diets and those focused on eating only specific foods or food groups, like the now infamous grapefruit or cabbage soup diets, let’s say. As a result, you can only achieve results (if any!) for a short period, then have all the weight come back when you resume your normal eating regime.
Secondly, these types of diets are usually very poor from a nutritional standpoint, which is exactly why you are losing body weight – and not necessarily fat – in the first place. Your organism needs energy to function properly and, since you are not providing it via foods, it starts consuming the resources it already has ‘stocked up’. This explains why everything slightly richer in calories will show up on your body post-dieting, with your organism ‘preparing’ for any similar situation that might occur in the future.
The worst thing you could do is to go from one diet to another instead of establishing a well-organized eating regime. Eating too little or nutritiously ‘void’ for extended timeframes will definitely take its toll on your body, with weight gaining and eating disorders being the most common and serious threats.
If you have trouble starting with your new lifestyle, then ask the help of a nutritionist or doctor in order to see what eating and exercising routine best fits your individual case, so as to achieve the best body-shaping and wellbeing effects.
- Going ‘x-free’ on everything you eat
Gluten-free, lactose-free, and other ‘x-free’ foods have become all the rage recently. These product specifications are frequently endorsed by a variety of diets which claim that eliminating a specific ingredient from your eating regime will ‘miraculously’ make you feel better and look slimmer at the same time. But what is fact and what is fiction in all of this?
The bottom line is that removing certain essential nutrients from your daily intake can only be done as the consequence of a medical issue for it to be legitimate. For example, people who are lactose intolerant or suffer from celiac disease (a hypersensitivity to gluten) have all the reasons in the world to stay clear of these substances, more so since they cause unwanted side effects when consumed (cramping, irregular bowel motility, general discomfort, etc.).
If you are declared as a healthy individual by your doctor or another specialist, then going gluten-free or lactose-free might, in fact, negatively impact both your wellbeing and your weight loss efforts. Aside from depriving your organism of the nutrients it might need to function properly, you could also be resorting to foods which are heavily processed in order to make up for that missing component. Therefore, the lack of gluten, soy, lactose, etc. from a product could end up translating into more refined sugar or artificial substance entering your body and messing with your metabolic rhythms. In addition, the extra cost entailed by these products would gradually put you off from buying them in the first place.
The worst choice though is that of ‘fat-free’ or ‘sugar-free’ versions of foods which are already unhealthy, like premade meals or snacks, let’s say. These now seemingly wholesome products are usually filled with preservatives and flavourings which do no justice to your healthy eating endeavours or your slimming ones, for that matter.
When in doubt, check with a professional and see whether you actually need to refrain from eating these ingredients or not. The answer will definitely impact the way you eat and live further on.
- Letting dieting setbacks discourage you
As a long-term process, healthy eating will always be a bumpy road. Temptations abound in today’s world with regards to foods and drinks alike, not to mention that of skipping workouts due to various obligations and responsibilities. That being said, you will never be able to fully have control over your caloric intake or body-sculpting goals – which is normal and to be expect with all things considered.
The lesson to be learned when you feel discouraged by your current lifestyle regime is that consistency is crucial, despite its occasional errors. Check what you did wrong, try to fix it, and get back in the nutritional and exercising ‘saddle’ with a fresh perspective on this part of your routine. While nobody is perfect, everybody can transform their life in a positive way.
The mental strain which sometimes accompanies major changes can be addressed by talking to a nutritionist or psychologist, as well as with your friends and family. In fact, co-opting the latter two in your new eating journey could both make this process easier for you and considerably improve the quality of their life. Yoga and other therapeutic outlets such as online communities might also be of help in this situation, for instance.
Whatever line of approach you take, always remember that you are not alone in trying to turn your life around for the better and that all your hard work will definitely pay off in one shape or another.
Conclusions: Healthy eating, happy living
You probably understand by now that the best way of achieving long-lasting weight loss is by changing your lifestyle regime in terms of what you eat, how much you exercise, and how you mentally approach the idea of an improved daily routine.
Granted, this change is hardly ever done overnight, with ‘errors’ of all sorts threatening to compromise even the most wellness-oriented schedule. Of course, this does not mean you are voluntarily sabotaging your road towards a slimmer body and happier mindset, but rather that you should take a closer look at your overall choices and decide what works, what could be improved, and what should be left in the culinary and exercising past completely.
No matter how hard it might seem at first, just remember: a healthier body equals a happier you in the future!