Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Monday, November 3, 2014

What Is and Isn't True About Dieting

There are many dieting fads out there, that just want your money and not care as to whether you lose the weight and keeping it off, or whether or not it's healthy.
Dieting is something that shouldn't be taken lightly and before even starting a diet, you should check with your doctor and have a complete physical before even attempting to diet.
A lot of diet programs that are out there, are not the same nor do they all agree as to what or how you should diet. Some tell you to go nonfat, less carbs, lower the calories, and many other things. The best way to lose weight and is almost guaranteed to lose the weight. It is to eat smaller portions, drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly.

Dieting Myths

Myth #1: Eating Carbs Will Make You Fat  

A lot of diet programs lead you to believe that you have to cut out carbohydrates if you want to lose weight.  
The truth is, while some carbohydrates aren’t so good for you, you do need certain carbs to get the necessary vitamins and nutrients for your body to function appropriately.  
What types of carbs should you eat? 
You want to focus on eating what is called complex carbs. These are the carbs that are more difficult for your body to digest. They include foods like brown rice, whole wheat bread, veggies and fruit.  
Complex carbs are higher in fiber and good for your digestive system. Plus, they help keep your hunger at bay, as they are more filling. 
What are the simple carbs that you want to either limit or eliminate?  
They are going to be your dishes made with sugar and white flour. This includes baked sweets like cookies and cakes, white breads and sauces, candy, etc.  
These types of carbs throw your blood sugar out of control, which puts your health at risk and sets you up for cravings that will make your weight loss journey a nightmare.  

Myth #2: If You Work Out, You Should Drink Sports Drinks  

Some health professionals like you to believe that if you work out at all, you need to rehydrate your body with sports drinks. Specifically, the ones they sell. 
Reality is that water is your best choice for hydration, hands down. Water is necessary to keep your blood flowing and your digestive track working properly.  
As long as you drink six to eight glasses a day, you should be good. 
The only time you need something more than water is if you are engaging in an activity that involves major exertion for extended periods of time.  
This can be a long hard workout or any other strenuous physical activity, such as splitting wood by hand. If that’s the case, you’ll want something to replace the sodium and electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.  
Again, if you choose to drink a sports type drink, make sure you read the label so you aren’t just picking up sugar water.  
Grab a drink that is high in vitamins and nutrients and low in sugar. 
Not into strenuous exercise but don’t like the taste of plain water or get bored with it? 
Add some cucumber, lemon, lime or orange slices to it. It gives it great taste with no additional calories.  

Myth #3: You Shouldn’t Eat Fat  

You go on a diet to lose fat, right?  
So isn’t it counterproductive to eat it?  
Aren’t you defeating the purpose? 
Actually, your body does need some fat to run efficiently. The key is knowing what fats are good for you and which ones you should avoid. 
The fats you want to stay away from are the trans fats and saturated fats. These types of fats raise your cholesterol and put you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.  
How do you know which ones are trans and saturated?  
Basic rule of thumb is that these types of fats are solid when they’re at room temperature. Some examples are beef and pork fat, butter, margarine and shortening. 
The fats that you do want to include in your diet, although in limited amounts, are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  
Contrary to the trans fats and saturated fats, these healthier fat options help lower your cholesterol and are actually beneficial to your heart.  
These types of fats are generally more liquid at room temperature. You can find them in fatty fish (like salmon) and in certain oils; like olive, safflower, corn and peanut.  

Myth #4: All Calories Are Equal  

A calorie is a calorie right?  
While technically the answer is yes, it’s actually a little more complicated than that.  
There’s more to food than just the calorie content. For instance, one Snickers bar has 273 calories.  
For roughly the same amount of calories, you could eat 2 apples (104 calories), 1 banana (94 calories) and 1 cup of blueberries (81 calories). Now, which option do you think is healthier? 
When you’re watching what you eat, you do want to stay within a certain calorie range based upon your age, sex, height, activity level, etc.  
But just as important as watching your calorie count, you also want to ‘spend’ your calories wisely by picking foods high in nutrients and vitamins. 
This is where the healthy eating guidelines come in. They are put in place to assure that you receive adequate nutrition while not eating more than your body needs. If you do, that is when fat is stored. 
Try to get as many colors on your plate as possible. Go for the bright green vegetables and the choose fruits that are red and blue and orange.  
The more multi-colored your plate is, the greater the likelihood that it holds a good variety of the vitamins and minerals you need. 
And, while we’re talking about your plate, you should fill half with fruits and veggies, one quarter with complex carbs and one quarter with protein. Don’t forget your dairy to keep your bones strong, too.   

Myth #5: You Can’t Lose Weight Without Diet Aids  

There are two different types of aids out there; pills and supplements. Pills tend to focus on suppressing the appetite and reducing water retention. Supplements are products like your protein drinks and additional substances that help you build muscle or lose fat.  
Here’s the deal.  
If you’re looking to get in shape, slim down and tone up, you don’t need to take anything. You can do it with a healthy diet and exercise. 
Do pills that control appetite and get rid of water work?  
There’s conflicting information. The main question is whether the risk of taking them outweighs the benefit.  
A lot of them have ingredients that are known to raise blood pressure, which puts you at risk of heart attack or stroke.  
Kind of defeats the purpose of getting healthy doesn’t it? 
What about supplements?  
Serious weight lifters are known to take supplements like protein drinks and a ton of other products to help them build huge muscles.  
But, for the everyday person who wants to slim, trim and tone they are unnecessary. 
In the end, my advice to you is to go all natural. Just eat healthy foods and get in daily activity.  
That’s all you need to reach your goals.  

Myth #6: Starving Myself Will Take the Weight Off Faster  

While it seems like this should be true, reality lies in the exact opposite of this statement.  
If you starve yourself, you are actually putting more obstacles in your way and making weight loss harder than ever. 
Physiologically your body goes into what’s called starvation mode. It slows its metabolism and starts to conserve fat to protect itself.  
Way back in time, this was necessary for survival, as food wasn’t always as readily available as it is today. The body had to adjust so that it didn’t die when it wasn’t regularly fed. 
Not only does your body slow down, but also if you let yourself get too hungry it makes it harder to control your eating later in the day.  
You tend to make not so good choices and portion sizes get bigger because you’re ravenous and will eat just about anything.  
You send yourself right into a yo-yo diet tailspin. You eat a lot, then a little, then a lot, then a little. You gain and lose and gain and lose. That’s not healthy for your body or mind. 
So, how do you keep your metabolism stoked and your hunger under control?  
The key is to eat every 3 to 4 hours. When you don’t feel hungry all the time, it makes it easier to reach and maintain your weight loss goals.  

Myth #7: The Quicker the Weight Comes Off, the Better  

While everyone wants to get the weight off as quickly as possible, and that’s understandable, it’s actually better to take the slow and gradual approach.  
I know, I know. This isn’t what you want to believe, but hear me out anyway. 
If you set out to lose the weight too quickly, you’ll actually hinder your success.  
You’re setting yourself up for failure.  
While it is possible to lose quite quickly at first if you have a lot of excess weight or if you make drastic changes to your lifestyle, it’s unreasonable to expect that pattern to continue.  
Setting your goals too high will lead to disappointment and frustration (which are two primary emotional eating triggers). 
I understand that it’s easy to get sucked into the excitement and energy of losing weight and getting into shape so you set lofty goals for yourself.  
But the key to losing the weight and keeping it off is to make changes to your lifestyle that you can live with.  
Changes that you’ll be able to keep doing day after day.  

Myth #8: I Need to Watch My Sugar Intake, But Salt Doesn’t Matter  

Most people pay more attention to sugar intake than they do salt because sugar issues are associated with diabetes and a whole arena of health concerns.  
However, monitoring your salt intake is just as important. 
Not only does salt affect blood pressure (too much makes it rise), it also affects your body’s ability to determine its satiety level.  
In other words, when you eat salty foods, your body has a hard time figuring out if it’s full or not. 
It’s no coincidence that bars put salty peanuts and pretzels out for their customers.  
Is it because they’re nice and want to offer free munchies?  
Possibly, but doubtful.  
It’s more likely that they realize that the more salt their customers consume, the more they’ll continue to eat and drink.  
How do you cut down on salt without eating a bland diet?  
Try to use seasonings that aren’t sodium based. You can buy products like Mrs. Dash that are salt-free but will add great flavor to your food.  

Myth #9: It Won’t Hurt Me to Cheat Just Once  

Okay, I’ll give you a little leeway on this one.  
To indulge in a treat every now and again is okay. Spending the rest of your life telling yourself you’ll never eat chocolate or pizza is no way to live. 
But, this requires a whole lot of self-honesty on your part.  
Are you cheating just once this month, once this week, once today or once this morning?  
See the difference?  
While one occasional treat won’t derail your health goals, several treats added up will take away from all the hard work and effort you’re putting into getting and keeping your body healthy.   
Not to mention, lying to yourself about how often you cheat isn’t going to get you any closer to your goals. 
My advice when it comes to treating yourself is four things.  
1. First, keep track of how often you are allowing indulgences. Put a little check mark on your calendar so you can see at a glance whether or not it is becoming an issue. 
2. Second, if you’re going to allow yourself a decadent treat, make it worth it. If you’re at Thanksgiving and it’s the only time of year your Grandmother makes homemade pumpkin pie, go for it. But, if it’s a corner store cupcake that really isn’t to die for, why waste a treat on something that you can have every day that is just so-so? 
3. Third, when you eat your treat, be fully present. What I mean is don’t do anything else while you’re enjoying it, like watch TV or read e-mail. Pay attention to each bite. Notice the texture and the flavors. Fully engage in the eating process. 
4. Finally, realize that allowing yourself a treat does not mean that you’re giving yourself permission to pig out. A treat is a single serving of something that you wouldn’t normally eat when you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. So, pay attention to your portions.  
Myth #10: As Long as I Eat Healthy, I Don’t Have to Exercise  

Nice try, but no.  
If you want to be healthy, and I assume you’re reading this because you do, you need to not only give your body adequate nutrition, but you also need to keep it moving. 
What happens to a door on a metal gate if it is never moved? It rusts solid, right?  
Well, same principal with your body. If you don’t use it, it will stiffen up and make even day to day activities even harder. 
Here’s the good part. You don’t have to exercise for hours on end to realize the benefits of moving your body.  
General guidelines are to try to be active for approximately 30 minutes a day most days of the week, but go for ten or twenty minutes a day if that’s all you have.  
At least do something! 
A lot of people get turned off by the idea of exercise because they think inside the box.  
You can commit to walking on a treadmill or doing the elliptical for 30 minutes a day for the rest of your life, but what’s the likelihood you’ll stick to it?  
Chances are that you’ll get bored by the second month, if not sooner. 
The nice thing is that you don’t have to use exercise machines to get in a great body workout. Go outside for a walk or run and get some fresh air. Do yard work if that’s what you enjoy. Or grab a friend and engage in a game of tennis or racquetball. 
The key to staying active is doing things you enjoy.  
Think back to when you were a kid and you could run around all day without ever getting tired.  
Because you had fun. Look to bring that same kind of fun back into your exercise routine.   

Myth #11: Once I Lose the Weight, I Don’t Have to Diet Anymore  

What’s the good thing about diets? They’re temporary.  
What’s the bad thing about diets? Their results are temporary too. 
If you want results that last a lifetime, you have to make changes that last a lifetime.  
Sorry, but there’s no way around this one.  
Losing weight and getting in shape is a lifestyle change. It’s about implementing behaviors that you’re willing to live with forever. 
That’s why diets may work short-term but often you gain back all the weight, and then some. It’s because you go back to old behaviors and habits that don’t support your weight loss. 
When you’re trying to create a plan to lose weight and get in shape, ask yourself if you’re willing to commit to the changes every day for the rest of your life.  
If the answer is no, you need to rework your plan to something that you can live with. 
Change is hard and it isn’t going to happen overnight. Whether you’re trying to undo months, years or decades of bad habits, if you try to do too much at once you’re only going to make the process more difficult. 
Break your changes down into small, manageable increments.  
For instance, let’s say you want to eliminate drinking regular soda but right now you drink an average of 5 cans a day.  
Set a goal to only drink 4 cans a day this week, and then drop it down to 3 cans a day the following week, and so on.  
You’ll reach your end desire of eliminating it completely, but you’ll do it in a manner that is gradual and easier to do. There’s no point in making yourself crazy in the process.  

Myth #12: If I Read it In a Magazine or on the Internet, it Must Be True  

While it would be nice to believe everything you read, unfortunately that isn’t the case.  
Manufacturing companies pay people to write false reviews about their products to make them look good. And, even if it looks like it was written by an honest consumer, it just may not be the case. 
Look, here’s the rule of thumb, as with everything: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  
It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and promises that products, manufacturers and service providers make of helping you reach your goals quickly, but reality is that if you want permanent, lifetime results you’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way; eat healthy and exercise.  
Now, I'm sure you’re wondering what to think of this statement since you’re reading this. Here I am telling you to believe me, yet I'm also telling you to not believe everything you read. What are you supposed to think now? 
Look, I'm not trying to sell you a product or anything like that.  
I just want to help you live a healthy lifestyle and everything I'm sharing is based on what I’ve seen.  
It’s time to end your struggle with weight and start making well educated, informed decisions that will keep your body healthy for decades to come. 

Myth #13: Zero carbohydrate or very low carbohydrate diets are the best way to lose body fat permanently.  

No diet issue has created more confusion and controversy than the low carbohydrate vs. high carbohydrate debate. 
Contrary to what certain diet "guru's" tell you, carbohydrates are not fattening. 
It is a flat out LIE to say "carbohydrates are fattening."  
What's fattening is eating more calories than your body can utilize at one time. 
However, it's true that some people lose weight more quickly on a low carbohydrate diet (that's not the same thing as saying carbohydrates are fattening.)  
It's also true that almost every bodybuilder or fitness competitor uses some variation of the low carb diet to prepare for competitions. 
But very low carb diets are not the ultimate answer to permanent weight loss. At worst they are unhealthy. At best they are a temporary tool that should only be used for short periods to achieve specific fat loss goals (preparing for bodybuilding competition, for example). 
Even for people who respond well to less carbs and more protein, there are many drawbacks: 
1) Very low carb diets are difficult to stick to. If you remove carbohydrates from your diet for a long period of time, you are setting yourself up for cravings and bingeing. The more you cut back the carbs, bigger the rebound will be when you put carbs back in. That's why 95% of people gain back all the weight they lose on a very low carb diet.  
2) Very low carb diets are unbalanced and missing many nutrients. It's never healthy to remove entire food groups from your diet for a prolonged period of time. A healthy diet is one that has balance between protein, carbs and fats and includes a wide variety of foods, not an overemphasis on one food or food group.  
3) Very low carb diets may be unhealthy. Many low carb diets like the anabolic diet or the Atkins diet, suggest eating large amounts of saturated fat. (no pancakes allowed, but bacon, sausage and whole eggs for breakfast are just fine). In the absence of carbohydrates you can eat fat with protein and still lose weight, but it's never smart to eat large amounts of saturated fat. If heart disease or health problems run in your family, you're asking for serious trouble.  
4) Very low carb diets cause your energy levels to plummet. Not only will you feel tired and irritable without carbs, but it will also affect your training: Low carbs = low energy. Low energy = poor workouts. Poor workouts = poor results.  
5) The weight loss on a very low carb diet can be deceiving. You will definitely lose weight if you don't eat carbs, but much of the weight will be muscle and water. Suppose you lose 5 lbs in one week on a low carb diet: That sounds impressive, but if one pound is fat, two pounds are water and two pounds are muscle, what good is that? Your goal should never be weight loss. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week while maintaining your lean body mass. 
Most people will lose fat simply by adding a regular exercise routine to their schedule and by "cleaning up" their diets.  
By "cleaning up" your diet, I mean that you have mastered all the nutritional basics like eating small frequent meals, controlling portion sizes, cutting down on saturated fats, avoiding sugar and junk foods, etc. 
What I'm saying is that a low carb diet should be considered a "last resort."  
If you've already tried the conventional approach to dieting (which works for most people) then you might want to consider low carb diets as an alternative. 
The conventional fat reducing diet looks something like this: 
50-55% carbohydrates  
30% protein  
15-20% fat 
If you choose the low carb approach to dieting, the best method is to decrease your carbohydrates moderately.  
Never cut your carbs out completely!  
It's not necessary, it's not healthy, it's hard to stick to and it's no fun!  
It's usually not wise to go to extremes in anything and this is as true for nutrition as with anything else in life: moderation is the key. 
The "modified" low carb diet might look something like this: 
40% carbohydrates  
40% protein  
20% fat 
Competitive bodybuilders might decrease the carbohydrates to 25-30% of total daily calories, but only for short periods right before competitions. They may also zig-zag their carbohydrate intake so that they don't stay on low carbs all the time. Every few days or so, they have a high carb day. 
My advice to you is forget about those diets that suggest you must go into ketosis or require you to limit your carbs to miniscule amounts, such as the common recommendation of 30 - 40 grams a day.  
Carb cutting, when taken to the extreme, will do more harm than good. 

So, Now What?  
Now that you’ve been loaded with information, where do you start?  
First, I would recommend that you read this over a couple more times. It’s a lot to take in all at one time and I don’t want you to miss anything important. 
Second, create an eating plan that you can live with. Come up with healthy foods that you like to eat and add them to your grocery list (don’t be afraid to try new foods either). Make new dishes. Modify old recipes with healthier options. 
Third, increase your activity level. Set aside time each day to move your body so that you keep it healthy and strong. Pick activities that you enjoy doing. 
Although it’s hard to make changes initially, just like it takes time for a child to get into the habit of brushing their teeth every day, your new healthy lifestyle will soon be something you do without even thinking about it. It will become second nature to you. 
If you know anyone who could benefit from this report, please feel free to share it with them. I don’t mind. The more people it can help, the better. 
And to you, I wish you the best of luck on your weight loss journey. I know you can do it!

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