I know I’m not alone in this. When I was trying to lose 100 pounds I got a ton of bad advice. There were tons of weight loss tips in women’s magazines, too, that were often a little…sketchy. It was hard navigating through the diet world and finding something that MADE SENSE, wasn’t a FAD and wasn’t UNHEALTHY. In the end, I found a method that worked well for me: counting my calories and eating whatever I wanted in moderation.
Not everything works for everyone. If you’re new to my blog, check out this old post: Why Wednesday – Why I’m Not Losing.
Here is some of the worst advice I’ve seen in articles and gotten from people when the topic of dieting has come up:
Skip Breakfast and Don’t Eat Snacks
Or skip any meal, not just breakfast. I’ve seen it before; people say they are saving up their calories for something else later–maybe it’s a potluck or a party or a special dinner. So you skip a meal, your stomach is growling, you’re cranky, you’re hungry, and by the time you get to that meal you were saving up for you go way overboard. It’s important not to deplete yourself so much that you’re woozy and ready to just binge on anything in sight!
Eating snacks throughout the day is healthy. Just make sure they are healthy snacks and not the bag of chips or donuts in the break-room at work. I’m talking about fruit and veggies, maybe some hummus and crackers or a string cheese or cottage cheese. Something filling (protein is good) that will tide you over. I love snacks. It keeps me from getting blood sugar issues (feeling dizzy or lightheaded). It keeps me from getting cranky (Michael often has snacks stashed away just in case–because he knows how I get if I wait too long to eat!).
Skipping meals or denying yourself snacks can mess with your metabolism. Instead, try and keep things level and steady throughout the day.
Don’t Eat Fat
This one bugs me so much! Fat is GOOD for you. Sure, not the fat in the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the giant cheeseburger. But somewhere along the years someone said fat was bad and people started eating low fat or non-fat foods…except most low-fat/non-fat foods are PACKED with sugar. Why? Because they took all the flavor out when they removed the fat. Gross.
Eat healthy fats. Avocado, good dairy (like a plain Greek yogurt instead of sugar-packed yogurts), fish is an excellent source and I love salmon! Coconut oil is great for cooking. Nuts and seeds are good fats (but the calories can add up fast, so eat them with moderation). Eggs and beans are good sources.
Deny Yourself All Junk Foods
This one is a little tricky. Yes, you should cut out junk food. Choosing healthy, whole foods that fuel your body is the better route to go. But completely cutting out certain foods isn’t going to work in the long run. I don’t know about you but when someone says “never eat pizza ever again” I’m gonna want nothing else BUT pizza!!
Denying yourself ALL TREATS backfires. It will lead to binge eating. Trust me, from a reformed binge-eater, denying yourself food doesn’t work. Telling yourself that certain types of food are completely off-limits just makes you want it more. Instead, try MODERATION.
Eat As Few Calories As You Can
I can’t tell you how many times I heard from people that they were trying to lose weight by being super restrictive. Even in a program like Weight Watchers…they were eating too few calories. 1200 calories a day is not enough, at all! Especially if you are also working out. You need fuel for your body and your brain.
Starving yourself doesn’t work! It can seriously screw up your metabolism and hinder weight loss. It could also cause permanent damage. My advice is to talk to a nutritionist or a doctor and establish where you should start. For me, I started at 2,000 calories a day. And then as I was losing weight and that started to slow or stall, I’d reduce that daily intake by a little bit. By the end I was eating around 1600 calories a day + some of the calories I burned in the gym. It worked for me. I never felt deprived. I never felt like I was weak or tired from lack of calories. My body felt healthy. And that’s the point. Health.
Don’t Eat Carbs
Carbs have been The Devil for a long time. While I admit that there are SOME carbs that should be avoided, or limited, I don’t think all carbs are bad. When I want to reign in my calories, I do tend to skip the pasta and the bread products. They just aren’t nutritionally enough for me. I’d rather eat something else that will be more filling and not “empty.” Skip the low-nutrient carbs and pick something better. That doesn’t mean all carbs should be avoided. In my diet, wild rice, couscous, quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes are a good thing! There’s also carbs in fruit and that’s healthy!
Yeah, so not everything is black and white!
Instead of taking bad advice, read THIS POST:
and this one:
And then check out the series I wrote about how to lose weight:
How to Lose Weight Series:
And take all advice with a grain of salt. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. The gluten-free diet may have worked for your mom, but didn’t work for you. A friend might swear by going vegan or vegetarian and then you try it and find you don’t feel well. Everybody and every body is different. Find what works for you. Talk to a nutritionist or a doctor. EXPERIMENT. And when you find what works, stick with it as long as it keeps working!
What is some of the worst dieting advice you’ve ever gotten?