Often one of the hardest parts of writing a post for my blog is nailing a title. The idea for the post can come effortlessly and then the only thing remaining is a clever, witty, thought provoking title to draw in you, my 4.5 readers.
And that I can often spend more time pondering than you know….
Therefore, when I have ideas come to me that present me with the title first, I’m thrilled. I then quickly save it into my working folder as an idea to bounce on.
This is one that’s been patiently waiting in that folder. I figured I’d drag it out, dust it off and do something with it 😜
For the love of diets
If you’ve hung around me for awhile, you know I’m kinda “anti diet”. This is not to be confused with “anti weight loss”.
Why anti diet?
They just don’t work.
Oh now wait. I can hear you ready to tell me about Karen at work and how her keto plan has the weight falling off her.
Or maybe it’s someone else working Paleo or any one of the other current trendy things to follow.
There are lots of “vehicles” to get us started on weight loss. The more troubling issue is, which vehicle can get us to our destination and still be usable for us when weight goals have been attained? Which one can we follow for the rest of our life?
I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row. There is no magical, miracle wonder diet that makes you lose weight. There are lots of programs to help you lose your money but you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to lose weight.
It’s simply science.
Expend more calories than you take in through exercise and what you eat, i.e. create a deficit, and you will lose weight.
You could do it with Oreos and milk but I don’t recommend it.
Diets don’t work long term because the large majority just aren’t sustainable. And by that I mean it’s not a plan you can or will do the rest of your life.
I cannot tell you the times I’ve heard someone reference looking forward to a “cheat day”. This means falling off plan to eat the things they have been withholding from themselves. It’s a grasp to feel “normal” and enjoy things that have been on a forbidden list. If you’re on a plan and you spend to much time looking forward to having restricted foods, you may need to rethink it.
For me, that’s not how I wanna live, and really, most people don’t.
It’s why they toss the towel on a plan that withholds enjoyable things.
When people think of diets, no wonder feelings of deprivation come to mind.
Eating less food, not having favorite foods or treats, not getting to have birthday cake, being hungry, eating boring flavorless foods….the list could go on.
No one, not a single one of us, wants to feel deprived which is another reason diets fail.
Lack of balance
Many popular diets totally cut or eliminate food groups. Where there are some people who need to for food allergies or health reasons, the majority of us don’t need to remove healthy and nutritious foods from our daily diets. However, demonizing food groups has become cool in some circles.
Demonizing food isn’t cool.
We love routine
Maybe you have certain things you like to grab for breakfast or you do your coffee in a special way. You have foods you enjoy. It’s all like….comfy…right? None of us want to give up our familiar routines. Diets really upset that apple cart.
Diets offer a quick fix…sorta
Let’s face it. How many times have you started a structured diet and were already longing to get back to normal life? You bite the bullet thinking you can get 6-8 weeks done. You jump into it, get excited over your big “loss” of water weight the first week and prepare for week 2. You’re all on fire and are excited for the weight you’re going to lose.
And then just like that…you’re done. Maybe a week to 10 days into it, you’ll take your few pounds you lost and call it a day. This wasn’t as fun as you thought it would be.
Sadly you’ll gain that weight back with a few more pounds too.
Now about the weird sweet potato pic…
I had gotten in from a sesh of physical therapy and dove into dinner prep. One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is to cube them, add some onion and a bit of olive oil and roast till they are soft with crispy edges.
Anyway, I had started writing this post earlier in the day and had the ideas bouncing around when once again I was reminded of this simple truth.
Diets will almost always fail.
However if we make our daily nutrition about eating real foods, preferably single ingredients or close to it, we will not only be satisfied but will provide our bodies with optimal nutrition. Eating real food is satisfying. Eating real food allows for special occasions and treats and removes feelings of deprivation.
By the way…. I did write a post called “The Single Ingredient Diet” a few months back be sure to check it out…
When we focus on each day, making healthy food choices, eating in balanced ways and allowing for treats, we don’t need to diet.
Learning to create a small calorie deficit in our day will lead to slow and steady weight loss.
Living this lifestyle is not only balanced, sane, and allows you to build your own routine, it is also long term sustainable which will lead you to lifetime success.
Tell me. Have you had success with a particular diet? Or do you find yourself back where you started when you get off it? Have you figured out now how to make it your lifestyle and not diet?
Oh it’s been one of those weeks. Why does it seem like every time I turn around there is just another new version of craziness when it comes to diet, nutrition and exercise?
Sometimes, I don’t notice as much, but then when there is a lot of it I guess I’m more prone to thinking… stop… like stop it already.
Many times I’m glad I’m behind a computer when I see things so my eye roll isn’t apparent and obvious haha
What’s got me bothered?
Hmm, well I’ll tell you. Quite a few things. I guess I get troubled over information and shared ideas that people will gulp down as fast as a frog can gulp a fly.
I’m often horrified at how people believe things without their own research or fact gathering on a topic.
So what’s at the top of my list?
Can we please stop demonizing foods/food groups?
Really. Unless you have a medical condition, or a food allergy or abstaining from something just makes you overall feel better, then don’t get on the “exclude foods train” because Bob at work is doing it.
Worse yet are people who are on the train but have no idea why they are… like gluten free. Really, the only people who need to be on a gluten free diet are ones who have celiac disease.
Stop deciding foods are “bad” or that they offer no value.
Excluding entire food groups robs your body of essential vitamins and minerals not found in other foods you keep in your diet.
One of the worst things, like THE worst is how the diet industry has somehow made many fruits “bad”.
Yes, I know I’m kinda yelling here, and yes I’m fully aware some fruits have a higher sugar content than others,
Big deal. Natural sugars found in fruits are not the same as sugars you get noshing on your donuts, cookies or candies. Or your 64 oz. big gulp soda.
Fruits are low calorie and loaded with so many amazing things for our body and really, you’d have to eat loads of high sugar fruits to make an impact on your health.
Stop demonizing fruit.
Is there a bumper sticker like that??
Listen you know what the enemy really is?
You… or more like you’re not controlling what goes in your mouth and the quantity of it. That is the problem.
Food is simply, food.
What we do with it becomes the bigger issue.
The magic diet bus.
Another one bothering me, is constantly seeing credit given to a particular diet as if it holds the very unique and magical keys to unlocking permanent and successful weight loss.
Uh…if you believe that… I’ve got some diet pills to sell you…. 😉
All together now boys and girls, there is no great diet that is the be all and end all to successful weight loss.
I hate to keep throwing the same ‘ol science bubble around but here I go again…..
weight loss occurs, and only occurs, when there is a caloric deficit plain and simple.
Not because Diet “X, Y, Z” has made you lose weight.
You are simply consuming less calories, combined with maybe some purposeful exercise and that combination will lead to weight loss.
You’ve also most likely maybe made adjustments to some “non- essential” foods that has helped too.
And by that I mean those extra snacks and treats you don’t need to live but make life worth living haha
Find what works for you, that gives your body real, nutrient dense food, and go from there. The idea is to do what is sustainable for you, for a lifetime, and not a few weeks or months.
And any plan that restricts, or eliminates foods is just not going to be long term sustainable. If it were I wouldn’t see people excited over having cheat days so they could feel normal again and have what’s been withheld from them. That’s a cycle you really don’t wanna be on.
You want a side of protein with that?
If there’s a marketing bus every company in the world has jumped on now, it’s the protein bus.
If it moves, let’s slap protein in it, and throw a big label on the package so the consumer who’s heard something about “getting more protein” will buy it up., even though they may not entirely know why. Kinda like the gluten free thing.
People really are sheep.
I mean after all, it worked for the “fat free” gimmick for years, right? I saw fat free on labels of products that would’ve never had fat in them to start with. For example…A bag of jelly beans comes to mind ..
Honestly, I cannot tell you how many products that would never be a protein source I’ve seen on store shelves proudly displaying it “contains protein”.
Here’s a couple of my thoughts on this.
Protein IS important. It is the building block our bodies for skin, hair, cell growth, muscle growth etc
Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
There is also just a certain amount our bodies need and then excess is just flushed or stored as fat.
I swear by protein as the main thing in my meals that keeps me full, not sluggish and giving me that steady energy source….of course plenty of veggies and fruits go with that too to keep me full and give me all day energy.
Real foods with protein keep us satisfied longer and keep blood sugar levels steady ( meaning no crashing feeling)
The normal person has no trouble getting in their daily protein when they eat a balanced diet.
If you’re more athletic than the normal person, or a serious competitive body builder, your needs may be different.
If at all possible, you should get your protein from real food sources and not added supplements.
Protein rich foods include dairy like Greek yogurt ( 23 grams of real protein in a cup serving of plain) cottage cheese, yogurts,eggs, lean meats, cheese, fish, milk etc
Hello world! Yeah I know, no Monday Musings yesterday. I had nothing to muse over. Well not entirely it was more like a busy weekend and it just didn’t happen. But if you wanna read some of the past ones, find some here.
The life of writing involves making myself sit and be still and grind it out when I’d rather be up and moving. If there were only a way to do other stuff AND dictate my posts while doing it, that would be awesome 🙂
Anyway I thought we’d talk today about some common myths in regards to fitness and health. I heard something this past week that got me to thinking and I was gonna give it a nod in my Monday Musings but decided there was enough fodder for it to have an entire post of it’s own.
Let’s face it, in the world of health and fitness there’s a lot of things that aren’t true yet people unknowingly buy into them all the time.
Let’s consider a few in this post….
Feel the burn.
I’ve seen this quite a bit lately in different places. The whole “feel the burn” thing in regards to working out.
Now I’m not sure about you, but if something feels like it’s burning during a workout, I’m fairly sure that’s not a good thing.
Feeling a burn could indicate you have over done something or doing more than your body is physically conditioned for at that point.
This is not the same as just working hard in a session and pushing yourself within your current physical conditioning. Our bodies require time to change and adapt to what we put them through, this doesn’t happen overnight or in a few sessions when you feel like you’ve got your “beast mode” on.
If something feels like it’s burning, you really need to stop and not go to that point anymore lest you pick up and injury that sidelines you for awhile.
A gradual, consistent approach that continues to build will let you work harder and longer with less risk for injuries.
The longer you workout or the more you do in a day the better
You might mentally think you are doing something great but really unless you’re an elite athlete getting in some extra work you are simply setting yourself up for potential injury and at best being over tired, sore and not feeling great after the fact.
Stick to a structured daily workout plan, give it your best efforts and call it a wrap. Think quality over quantity. If you need to do other things consider yoga or stretching to help keep those worked muscles relaxed and loose for your next workout session.
You get no extra gold stars for excess workouts. 😉
I’ve gained weight but I know it’s muscle.
I’ve heard this when someone has been working out for like…6-8 weeks. Building muscle is work, hard work. If you’re a woman, it gets even harder. We often don’t lift heavy enough, or often enough and eat enough to build muscle in that fast of a manner. It has taken me time to build muscle, years. Although cycling and running have contributed to my muscle building, I do specific weight lifting a couple times a week alongside that.
If you want to build muscle it will take time, determination, consistency and good nutrition. Did I mention time ?
If you’re gaining weight that early on, you might be eating more than you need so adjust your calorie intake.
I’m skipping breakfast because I want to lose weight.
Do you know that breakfast really is the most important meal of your day? Your body has been fasting for hours ( think your last meal the night before) eating properly helps kick start your metabolism for the day, wards off hunger and helps prevent binging later on when you are full blown hungry. It will also give you energy for your morning. Not only that having proper fuel helps you to be focused and alert, without it you can be irritable and grouchy. Skipping breakfast won’t contribute to weight loss, but it will keep you hungry and focused on food.
It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, but one that is healthy and offers adequate protein and carbs to fuel your body and brain.
Eating lots of protein gives you more muscle.
Listen, I’m always one who will preach eating protein to you ’cause it delivers a big bang for keeping you from feeling hungry for long periods of time. Your body needs protein to build muscles and grow cells and hair and nails and all that other cool physical stuff. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues.
However, when it comes to fat loss and a better body, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism.
But in the often misguided fitness world, the more is better approach is often heralded as the way to do things.
Yes, you need adequate protein. Yes, if you are athletic you need more than the average sedentary person, but consuming high amounts won’t necessarily put Popeye muscles on you.
Why? Our bodies know what they need and the amounts needed and can only ingest 12-15 grams per meal. At a point, the excess protein is excreted or stored as fat if it’s surplus calories.
Building muscle is a combination (again) of consistent hard work, daily discipline, lifting heavy and good nutrition.
Not massive quantities of protein.
Try and consume your protein from natural food sources and limit manmade protein drinks, shakes, powders, bars, supplements etc etc.
The 1200 calorie diet.
Ah yes. The standard caloric intake often given to women. Men do get a bit more but it’s just as limiting.
It still amazes me that these standard diets are often assigned to people without any given consideration to their personal needs.
Eating to low amount of calories is just as counterproductive as to many.
If you are seeking to lose weight you need to have a good understanding of yourself, your lifestyle, and your physical level of activity.
All of us have a basic level of calories our bodies need to just be alive. That means to support a beating heart, brain activity, cell growth, breathing… you know.. just the normal things. Our basic BMR ( basal metabolic rate) will be different for all of us again based on our age, sex, fitness level, jobs etc.
It’s important you know what you’re baseline is and not eat calories under that.
From there, you would determine what kind of work do you do? Is it physically demanding or is it a desk job? What kind of purposeful exercise do you do? None? Light ( 1-2 days a week) moderate (3-5) or more intense (6-7)?
All of these things come into play determining your daily caloric needs. And this can be a shifting scale most days.
For instance, I know on my long training days, I’ll be burning off a lot of calories and making my body work hard. I know I’ll have higher caloric needs based on my day in general, as well as my purposeful exercise. I know I can consume more calories on those days over days where I might just run a 5K that morning to where I don’t really alter my normal eating.
I am aware that on any given day I may need more or less calories depending on my activity level.
When you have a better idea of your personal needs, you can determine the calories you need to lose weight, or maintain your weight.
Eating a big meal makes you gain weight.
OK this is one that for sure comes up around Thanksgiving. For some crazy reason people go hop on a scale the day after.
Like… why? Do you just wanna feel crappy for enjoying your day?
Listen up, if you show a gain, it’s not fat ok? You aren’t gonna toss on 2-4 pounds of fat overnight.
Yes, the scale *could* show a gain but I’m gonna just say it’s most likely water weight from all those carbs you took in the day before from potatoes, rolls, dressing, pies etc.
Carbs, if you don’t know this, are like little sponges that hold onto water. Why do you think body builders restrict carbs when they are close to competition? To deplete water out of their muscles.
I would suggest if you go back to your normal eating, getting normal exercise and check again in a couple days, you’ll have weight *loss*.
To stay in shape you only need one or two days a week.
Sorry. That might clear your head or give you a quick burst of energy but it won’t get you in shape or help with any weight loss goals.
Ideally, you should really strive to workout most days of the week for optimal health benefits.
Start with a couple days but aim to get in at least 5-6.
You can crunch your way to good abs.
Sorry… but no. I cringe when I hear people talking about doing crunches and dutifully going through the motions. The reality is it’s an ineffective way to get those abs. Instead you should be doing things in a combination of interval training, utilizing carbs wisely, getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low. Of course the right training moves help too. Moves like squats, deadlifts, and chin ups can contribute to that shaped mid section.
I’m eating healthy, I will lose weight.
Truth is…. you will lose weight if you take in less calories than you need in a day and create a deficit. Yes, eating healthy foods is definitely what you should strive to have in your day, but if you eat to much of anything your body will take what it needs and store the rest for fat.
Eat healthy, focus on eating just enough to satisfy your hunger, and then move on with your day. Don’t get caught in the thinking you are going to lose weight if you have no idea of your calorie consumption in the day.
Be mindful of another “trap” by drinking “healthy” liquid calories in the trendy shakes and smoothies. The calories are often astronomical in it and you’d do better eating regular food.
My son used to get a smoothie from a local place. He asked me to stop and get him one and bring it to work. Me being me, I’m standing there picking apart menu and code words that still mean sugar no matter how you try and gloss it over ( good publicity makes you feel like you’re doing yourself a healthy favor) I found the one I was buying for him and almost fainted when I saw it had nearly 1,200 calories in it. True, it was a large one, but still, that is an obscene amount of calories for something that is being promoted as “healthy” it is close to exceeding daily caloric intake.
When I told him he was shocked and stopped buying them.
Working out will turn fat into muscle.
No. You have fat and you have muscle. You can’t make one be the other. You can lose fat and you will be able to see your muscles better but you won’t turn your excess fat into muscle nor will muscle turn into fat.
Oh and another myth I’ll put in here that ties in, my favorite, muscle weighs more than fat. ( a way to justify weight gain)
5lbs is still 5lbs. muscle however, is sleek, compact and lean and fat is thick, bulky and fluffy. Having more muscle under your skin gives that “toned” look people always go on about. Toned is a weird way of saying you have some muscle holding your skin out.
And that’s about all I have to say on that topic 😉
I guess I could keep on with other points but I need to bring it to and end. If you are unsure of something in regards to health and fitness, find credible sources to gain information. Don’t go by what the bulky dude at the gym does or the girl in the yoga pants tells you to eat. Educate yourself on things so you can make the best choices for you.
Tell me, are there some myths you’ve heard that people believe in?