With the mornings getting that little bit lighter, and that big orange thing in the sky very occasionally making a cameo appearance in your day, the optimists among you will be beginning to think about getting into shape for the summer. The temptation to jump on the fad diet bandwagon to fast track your way to weight loss and wellbeing should be resisted.
Eat healthily, and don’t be snared by popular food myths, like these ones…
Straight off the bat, let’s tackle the growing influx of ‘low-fat’, ‘no-fat’ and ‘crash’ diets. Firstly, the low/no fat diets simply don’t work. Leading dietician Lyndel Costain said: “People think they need a low fat diet to lose weight, but 1/3rd of your calories should come from fat”. The fact is, fat is required for energy, tissue repair, and it supports the flow of vitamins in your body. Unsaturated fats are actually very good for you! Olive oil, salmon and avocados are high in unsaturated fats, so consider factoring these into your diet.
Crash diets however are a whole different ball game. Although initially they may contribute to weight loss, in the long term they hinder it. By drastically reducing your calorie intake, your body removes lean muscle and tissue. This causes your metabolic rate to fall, making weight gain far likelier when you stop dieting.
Dieting in general can throw up a quandary or two in your daily life. Sometimes it feels as though you can’t do right for doing wrong. Take milk for example. Full fat milk is calorific, but also contains calcium, which is needed as part of a healthy diet. How does the average dieter win in this situation? Simple: switch to skimmed milk. The myth is that by choosing skimmed milk, you are losing out on precious calcium. This isn’t the case. The calcium in milk is contained in the watery part of the product (not the creamy part), so by opting for skimmed milk, you’ll get all the health benefits of regular milk, with only a fraction of the calories.
As much as it’s important to know what to avoid while dieting, the real focus is on what you’re choosing to put into your body. A conscious effort to eat more fruit, veg, and protein will help you lose weight, and feel healthier in your daily life.
It may seem like a difficult change at first, but when you look at the numbers, the benefits are abundantly clear. For example, a simple, single egg contains around 10g of healthy protein!
Also, have you been avoiding eating food late at night? The popular myth is that by eating late at night, you gain weight as a result of then being inactive while you sleep. Many tests show that there’s no evidence for this whatsoever. Cambridge University studies show that eating a large meal before bed did not make the body store more fat, unless the test subject had been skipping meals and exceeding the recommended calorie intake over a 24-hour period. So, long as you eat regularly, and not to excess, then eating later at night shouldn’t affect your weight at all.