Losing weight can seem daunting – especially when the weather starts to warm up and the shorts and bathing suits come out of storage! So to make it fun and stress-free, I’m busting three huge myths about losing weight that most people get stuck on.
You Can’t Eat Fruit
Any diet that tells you to avoid fruit is just plain nuts! I eat at least 2 pieces of whole, fresh fruit a day, like apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges – and this healthy habit keeps afternoon hunger pangs at bay and sweet cravings satisfied. Fruit can be your “skinny” ally because one cup of fresh fruit ranges from 60 to 90 calories, a sweet tasting, filling snack that is calorie friendly. Also, you’re be getting body bonus point because you’re filling yourself up on the good stuff, like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
So what about dried fruit? It still contains anti-oxidant,s but just remember that it has a lot more calories, per volume compared to fresh fruit, since the fruit sugars are concentrated. Fresh fruit is more filling, but you can mix and match – just keep an eye on the quantity of dried fruit. Many dried fruits, like dried plums, come in a nifty 60-calorie pack which is ideal.
What about fruit smoothies? If you’re not making it yourself from a healthy recipe (using whole fruit) skip it. Many chain restaurants and fast food “fruit” smoothies do contain some fruit, but they’ve got a lot of other stuff like sugary syrups that can add up to 500 calories in just one drink!
You Need More Protein
This is one of the biggest dieting myths out there. In fact, the average American consumes about 50% more than they need. How does that happen? In a meat-eating land, the average American consumes 112 grams of protein a day, twice the amount recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.
When health experts say to get enough protein in your diet, they mean that approximately 15 to 30% of your calories should be from protein – after all, protein is crucial for the inner workings of the body that we need not only to build muscle mass, but also to carry out many other biological functions in the body. But the key is to get the right amount. For women 25 years and older, health professionals recommend around 50 grams a day, and for men of the same age around 63 grams.
So let’s take a look at how this adds up in terms of meal choices. Have a baby spinach salad with a sliced grilled chicken breast at 26 grams of protein, 1/2 cup of chick peas at around 10 grams, with a chopped hard-boiled egg at 6 grams, tossed with low-fat dressing and you already have 42 grams of protein for the day! No too tough, right?
Pick heart-healthy, low-fat proteins that aren’t high in saturated fats (which can cause heart disease): Fish, lean pork, eggs, turkey, tofu, and low fat diary products (like yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and kefir), as well as beans are all good sources of lean, high quality protein.
A lot of gym-savvy people tell me that protein bars and shakes help them stay lean, but sadly, most of those products sit on store shelves forever, are loaded with preservatives, sugar, and artificial colorings. Let’s face it, they aren’t real foods at all and full of junk that can harm our insides and outsides!
Carbs are Enemy #1
From low-fat, carb-rich diets in the 80’s to the “no-carb” diets, these crazes get it wrong each time – and when we talk about carbs, I mean carbohydrates from bread, pasta, and grains.
There are only two things you need to know about carbs! How much should you be getting – most people are getting double or triple the amount and don’t even know it! Take the 30 second quiz and find out.
And remember, eat them in “whole grain form” because eating high fiber, whole grains maintains blood sugar which equals maximum fat burning power! Brown rice, faro, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, are all easy to cook and delicious, whereas a lot of the so-called whole grain breads and products on the market have loads of other items like white processed flour, lots of sugar, preservatives, and a host of other things you don’t want or need.
If you can’t do without your bread, look for whole wheat breads that have 100% whole wheat or whole grain and a limited ingredient list and limit it to one or two slices daily, according to what you’ve learned when you took the quiz.