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What Most People Get Wrong About Dieting

What Most People Get Wrong About Dieting

At one time in your life, you’ve probably been on some sort of diet – whether you’ve consciously reduced your carbohydrate intake, cut out dairy products or even tried surviving off miracle-promising nutrition shakes. In today’s day and age, diet trends are a dime a dozen and nearly everyone has encountered a fad that they’ve either tried or advocated.

While some diet trends are effective, others may actually strip your body of essential nutrients, leaving you with overwhelming cravings or the opposite effect of your desired results. The reality is that you don’t need an expensive trainer, fancy meal plan or miracle pill to lose weight. What you really need in order to successfully achieve and maintain a healthy weight is education.

With so many Americans dieting today, countless misnomers exist that are not only wrong but may also act as obstacles to your ultimate goal.

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Misconception #1: You Have to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight

One of the first steps people often take when starting a new diet is drastically reducing their food intake. While this is an obvious tactic that may prove effective if sustained over time, there is a catch. Depriving your body of food for a lengthy period of time – whether it’s several hours or several days – can actually have the opposite effect.

According to FitnessHealth101.com, starving yourself will help you drop pounds fast, but only in the form of water weight. Once your water weight is gone, your weight loss will slow down exponentially. In addition, because your body turns to muscle before fat as a source of energy, you will notice a decrease in muscle mass before you see a loss in body fat.

This will ultimately lead to decreased energy, lethargy, mood swings, and a slowed metabolism, which will hinder you from maintaining a productive diet and fitness regimen. Instead, eat healthy foods that are high in protein in small portions throughout the day to keep your metabolism working steadily and your energy levels high.

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Misconception #2: You Should Avoid Carbohydrates

This is a common misconception about dieting because many people believe that carbohydrates cause weight gain. Popular diets such as Paleo, Atkins, Ketogenic, and South Beach are all designed to decrease your carb load and help you shed pounds quickly.

While reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates (soda, fruit juice, cookies, etc.) in your diet will certainly make an impact, you do not need to cut out carbohydrates altogether in order to see results. In fact, according to Health.com, including certain complex carbohydrates in your diet may actually help you lose weight.

High-carbohydrate foods such as vegetables, beans, potatoes, and whole grains fill you up so you eat less throughout the day, help you control your blood sugar, speed up your metabolism, and reduce cravings.

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Misconception #3: You Can Eat Whatever You Want if You Exercise

Most people live under the guise that as long as you exercise regularly, you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Weight loss is contingent upon the ratio of calories consumed versus calories burned, so if your goal is to reduce your body weight, you need to keep track of the number of calories you are eating and those you are working off through exercise.

For example, if you burn 500 calories running on a treadmill, but eat a couple extra slices of pizza, you’re likely breaking even or even falling behind. Find a balance between the number of calories you eat (and the sources of those calories) and the amount of exercise in which you engage.

Aim for a manageable daily goal, such as reducing your food intake by 250 calories and increasing your caloric burn through exercise by 250 calories in order to attain a deficit. This may be as simple as trading your morning mocha for tea and taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator up to your office each day.

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Misconception #4: All Calories are Created Equal

When it comes to calories, 100 calories of pasta is the same as 100 calories of tuna, right? Wrong! Your body processes everything you consume in very different ways. According to AuthorityNutrition.com, your body uses much more energy to metabolize protein than fat and carbohydrates, providing a “metabolic advantage” that speeds your metabolism and burns more calories.

Foods that are high in protein are also known to keep you satiated longer so you eat less throughout the day. To ensure that you get the proper amount of protein each day, you can supplement your diet by adding healthy protein shakes. If you decide to go this route, be sure to properly research the best options available as there are many products that contain unnecessary fillers.

Alternatively, foods that are high in simple carbohydrates or fructose cause your blood sugar levels to spike, so you may feel full immediately after consumption, but you are more likely to feel hungry again just a short time later.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to succumb to fad diets or cheap gimmicks in order to lose weight. Instead, maintain a diet that encompasses a healthy balance of whole foods, proteins, and complex carbohydrates, while including regular exercise and plenty of water.

Making these effective lifestyle changes will provide lasting results instead of “quick fixes” that will only leave you frustrated…and hungry!

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Sara Jane Adkins

Blogger at Natural Healthy Living

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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