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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 October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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