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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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