Diets are filled with dogma about when, what and how much to eat. Certainly “the rules” are usually based on observations that make sense, but unless you understand why you do certain things, you’ll break the rules as soon as the temptation is greater than your motivation.
Let’s examine some of these myths, where they come from and how to make long term changes that will work for you.
Click here for myth 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Myth #5: Follow Your Diet Six Days a Week Then You Can Have a Cheat Day
This is absurd! What if you were a harsh, overly strict parent six days a week then completely ignored your kids every Saturday? How would this approach work for your marriage or managing your employees?
It just doesn’t make sense to try to be perfect (whatever that is) Sunday through Friday while obsessing about everything you’re going to eat on your day off. Then on Saturday you overeat just because you’re allowed to so you end up feeling miserable all day. Huh? Personally, I would rather enjoy eating the foods I love every day mindfully and in moderation. I call this being “in charge” instead of going back and forth between being in control and out of control.
Myth #6: Eat X Number of Calories (or X Number of Points) Every Day
Does it make sense that you would need exactly the same amount of fuel every day? Aren’t there just days when you are hungrier than others, maybe because of your activity levels or hormonal cycles?
Rather than setting yourself up to “cheat” on those hungry days and forcing yourself to eat more food than you want on your less hungry days, allow yourself the flexibility to adjust your intake based on your actual needs rather than an arbitrary number. Important: for this to work long term, you also need to learn to tell the difference between physical hunger and head hunger.
Myth #7: Carbs are Bad (or Fat is Bad)
This “good food-bad food” thinking makes certain foods special. As a result, you may feel deprived and think about them even more than you did before. Worse yet, healthy foods become a four- letter word.
The truth is all foods fit into a healthy diet. Since different foods have various nutritional qualities and calorie content, you can use the principles of balance, variety and moderation to guide you without trying to restrict an entire food group.
Truth: You Are In Charge
I assume the rule-makers are well-intentioned and don’t realize that they’ve created a tight rope that most people will fall off of sooner or later. If your head hadn’t already told you that all these rules are crazy, wasn’t your heart saying there had to be a better way?
It’s time to give yourself a wider path that you can stay on forever. Allow yourself the flexibility to make any decision as long as you consider the advantages and disadvantages of your choices and always keep self-care in mind.
What other diet-related myths have you heard? Share your thoughts and weight loss tips in the box below.