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There’s no magic formula for healthy eating and weight loss. All carbs, proteins, and fats come in good and bad forms. A smart food plan for good nutrition and sustainable weight loss won’t be found in a single “diet” or elusive Ultimate Eating Plan. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard! Below are diet myths you can get out of your head right now:

diet myths

Diet Myth #1:  There is one mythical diet that works; other diets don’t work.

If you have historically eaten like crap (please excuse the technical jargon), and then you start to eat better – and less – you will lose weight. Diets all pretty much work about the same. Comparative studies of commercial diets don’t reveal a winner. When diets succeed, it’s because the dieter was able to stick to a plan. Put another way, it’s not the diet – it’s you! Diets are “food rules” that help you eat fewer calories and make better decisions when you face food choices. Any smart decision will help – like vegetables instead of cake, don’t eat too many calories at once, don’t eat a pile of food late at night. You don’t need complicated “phases” or super-strict plans. Make smart decisions most of the time and you’ll be just fine!

Diet Myth #2:  You can melt off pounds by eliminating (carbs, fat, gluten, etc.)

Needless restrictions (NO this, or NO that) cause frustration and confusion, and divert us from the important nutrition concepts. There’s no magic formula for weight loss. All macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) come in good and bad forms. Healthy carbs (vegetables, legumes, fruit, and whole grains) are healthy. Processed sugars and refined starches (like white rice and white bread) are less healthy, especially if you eat too much of them. Trans fats (fried food, hydrogenated oils) are harmful. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, olive oil, fish, and nuts are good for us. Proteins can come in unhealthy packages (bacon, hot dogs, etc.), but most data shows that eating healthy protein (organic meat and poultry, fish, etc.) helps manage your blood sugar levels and your weight.

Focus less on the quest for a magic ratio of macronutrients, and more on eating the better quality options. And definitely focus on eating less food overall! Carbs and fats taste awesome, so we eat too many of them. See Easy Ways To Lose Weight for some simple ideas for making better choices.

Diet Myth #3:  But there must be ONE diet that works – I’ve tried EVERYTHING…

No you haven’t. If you have, you wouldn’t be struggling.

food jail

That’s the biggest diet myth. The “diet” with the best success rate does not have an infomercial or a celebrity behind it, and is not about counting carbs or eliminating certain foods. In fact, it’s not a “diet” at all. It’s a smart way of eating — one that’s not focused on restrictions, but on healthy choices and habits. Eating like this will yield easy weight loss, plus lead to reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Instead of food restrictions/eliminations or absolutes, focus on the big concepts: less harmful meat and sugar, more veggies and other natural foods, and not too much food overall. When you do this, you’ll find that most of your food shopping will happen on the outer aisles of a grocery store, not the processed foods in the inner aisles.

Make good food a habit

Always keep good food handy at home and at work. Don’t keep junk food around. Make it easy to eat well – bring your healthy lunches and snacks to work with you, so you don’t have to wonder what you’ll eat during the day.

Willpower will always fail you eventually, so make it easy to choose the right foods. When you look at your average week – eating out, coffee shops, grocery store, food in your refrigerator and pantry – find easy ways to make smart changes. Be one of the many successful people who have broken the diet myths!