3 Eating Myths Sabotaging Your Progress

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To eat carbs or not to eat carbs, that is the question. Or, wait, is the question to cleanse or not to cleanse? Is it a cheat day or a cheat meal? Is fat friend or foe? Are diet foods dealmakers or deal breakers? What’s fact? What’s fiction? Who to trust? What do believe? Where to turn? There are so many question marks when it comes to diet and nutrition and it’s easy to get lost in all the conflicting reports. And the frustration is real, my friends — it turns out following the wrong advice could actually be setting us back. Here are the most common nutritional myths that could be sabotaging your progress.

1. Diet foods

You’ve resolved to eat healthy, shave of a few pounds and get in shape for the summer — good for you! So, you’re at the grocery store (because, of course, you’re going to cook now) loading up on all the health-wise goods – veggies, fruit, lean meats, and anything with a “low fat,” “sugar free” or “diet” label on it. Sound familiar? If so, STOP. Sorry to say that the truth is, those seemingly “healthy” labels are not going to help the cause. These products are usually over-processed and loaded with chemicals and preservatives that could be messing with hormones and digestion, in turn making it harder to lose weight. Not only that, but, studies have been done to indicate that diet products can actually increase our sweet cravings. Kinda counterintuitive, no? Research also shows that those “low fat” disclaimers actually cause us to consume more calories because we feel like we can have larger portions, guilt-free. #DietFail, indeed!

2. Cheat meals

Whenever you hear of a new fad diet, it almost always includes a “cheat meal.” While there is some indication that taking a break from a strict diet every now and then is good for weight loss, it is the wording and the connotations associated with it that could be setting us back. The word “cheat” assumes you are doing something bad, something wrong, something forbidden. It is associated with negative feelings like guilt and shame. Negative feelings like these can often lead us toward the pantry instead of away: “Well, I’ve already cheated on the diet…might as well just keep eating.”

Instead, take the word “cheat” out of your vocabulary and take a more balanced approach to every meal. The 80/20 rule is touted as one of the most successful nutritional solutions. Following this guideline means that 80 per cent of the time you make the best, smartest and healthiest choices, and 20 per cent of the time you’re free to do what you want — that means you can have that glass of wine, that piece of cake, the oil on your bread without feeling like you’ve ruined the whole thing. Make the best choices where and when you can and don’t sweat the sweet stuff. This will lead to a more balanced, understanding and sustainable plan.

3. Counting calories

For decades we’ve been inundated with the idea that weight management is all about calories in, calories out. Often this mentality makes for calorie-crazed dieters, obsessively checking and counting the values on everything they consume. There are a number of downfalls to this approach. Firstly, it causes people to search for the lowest calorie foods, which in turn brings us back to the first pitfall in this article. Often the “low cal” options are the worst for us. They lack nutrients and are instead packed with chemicals that our bodies simply don’t recognize. Furthermore, it pushes people away from the good stuff. Some of the best foods for us, and our nutrition plans, are calorie dense, and that’s OK, because new research shows that not all calories are created equal. In fact, the research claims that the body actually burns calories from whole foods better than it does its processed counterparts (avocado lovers rejoice!)

Instead of counting calories, count nutrients. Or, count how many colourful whole foods you can eat in one meal. These are the numbers that really matter.

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10 Best Beginner’s Tips To Making Healthier Eating Choices

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If you take anything at all from this post, you should take away the most important rule to eating healthier – it is just simply being aware of what you put in your mouth – that in itself is the is the first and most important step towards healthier eating regardless of your goals.

1. Remove the crap from your kitchen: You know what I mean. Try to remove crisps, chocolate, softdrink, etc. from your kitchen and do NOT buy it at the supermarket. If you’re in a situation where you can’t chuck stuff out (e.g. living with people who aren’t changing their lifestyle) then try tip 2.

2. Hide any tempting snacks out of sight: When snacks are visible you are so, so much more likely to eat them. It’s a psychological fact. Hide the unhealthy choices at the back of the pantry and make them tough to get to.

3. Use a shopping list and eat before grocery shopping: Supermarkets and stores are quite literally designed to make you buy more. Ever noticed the chocolates near the checkouts? It’s not an accident – my first job was as a checkout chick and our management called it the “Impulse Bar”. Use a shopping list and stick to it to the letter. Eating a meal before you go will also reduce impulse buying!

4. Prepare meals in bulk: Not only are homecooked meals less likely to contain a whole range of chemicals and preservatives, but they also mean you save money and time, and you have all the control over what goes into them. Great meals for reheating include soups, stews, curry, stir-fry and sauces. If you like salads, why not prepare some diced beef or chicken with a sauce of your choice (e.g. Teriyaki chicken) to reheat and pour over fresh-bought veges throughout the week? It gives you a hot salad that will hit the spot and be much more beneficial than pairing them with rice.

5. Prepare healthy snacks in advance – make them visible and easy: You can also pre-prepare snacks by buying a large packet of nuts, some mini-protein bars, and some canned fish/chicken/turkey – bulk buying these with some large sandwich bags means you can pack snacks for yourself in advance. Put the little bags in the fruit bowl or on the counter in an easy-to-grab location and keep one in your handbag for when you get a craving – you’ll know you have an easy, convenient, and healthy option close by!

6. Use smaller plates and dishes to control portion size: Here’s an experiment for you… Get two bananas, put one on a small plate and put the other on a large plate. No matter how close to identical those two bananas are, your brain will tell you that the small plate has a bigger banana on it, and it will communicate that info to your stomach. This is a simple and terrific way of improving portion control.

7. Use your calorie tracker as a meal planner: If you don’t have time/patience to enter your meals after you eat each mouthful, then take 5 minutes in the morning on the bus/train or at your desk to enter what you think you will eat that day. This will let you know if you need to cut back on any snacks you realise you can’t afford, and also allow you to keep your meal plan in mind as you move through the day. It also lets you know when you have calories left over with which to enjoy a little bit more of something you love!

8. Start tracking at your biggest meal of the day: Although it takes some fiddling, you can change meal names on most calorie trackers. Make your first meal ‘Dinner’ if that’s your largest meal, and track from 5pm to 5pm instead of midnight to midnight. This way, if you go overboard on dinner, you can dial back your breakfast and lunch the next day to compensate, since that will likely be more comfortable for you than scaling back dinner.

9. Make one change at a time: It can be tempting to turn around one day and think “Right! I suck at this eating business – I’m going to eat salads for every meal and only drink water and track everything and it’ll be wonderful!”. Bzzzzzt – wrong! This so rarely works, and is a recipe for disaster and feelings of disappointment in yourself when you fail. There are very, very few people in this world who can change everything at once (I’m not one of them!) that I always recommend trying to make one change (e.g. cut down to one can of soft drink a day) then when you can maintain that change for a month, moving onto the next goal. It’s slow, but it will be effective. Other steps you can take (one by one!) to clean up your diet and/or portion sizes include:

  • add another serving of veges to whatever you eat now
  • cutting down your ’empty’ carb servings
  • cutting down on alcohol intake
  • drinking more water (instead of soft drink, fruit juice, etc.)
  • drink green tea instead of milky/sugary coffee drinks
  • track your protein intake and aim for at least 0.8x your body weight in lbs
  • try to keep your sugar intake under 50g per day
  • serve your meat with extra veges instead of rice/bread/pasta
  • replace rice with cauliflower rice (grated cauliflower fried in a pan with some oil/onion)
  • replace pasta with spaghetti squash
  • reduce the amount of butter, mayonnaise and cheese on sandwiches or burgers
  • substitute unhealthy snacks with protein bars, nuts, tuna, etc.

10. Use the 90/10 or 80/20 guideline – also known as “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”: The 90/10 guideline is basically that you eat good stuff for 90% of your calories, but 10% is whatever you want… even if it’s just pure lard or beer or whatever your guilty vice of choice happens to be. If you’re following a diet, it will be very very unlikely that you can stick to it 100% because we’re all human and so many opportunities come up in day-to-day life to try to lead us astray from all the healthy options. Enjoy a little snack each day, or save up your 10% to have one or two meals each week which don’t fit into your eating plan. Enjoy life and don’t be disappointed if you have a crap day!

Remember: Health is a journey, not a race – so just make the healthiest choices you can, when you can, and don’t beat yourself up when it’s not quite working!
Just do what you can – every little change and every little healthy decision is an improvement on doing nothing at all.

 

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9 Science Backed, Human Tested Weight Loss Rules (That Work!)

When describing how you really feel about the latest miracle fix in the diet and fitness world, you’d probably be like What the f…? After all, how many times have you trusted logical sounding ideas, put all your faith in a diet strategy, only to find out that the time you invested was a waste—and you still haven’t dropped the weight?

Consider this your What the f… free zone. No fads, no faking, and no frustration. You see, when you really dig into the science and research, most of what you have correctly assumed about dieting is in fact actually wrong. No, really, trust me on this when I say that your assumptions are all wrong.

So, take your time now and ‘re’-discover the truth here. The only thoughts after would be “Finally. Fat loss that works!”

1. Skip Breakfast If You Want
The one diet rule we’ve heard more than any other: A healthy diet begins with a great breakfast. There’s just one problem: A good breakfast doesn’t guarantee an overall healthy diet. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the NPD group, nearly 90 percent of Americans now eat breakfast, and yet nearly 50 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. There are two things you should know about breakfast:

1. Timing isn’t as important as you think. You don’t need to eat immediately (or even within one hour) after you wake up. Your metabolism won’t be harmed.

2. Eating an early breakfast means you’re creating a bigger eating window (you eat for more total hours during the day), which might lead to fat storage and health problems, according to scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. If you eat your first meal at 7 a.m. and eat a late-night snack at 10 p.m., that’s 15 hours of eating—which might be more than your body wants.

The no-nonsense truth:

No meal is more important than any other. What matters most is total calorie intake, food selection (think salad versus Big Mac), and then how much time you spend eating each day. So if you don’t love breakfast, skip it. If you do, enjoy your morning meal but keep an eye on your feeding window to make sure you’re not eating more calories than you need.

2. It’s alright to eat a big dinner.

We all know that dinner is the most popular meal to eat with friends and family, but most people think eating after dark is the cardinal sin of weight loss. Nothing could be more incorrect. Italian researchers compared eating earlier in the day (10 a.m.) to eating later in the day (6 p.m.) In that study, there was no difference in weight (pounds) lost, but the late eaters lost more fat. Several follow-up studies concluded the same thing—timing doesn’t matter. This statement from University of Oregon researchers sums it up well: “Eating too many calories causes weight gain regardless of when you eat them.”

The no-nonsense truth:

Living in a world where you can’t eat at night and can’t enjoy food with your friends and family is restrictive and doesn’t adhere to any science-backed rules of weight loss. You won’t become fat by eating at night—that will only happen if you overeat at night. If you’re aware of how much you should be eating within any given day, you can place those calories in whatever meal works best for your body.

3. Snacking Does Not Affect Metabolism
We know that when you eat, you burn calories. So about 30 years ago, it was determined that if you eat more frequently, you must burn more calories overall, and thus the “grazing” method was formed and a nation of people began consuming four to six small meals per day. One small problem: French researchers found that there is “no evidence of improved weight loss” by eating more frequently. They even went one step further to show that when it comes to the number of calories you burn per day (i.e. your metabolism), it does not matter if you graze or gorge, assuming that you’re eating the total number of calories you need to lose weight.

The no-nonsense truth:

If you’re told to eat 2,000 calories per day, it doesn’t matter if it’s separated into five 400-calorie meals or two 1000-calorie feasts. (However the composition of those meals does matter.) What works best for your schedule should determine the number of meals you eat. When Canadian researchers compared eating three meals per day to six meals per day, breaking the six into three main meals and three snacks, there was no significant difference in weight loss, but those who ate three meals were more satisfied and felt less hunger.

4. Eat Carbs To Get Lean
From Atkins to the Paleo movement, carbohydrates have been criticized more than all of the ladies on the Real Housewives (of somewhere) shows—combined. Here’s the real reason why carbs get such a bad reputation: Up to 50 percent of the carbohydrate intake in the typical American diet is in the form of highly processed carbs and sugar. So when people say carbs are bad, they’re usually just talking about eating lots of sugar. But that’s not really fair to every other food that also is labeled a carbohydrate.

When compared to a typical American diet, a low-carb diet looks like the undisputed champ. However when compared to a good carb-based diet that is low in sugar, refined foods, and gluten (like the “Japanese Diet”), the results are very different. Before 1991, when Japan was considered a carb-dominate society, diabetes and obesity rates were never greater than three percent of the population. If carbs in general were the enemy, with their high starch intake via rice and sweet potatoes, the Japanese would be the fattest, most diabetic and unhealthy population on the planet. However this was not the case, and their levels of obesity are a “problem” people in the United States wish they had.

The no-nonsense truth:

Your body needs carbohydrates. If you completely remove this essential nutrient from your diet, you could experience a down-regulation of the hormones that control fat loss, making it harder to have the lean, sexy body you want. A good general rule: Eat more carbs on the days you’re active and fewer carbs on the days you’re sedentary. And make sure most of your carbs come from whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.

5. There is a weight loss pill worth buying
Most miracle “fat-burning supplements” are about as effective as an hour of Prancercizing. But if you want to take a pill to help promote fat loss, your best bet is a vitamin that you associate with the sun. Researchers from Canada found that people with higher levels of vitamin D also have lower levels of body fat. The connection isn’t a coincidence. Vitamin D helps you feel fuller because, according to Australian researchers, it releases more leptin, a hormone essential to weight loss. It also helps you store less fat by decreasing parathyroid hormone, which makes you hold on to your love handles. Best of all, vitamin D literally burns more fat by reducing production of the stress hormone cortisol.

The no-nonsense truth:

Buying supplements to help you lose weight is not the best use of your hard-earned money. Your foundation is a healthy diet and exercise. But some supplements can help fill nutritional gaps that will help your body function more efficiently. Supplementing with 2,000 to 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 is a smart investment for your overall health and fat-loss goals.

6. Exercise On An Empty Stomach
If you exercise with a high intensity, there’s nothing worse than feeling sick to your stomach because you felt forced to eat before you hit the gym or pavement. There’s a lot of science that shows eating before a workout is important, but “before a workout” is a much wider time range than you might think.

In the simplest sense, your digestive process is very complicated. When you eat, the food does not go directly to your muscles or your gut. It takes time—a lot of time, in fact. So if you eat many hours before you train, there’s still plenty of fuel to help you perform and feel great.

The no-nonsense truth:

Research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that the protein you eat digests anywhere between one gram per hour and 10 grams per hour. So if you have a meal consisting of 25 grams of protein, that meal could last in your system for up to 25 hours. Hydration level and sleep patterns also play a significant role in performance, so make sure you’re well rested and have plenty to drink, and then eat when it feels best for your body, even if it means a small meal or no meal at all.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

7. Consider Fasting For Better Health
Any diet that has you not eat at all is not a diet—it’s starvation. But there’s a difference between withholding what your body needs and reprogramming your body so that you can control your hunger and let your body recharge. The idea of fasting is nothing crazy. You do it every night when you sleep, which is a time that that is essential for optimal health. Yet the idea of going several hours without eating during daytime is frowned upon.

When done correctly, fasting can actually help your body burn fat, recharge, and stay healthy. You’ve probably heard of cleanse diets that supposedly rid your body of toxins, improve the functioning of your internal organs, and help you age better. Most of these don’t work as advertised. The only real cleanse occurs at the cellular level. It’s called autophagy, and it’s your body’s ability to regenerate and become better. Autophagy makes your brain function a little better, helps with fat loss, and even assists in your ability to walk and breathe. But the more time you spend eating—as in actual hours during the day eating—the less time you spend in the autophagic process, which is why fasting isn’t a bad thing.

The no-nonsense truth:

Researchers at the University of Utah found that people who fasted just one day per month were 40 percent less likely to suffer from clogged arteries. While there are many ways to fast, the important point is that you shouldn’t feel forced to eat if you’re not hungry. Short daily fasts (for 12 to 16 hours) or a once-per-week daily fast can have health benefits, and it will teach you to separate boredom or thirst from genuine hunger.

8. Going Organic Won’t Help With Losing Weight
I love my local farmer’s market, and I always do my best to purchase products from the best sources. That said, slapping “organic” on a label does not mean it will help you lose weight, and in some instances it won’t even guarantee that a food is healthy. Research published in the Annal of Internal Medicine reviewed 200 studies that compared the health benefits of organic foods to conventional foods and the results were surprising: There were no clearly distinguishable benefits of eating organic foods, whether measured by preventing disease or an assessment of overall health. Specific to weight loss, a random comparison of organic to non-organic foods found no significant difference in nutritional information, including calories.

The no-nonsense truth:

More research on organic foods needs to be conducted. There’s no doubt organic foods have fewer pesticides and toxins, the real question is if the sometimes-small difference in toxins makes any scientifically significant difference on your health. More importantly, labeling a food as organic does not mean its weight-loss friendly. Organic sources of sugar are still sugar. And organic products loaded with 1,000 calories are still 1,000 calories. If you want to reduce the potential of anything bad entering your body, feel free to purchase organic products but still keep an eye on the label.

9. There is no such thing as ‘Too Much Protein’.
You may have heard that eating lots of protein can cause all sorts of health problems, including kidney stones and gallstones, but this is a moot point for most people. Why? Because there’s no research showing any relationship between eating a lot of protein and developing kidney problems. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditional Research tested eating up to 400 grams of protein per day without any negative consequences.

If you have a preexisting kidney problem, it’s possible that a higher protein diet could be hard on your body. But if you have a kidney problem, you should be talking to your doctor about your diet anyway.

The no-nonsense truth:

If you’re healthy, you are clear to eat protein and not worry about any health problems—because there are none. What’s more, protein is one of the most metabolic macronutrients, meaning that the more protein you eat, the more calories you burn. Just remember that calories are still calories so the rules of total intake still apply.

 

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10 Benefits Of Being A Vegan

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Modern eating begets tons of trends and cults – and many of them come and go, some quicker than others. But veganism will not be fleeting — its advocates

are devotees are numerous, and there are plenty of good reasons that vegans make the big lifestyle change and stick to it.

To many women, vegan diet is really the only way of eating that delivers such a variety of benefits. If you’re sitting on the fence, or just considering
turning vegan for the first time, consider these 7 benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

1. Reduces risk of cancer.

Plant foods contain phytochemicals, which can reduce risk for cancer – simple enough.

2. Lowers blood cholesterol.

Replacing animal fats with plant fats helps to lower blood cholesterol and reduces risk for heart disease. A balanced vegan diet means a wide variety of
plant foods: legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Plus, look for foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 (or a B12 supplement.)

See five “odd” veggies that boost female metabolism and kill belly fat.

3. Increases intake of dietary fiber.

Replacing animal proteins with plant proteins like beans increases fiber content of the diet and improves intestinal health. One way to keep the vegan diet
balanced is to learn to love legumes. This food group includes all types of beans and lentils, all of the soy products like tofu and veggie meats, and also
peanuts and peanut butter. They are great sources of protein for vegans and can help you feel more satisfied as you transition to a new way of eating.

4. Reduces risk of diabetes.

Vegans sometimes have lower body weights which can reduce risk for diabetes. When you change to a new way of eating, it’s important to make sure you know
the ropes. This means knowing how to meet nutrient needs because it is different from the ways you are sources to getting these nutrients from. However, as
long as you’re eating a balanced vegan diet and taking appropriate supplements, there is no risk associated with veganism.

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

5. Increases Vitamin C intake.

Eating more plants can improve intake of certain nutrients like folate, potassium, and vitamin C.

6. Eliminates excess body fat.

Consuming less calories because you eat less saturated fat will magically make you weigh less as well. The plant-based, vegan diet involves consumption of
fewer calories and you will eventually start feeling fuller with vegetables and fruits then you ever did with processed foods and meats.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

7. Improves vision.

Vegetables and fruits can help with night vision and the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin A helps with the overall health of your
eyes and carrots are packed with this vitamin. Your eyesight can significantly improve with this vegan diet or at least not deteriorate with age.

8. Saves you money.

Eating meat and dairy products can be extremely expensive. But with a plant-based, vegan diet, you can grow most of the foods you are eating by yourself. You
can also buy them from local farmers or local cooperatives that can save you money.

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

9. Reduces risk of breast cancer.

Vegans often eat foods with soy, which can reduce risk for breast cancer.

10. Compassion and kindness to the world.

Generosity certainly plays a part in health, and the vegan lifestyle impacts more than your own body. Plants take less of a toll on the environment, eating
vegan frees up the world’s grain supply to be used by developing countries, and a vegan diet requires lower quantities of water.

Veganism can lower risk for chronic disease, has a smaller carbon footprint than diets that include animal foods, and is a kinder and more compassionate way
of eating. There is no other dietary pattern that can boast such a range of impacts.

 

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6 Tips To Fully Embrace Clean Eating

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A dramatic change to clean eating can be difficult – but when you’re changing your eating habits for a clearer mind and a healthier body, I think it’s
totally worth the initial starting pains.

To help you transition to to clean eating habits, here are 6 tips that anyone can use.

1. Get rid of all the junk food.
If the junk food is in your house, you are more likely to eat it. This might be tricky if someone in your home isn’t on board with a change in eating habits
and they still want processed foods and treats around.

Try to help them understand that you are eating clean for your health! If they insist on keeping the junk, you can always encourage them to pick things that
aren’t as tempting for you or to keep them hidden out of sight, even you don’t know where to find them.

See five “odd” veggies that boost female metabolism and kill belly fat.

2. Everyone can eat clean, not just you.
What I love about eating clean is that it isn’t a diet, it is all about eating whole, healthy foods that everyone should be eating in any case. Cook dinners
for the whole family that are healthy, even if everyone isn’t trying to lose weight. If you are constantly making a meal for you and a meal for the rest of
the family you will get frustrated easily and fall back to your old eating habits.

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

3. Your fridge should be filled with fruits and vegetables.
When I first started eating clean I could hardly believe the contents of my shopping cart and how easy it was to shop. I bought tons of fruits and
vegetables. If they are what you have around the house, it is what you will reach for when you need a snack.

4. Preparation will help a lot.
For a lot of people, they need convenience foods, and healthy foods aren’t always convenient. Try cutting up and washing fruits and vegetables all at once
or right when you bring them home. That way when you open the fridge for a snack you can grab a bag of sliced strawberries rather than a sugar packed granola
bar or greasy chips.

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

5. Eat when you are hungry, don’t wait for a meal.
When we dramatically change eating habits we tend to feel hungry easily. The best advice is to just eat whenever you feel hungry. Keep some nuts handy at all
times if you can’t get to a fruit. When you get really hungry you might get tempted to reach for something unhealthy to satisfy the hunger – so having nuts
handy at all time will satisfy your cravings.

Do “Healthy” Foods Force You To Gain Weight?

6. Don’t let you cooking get boring. Experiment with recipes.
If you eat the same things over and over again, you will get bored and are more likely to fall off the wagon. Try new recipes. Some will be total misses and
others will become family favorites. When you are looking for a recipe read comments on a blog or the reviews on a site to make sure its a good fit for you
– Pinterest is great for recipes. Also, don’t be afraid to substitute things on recipes you’ve already used.

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