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Dieting: Misconceptions & Sensible Strategies

Dieting: Misconceptions & Sensible Strategies

Little Gems

  • A calorie is just a unit of energy, and not all calories are created equal when it comes to what you consume
  • For most people, carbs should be an essential part of a balanced diet
  • Focusing solely on diet without considering other lifestyle factors like exercise, sleep and stress management can limit your results
  • A balanced diet ensures satiety and supports a heightened baseline of bodily functions
  • Eating more protein is supportive of almost EVERY goal
  • You only have one body to live in for the rest of your life, so you should desire to give it the best you can

Let's Kick Things Off

With so many diet trends and quick-fix suggestions out there, it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed about what really constitutes a healthy approach. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around that can lead people to develop incorrect assumptions about particular food groups or diet protocols. Today, I am clearing up some common diet myths and sharing sensible tips to help you achieve lasting success on your health journey.

Common Misconceptions

1. All Calories Are Equal

A calorie is just a unit of energy, and not all calories are created equal when it comes to what you consume. Macro and micro nutrients are used differently for all of the processes in the body. For example, 100 calories of protein aren’t used the same as 100 calories of fat. It also requires more energy to break down protein, which is referred to as the thermic effect of food. So, 100 calories “consumed” at the mouth doesn’t necessarily equal the same 100 calories digested and stored.

2. Carbs Are the Enemy

Carbohydrates, or carb-rich foods like bread, pasta and rice for example, have gotten a bad rap over the years. For most people, they are an essential part of a balanced diet. It is true that a very, very small part of the population could benefit from eliminating carbs from their diet, but that doesn’t mean they need to be cut out of your diet, especially if you have no health issues and just want to lose fat/weight. Carbs can still be consumed even when trying to lose weight, the key is in your portions. You will create more sustainable results if you learn how to incorporate carbs into your diet while losing fat, instead of cutting them out completely for a short period of time. Most people will just start eating them again and will likely put all the weight back on, not directly because of the carbs, but for the extra total calories consumed.

3. Fat Makes You Fat

Not all fats are bad. Healthy fats, like those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil, are vital for brain function, hormone production and cell health. It is trans fats you should avoid and excessive saturated fats that you should minimise.

4. Skipping Meals Is Superior for Fat Loss

A consistent trend I see in new clients is their process of aggressively restricting food intake to 1-2 meals a day, and still not being able to lose any weight. For some reason, skipping meals can often hinder your weight loss efforts. Potentially by slowing down the metabolism and then overconsuming late at night. Eating regular, balanced meals maintains a steady appetite, seems to aid metabolism, helps maintain energy and blood sugar levels, and reduces aimless snacking on high calorie foods. All current studies also demonstrate that there is no difference in fat loss when comparing individuals who follow intermittent fasting and those eating frequently throughout the day when caloric intake is equal.

5. Dieting Alone is Enough

Focusing solely on diet without considering other lifestyle factors like exercise, sleep and stress management can limit your results. A holistic approach is essential for long-term success.

Sensible Strategies

1. Balanced Nutrition

Aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Incorporate a few serves of veg and/or fruit, proteins, healthy fats, fibre and mostly complex carbs or simple carbs around training. This ensures satiety and supports a heightened baseline of bodily functions, training output and recovery, sleep and stress management and general well-being.

2. Portion Control

Pay attention to the portions you consume to avoid overeating. Most people don’t have to completely eliminate food groups, and could benefit from eating more appropriate portions instead. Use smaller plates, educate yourself or invest in someone who can help guide you, listen to your body’s hunger cues and practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and eating slower.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is crucial for overall health and can aid in weight management. Sometimes our bodies confuse thirst with hunger, leading to unnecessary hunger. 

4. Consistent Meal Times

Establish a regular eating schedule to maintain stable blood sugar levels and avoid extreme hunger. As the commercial goes, you’re not you when you’re hungry, and trying to pick something reasonable to eat when you are hungry often leads to poor food choices. Where possible, try to eat meals at the same time each day to create a rhythm.

5. Prioritise Protein

Eating more protein is supportive of almost EVERY goal. Protein is crucial for repair, growth, and overall health. Increasing your protein intake to approximately 1.8g-2.2g per kilogram of body weight can help you feel fuller for longer, reduce cravings and help you burn more calories. Aiming for a balanced diet with adequate protein for your needs can improve your energy levels, enhance your performance during workouts and recovery after workouts.

6. Mindful Eating

It sounds simple, and almost crazy not to do, but simply paying attention to what you eat and why you eat it is empowering. Avoid distractions like watching tv or working while eating. Mindful eating helps you enjoy your food more and prevents overeating. Understanding why you eat/need certain foods helps create intention when putting meals together.

7. Plan and Prepare

Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to ensure you have healthy options available, especially when you start feeling hungry. Meal prepping can save time and reduce temptation to reach for unhealthy convenience foods.

8. Listen to Your Body

Your body knows best. Pay attention to how you feel when making dietary changes and don’t just listen to someone else’s opinion as gospel, not even mine. It is important that you have discernment when considering the advice of a viral post you saw on social media or the latest headlines spewed out by mainstream media. Seek knowledge, education and experience. After all, you only have one body to live in for the rest of your life, so you should desire to give it the best you can.

The Wrap Up

Navigating the world of dieting can be challenging and overwhelming, but by debunking common misconceptions, empowering yourself with information and adopting sensible strategies, you can achieve lasting success and clarity.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting. It’s about finding what works for your body and your lifestyle. Focus on balanced nutrition, portion control and mindful eating to support your health and well-being.

Here’s to making informed, sustainable choices that lead to a healthier, happier you!

Yours in good health,

Nick Knows Programs

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