The world of dieting is filled with do’s and don’ts. It’s easy to get lost in the mixed messages and fall into a habit of deprivation believing it’s best for you. While it’s important to make mindful choices about what you eat, dieting doesn’t always have to be difficult. If you’re struggling to avoid these taboo practices, you can ease up on yourself. They might actually be good for you.
Eating Before Exercise
There’s a common myth that fasting before a workout will force your body to burn more fat. The facts may seem to support this, as you can shed weight by working out on an empty stomach, but you’ll ultimately lose that weight from the wrong place. A study of cyclists compared those who ate before training versus those who fasted. Both groups burned the same amount of fat, but those who fasted also burned some calories from protein, including their muscle mass.
Burning away your muscles isn’t a healthy way to lose weight. It’s far better to fuel your body properly for a high-intensity workout that will help you sculpt and maintain muscles while burning fat. So, go ahead and enjoy a light breakfast or healthy snack.
Caving to Carb Cravings
Diets like the Atkins diet and Keto diet have generated a lot of buzz for helping people lose weight while severely restricting their carb intake. Though carbs get a bad rap, they offer a lot of benefits when included in a healthy way. There’s evidence that nutritious carbs like whole grains can promote the feel-good chemical serotonin. Soluble fiber, like that in oatmeal, can lower cholesterol levels. Just switching from refined grains to whole grains can reduce belly fat.
Eating at Night
Many dieters fear that eating late at night will cause weight gain, but depriving yourself of a reasonable bedtime snack could have the opposite effect. If you go to bed starving, your low blood sugar levels might keep you up. You’ll also wake craving a sugary carb-filled breakfast which will wreak havoc on any eating plan. Have a sensible snack like apple slices and almond butter and let go of the guilt. Track your snacks with Lifesum, and eat any time.
Enjoying Some Sugar
It’s no secret that refined sugars aren’t good for you but pursuing a completely sugar-free diet isn’t as healthy as you might think. The sugars found in highly processed foods increase your risk for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, there are some healthy sugars as well. The natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables come with the fiber that’s needed to digest them at a healthy rate. These whole foods also have valuable nutrients, like the potassium in a banana or the vitamin C in an orange.
Approach dieting taboos with caution and reason. Before you deprive yourself of a favorite food or adjust your eating times uncomfortably, examine those don’ts a little closer and see if you can find a healthier way of enjoying what you love.