Why And How To Avoid Tempting Fad Diets

 

How to avoid fad diets

It’s January, it’s a new year, and almost every magazine or health related email you open this month will have advice on what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

It can be really tempting to try the latest fad diet that the fitness and/or diet industry is promoting.  It’s a normal human response to be intrigued by all the marketing that these industries roll out in January… especially if you’ve gained a few pounds over the holidays.

While I completely understand the desire to want to lose weight quickly, research continues to  show us that restrictive dieting is not very effective long term and can potentially do you more harm than good.

Some of the reasons diets fail you are:

  • They slow down your metabolism
  • They cause you to store fat, not burn it
  • They’re unsustainable for most people’s lifestyle
  • They are a means to manipulate bodies to become a size they were never designed to be
  • When you stop starving yourself and go back to normal calorie-consumption, you WILL gain weight
  • Lack of energy due to being hungry
  • Some diets ask you to eliminate entire food groups and key nutrients
  • They can cause binge eating due to a scarcity mentality
  • They can cause stress which is known to cause belly fat due to hormonal changes in the body

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose unwanted weight.  I recently lost a few pounds after recovering from a broken foot.  What’s important to remember is that long term, sustainable, weight loss happens when you focus more on health and less on the size of your jeans.

Healthy weight loss is not about counting calories just to reach a number on a scale.  It’s about feeling good, having plenty of energy, feeding your brain properly, creating balance in your life, being happy,  and allowing your body to settle into it’s own natural and healthy weight.   Things like eating the appropriate amount of food, cutting back on the foods and or liquids that you know are excessive,  avoiding overly processed foods, and meal planning are all considered healthy eating, not starvation diets or skipping meals entirely.

HERE ARE Seven TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT DIETING

1) Eat enough food.  It absolutely amazes me that there are still diets out on the market today that recommend dangerously low calorie meal plans when the science says otherwise.  Your body will get really good at storing what it doesn’t get enough of.  For example, if you eliminate fat from your diet, your body will not want to burn fat. It will want to store fat.  Sound nutritional research tells us that you need to eat fat in order to burn fat.  I am a firm believer that the low fat and low carb craze has contributed heavily to the weight issues in the United States.

Instead of restricting what you eat, you’ll find more success when you focus on a balanced diet that is centered around whole foods.   A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fruits & vegetables, healthy fats, and water.  Any diet that cuts one of these important nutrients out should be avoided.

2) Exercise.  One of the most effective ways to lose weight for good is a combination of eating well AND regular exercise.  However, there are many other reasons we should all be exercising regularly besides a desire to lose weight.  Research shows that exercise can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes, and even grow new brain cells.  Exercise is an excellent anti-aging tool!

3) Eat in.    Cook at home as often as you can and bring your lunch.  When I make our food, I get to choose how much butter, oil, salt, and sugar I add.  Sometimes I add more than the recipe calls for and sometimes I cut it back.  I can also make substitutions that I think are healthier for us like swapping out more refined grains for whole grains, adding more veggies, and choosing oils that I believe are better than others.

4) Cut back on liquid calories. Try substituting alcohol, sodas, and other higher calorie drinks with water. Try adding lemon or cucumber for some variation.

If cutting out liquid calories sounds extreme, take a more moderate approach and cut down to half or even a quarter of what you usually drink. You can always go back to your normal consumption if you want to.  This is about figuring out what works for you personally.

5) Get plenty of rest.  Substantial medical evidence is telling us that a lack of sleep affects hormones which are linked to an increase in appetite. Your body becomes less satisfied and you are tempted to eat more food than you may actually need.  Sleep deprivation can also affect your hormones in such a way that your metabolism will literally slow down.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

6) Tell guilt to take a hike.  First off, guilt should never be associated with food ever.  When I go into a restaurant I order what I want and I do not feel guilty about my choices.  Guilty thoughts that attempt to beat us up usually come from a desire to be perfect.  And, even though most of us know that perfection is impossible, much of the”professional” advertising we see focuses on displaying perfection as a form of happiness or acceptance.  Thank goodness for social media!  Live raw video helps to remind us that nobody is perfect and to give ourselves a break.

7)  Be yourself.  It’s really important that you know what’s most important to you.  Not everyone wants to be or was designed to look like the models on the cover of fitness magazines.  If challenging yourself to reach an elite athlete status is fun for you and you can achieve it in a healthy way, then by all means go for it!  However, if you know in your heart you’d just like to live a long healthy life, fit in your clothes, and have the stamina to do the activities you enjoy without a whole lot of restrictions in your life, then general health and fitness is for you so please don’t beat yourself up because you’re not “doing whatever it takes” to try to look like a fitness model.  Perfection is overrated and impossible to achieve.  Even fitness models don’t look like their photos all of the time.

Instead of dieting, I recommend you pick as many things from above that you can realistically implement without stressing yourself out and then stay consistent.  Diet and exercise are very personal which is why a canned approach rarely works.  We all have different lives, different goals, and different needs. 🙂

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

Nine Simple Food Gifts For The Holidays

 

Nine Simple Food Gifts For The Holidays

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

 

Food is a simple gift to give during the holiday season.  It’s easy to get, easy to give, and very, very, easy to enjoy.  

Here are seven simple holiday food gifts that are sure to put a smile on your recepient’s face this holiday season.

1)  Fruit Basket or box of fruit. Harry & David is a great option. One of their most popular gifts this time of year are fresh pears. They’re delicious and can be served in multiple ways. You can even suggest poaching them and topping them off with a bit of cinnamon for a dessert!   

 2)  Indoor Herb Garden. Great idea for families and people who love to cook! Kids will enjoy the gardening project, and it’s convenient to have your herbs fresh in the kitchen. 

3)  Flavored Oils. Heart healthy flavored olive oil is a treat that cooks might not buy for themselves, but would enjoy having in their kitchen.

4)  Coffee and Tea. Specialty coffees and teas with a nice mug are a great Christmas gift that won’t sabotage a person’s healthy eating plan. If you’re not sure about the caffeine, go for an herbal tea that is naturally caffeine free.

5)  Spices or Rubs.  If you know the person on your list likes to cook, interesting spices and/or rubs are a great gift.  Whenever someone gifts us spices or homemade rubs it inspires me to try new recipes.

6)  Gift Cards. Restaurant or coffee shop gift cards are excellent Christmas gifts to send someone. You can be sure it will get used and your recipient will be able to choose what they like most.  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t appreciate being treated to a meal and/or a beverage.

7)  Chocolates.  Chocolate will usually put a smile on the face of the receiver.  However, if you’d like to add a healthy twist to your gift, dark chocolate is the answer.  Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.  Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.  Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.

8)  Wine, Craft Beer, or Spirits.  I realize that alcohol is not food.  However, the grown ups on your list that like to enjoy a cocktail or two, are sure to appreciate a nice bottle of their favorite adult beverage.

9)  Fruit and Veggie Subscription.  Give someone the gift that keeps on giving and treat them to a subscription to their local fruit and vegetable box delivery.  Companies like Farm Fresh To You, Grub Market, and Imperfect Produce all offer this service and have different options to choose from.

Holiday shopping doesn’t need to be stressful.  Keep it simple by giving the gift of food.  🙂

Have a gift idea you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Jennifer

 

How To Have Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

 

Less Stress And More Fun This Holiday Season

Photo is of our dog Hoppy and courtesy of Happy Tails in Montara.  It was taken after Hoppy’s grooming appointment! 

 

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  However, with parties to attend, gifts to buy, and a longer than normal to do list, the real meaning of this season can sometimes get lost.

Fortunately, there are no rules when it comes to celebrating the holiday season.  You get to decide how much you want to commit to.  Just like your fitness program, how you decide to spend the holiday season is totally up to you.

Here are seven helpful tips to help you enjoy a fun, meaningful, and stress-free holiday season.

1. Plan Ahead.

One of the best ways to avoid stress during the holidays is to  plan ahead. Take a moment to”mind dump” and list everything that is on your plate, such as gift shopping, Christmas parties and recipes to make. When you’re done, schedule important dates on your calendar  to make sure you remember your special events. Mental notes are a great place to start, however getting them all down on paper will give you a chance to prioritize what’s most important to you.

2. Don’t try to go at it alone.

Ask for help.  Allow each member of the family or your friends to pitch in. Need help cooking? Maybe your partner can help you out. If you don’t like wrapping presents, find someone in your family who sees it as therapeutic instead of overwhelming.  I’m more of a savory cook than a baker, so making sweets is out of my comfort zone.  However, my Uncle Paul loves to bake pies so we let him take care of dessert.

3. It’s OK to Say ‘No.’

Over-committing and over-scheduling can happen more often during the holiday season. It can be hard to say ‘no,’ because you don’t want to miss out on all of the fun or may feel obligated to say yes. However, over scheduling can lead to anxiety and stress. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ People will understand that this is a busy time of the year and you can’t do it all.

4. Prioritize Time To take care of yourself.

Just because the holiday season is all about giving, it doesn’t mean you should let your own needs fall to the side. Make sure to schedule time for yourself to do the things that help you to recharge.  For me, the daily hike with our dogs is exercise and therapy so I make sure that I set aside time each day to take them out.

5.  Set a Budget.

While you probably won’t see those holiday credit card statements until January, you may still feel the stress while checking out at the register.  Spending more money than your budget allows can make you feel less like Santa and more like the Grinch.  Remember that it’s the thought that counts.  Most people care more that you remembered them than they do about receiving a pricey gift.  A heartfelt note or handmade gift can leave a lasting impression on someone’s heart.

 

6. Focus on What’s Important.

One of the biggest causes of stress over the holidays is the desire to create the “picture perfect” setting. Remember that it is OK if things don’t go according to the plan. Don’t worry about the burnt cookies or that little disagreement between two of your relatives. Let go of expectations and focus on  the reason for the season.

7.  Be flexible.

It’s important to plan, however I recommend allowing yourself the flexibility to be spontaneous and savor precious moments.  The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed so give yourself permission to take advantage of last minute outings, ideas, or visits that can lead to forever memories.

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings!

Shared with love,

Jennifer