Healthy Diet Facts And Dangerous Traps
By Kavata Kithome
You look at yourself in the mirror and notice a few rolls that were never there before. “That’s it!” You are ready and you make a decision to lose some pounds by going on a diet.
But where should you start?
When deciding on what dieting option is best for you, it is important to keep in mind that there is a healthy way to diet and an unhealthy way. As a health and wellness advocate, I would argue that dieting in general can tend to be unhealthy, especially without the guidance of a health coach/nutritionist/or physician.
Yet, if you do decide to embark on your weight-loss journey without such guidance, it is important to know that extreme dieting is not only really hard to sustain – but it can be downright dangerous.
Though you may be anxious to start knocking those pounds off as soon as possible, the consequences of extreme dieting are not pretty; they often involve debilitating effects, some even life threatening.
For instance, physically, extreme dieting can cause fatigue, hunger pangs, sinus problems, bloodshot eyes, gallbladder disease, rashes, atrophy for the muscles, seizures, leaky gut, hives, failing skin, malnutrition that may lead to death, dehydration, acidosis, constipation and eventually, regaining all that weight because extreme diets are not realistic long-term.
Mentally, consequences could include irritability, hallucination, depression, lower sex drive and the risk of being vulnerable to more eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
Doesn’t sound too pretty, does it?
Here are four of my TOP tips for anyone choosing to start their own diet:
1. Don’t focus on calories alone: Ideally, you would normally think that burning more calories than you are consuming would be the best route, but studies have shown that you can’t meet all your nutritional needs on anything less than 1,800 calories a day. This indicates that eating too few calories can negatively affect your digestion and cause your metabolism to slow down.
Because of this risk, you shouldn’t base your weight-loss plan mainly on how many calories you consume – the end result could just be you eating less, starving your body unnecessarily and not losing those love handles.
2. Don’t fill up on nutritional zeros: Keep in mind that, just because the food says “non-fat” or “sugar-free,” it doesn’t mean it is good for you. Popular diet foods such as rice cakes, fat-free cookies and non-caloric beverages do little to satisfy you or provide energy for your workouts or daily movement. What’s more, fat-free goodies are often filled with sugar, so their caloric content can be just as high – if not higher – than that of their full-fat counterparts.
Example: Three traditional chocolate chip cookies have 11 grams of sugar and 140 calories, while three reduced-fat cookies of the same size contain 12 grams of sugar and 120 calories. Not much of a savings for your waistline and not worth the sacrifice of flavor.
3. Don’t increase fiber too quickly: If you’re anxious to lose weight, but are unaccustomed to eating lots of fiber-rich foods, you’ll want to gradually increase your intake of fruits, veggies and whole grains. If you don’t, you could suffer bloating, indigestion or even diarrhea, which can deplete your body of water and essential nutrients.
Start slowly, adding a serving or two of beans, high-fiber cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables each week until you reach 6 to 11 servings of whole grains and 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
4. Don’t choose a plan you can’t happily sustain: A balanced healthy diet is like brushing your teeth – you have to brush every day if you want the benefits to continue. If a diet is drastic (only one food or cutting out entire food groups), complicated (requiring lots of tricky food combining), or doesn’t have satiating power (you’re hungry all the time), it won’t be good for you – and you won’t be able to stick with it.
When choosing to diet, some people adapt to the common stigma that dieting means torturing yourself into weight loss – but this doesn’t have to be the case! All dieting really takes is some adjustments to your current eating/living habits that will benefit your body for the better. Yes, the change may be difficult, but if you develop a plan that works best for you and that you can be happy with, you will find that enduring through it will not be as harsh as you may have thought; in fact, you may find yourself even enjoying it! And why not? Food SHOULD be enjoyed – especially the right kind that loves your body back!
Do you have any tips to share that have worked for you? Comment below. We love hearing from you.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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