Where to start?
There are endless myths and misunderstandings about health, fitness, and nutrition. It's a hard science to pin down due to the fact the each body is innately different. Although, even in saying this, human bodies and genes are somewhere around 99.0-99.9% similar. It seems like a relatively small percentage, but in our not-so-scientific world of what should, we/shouldn't we eat, What and how much exercise should we/shouldn't we do. That tiny point percent means a world of difference! So let's squash some of these myths.
1. All Carbs are bad and make you gain weight.
No, no, no, no.... Simply no, not all carbs are bad carbs. There are definitely better carbs than others. Those include complex carbohydrates like whole foods, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Complex carbs tend to contain fiber and other nutrition that are essential to the body. Complex carbs are usually much more satisfying to the appetite. Simple carbs on the other hand tend to have all of the 'good stuff', the vitamins and minerals removed. Simple carbs are basically sugar, in any form. The trick to carbohydrates usually revolves around the amount consumed. Most people equate carbs to added body weight due to our unwillingness to restrict the amount we eat. Be wise with carbs and they'll no longer be your biggest enemy. Of course a number of carbs we 'can/should' consume differs due to our personal lifestyles, activity levels, metabolic health and a lot of other factors, but very generally speaking for a rough guide, your closed fist, which is about 1 cup/ 30 grams is optimal per meal. Remember, all carbs are not enemies. They are full of energy and great brain food!
2. You need to cut entire groups of food out of your diet in order to lose weight and be healthy.
No. I am passionate about this topic. As an avid chocoholic and a sweet fiend, I strongly disagree.
First: Creating no-go-zones and barriers around specific foods and food groups, just like anything in life, tend to create immense cravings. Whatever we aren't allowed to have or do, is exactly what we end up having and do so, with a guilty conscience. You also have to have the extraordinarily strong will power to hold onto this one especially when quote on quote 'bad' food is thrown at us everywhere we turn through advertising, It's at the every checkout, and with every restaurant's fried food section or dessert menu.
Second: We need to relieve the guilt around these pleasures and start to look at them with a fresh perspective. As a health coach, personal trainer and yogi, I believe moderation is the key to this. I also believe in being selective and even educated about what we do choose to indulge in. We need to make room for small amounts of your favorite not-so-healthy food and enjoy in moderation.
Third: When choosing to eat the food that you had thought you had to go completely without, be smart about it and try to choose a high-quality option. High quality tends to have a little more care and awareness. For example, rather then going to McDonald's to get a hamburger, try to go to a homemade burger joint or make your own. Fresh homemade buns, real (preferably GMO-free) veggies, meats and cheese; homemade, hand cut fries... And it's usually made with much more love then typical Golden Arches, a mass consumer driven, multi-million dollar corporation with no social conscience. Chocolate is another example. The higher the cocoa percentage, the healthier the chocolate. Try replacing your milk chocolate with a higher cocoa content. Pringles Salt and Vinegar are one of my loves. I treat myself occasionally, but to be good to my health, when I get that craving, I buy a potato chip that has been baked rather than fried and made with a higher quality oil and non-GMO. Try to allow yourself small and portioned allowances of these treats. Rather than indulging so frequently, find healthier options to add into your diet.
Remember, diets never tend to last and people usually end up gaining all the weight back. Creating lifestyle plans and awareness can and do work! Last: Enjoy and don't feel guilty!
3. Exercise has to be extreme, sweaty and intimidating to make an impact.
No, not at all. Phheewwww! Light exercising, even 30minutes walking a day, if you have a stationary job and don't currently exercise, will start to make a world of difference. And this isn't only for your health and body, but also for your mind. It's a great way to calm down, focus on your breathing and clear the mind. Add in 3-5 workouts throughout the week and you're setting yourself up for success.
Now, workouts have to be fun and enjoyable for you to see them through. Figure out what intrigues you and make it work. Rock climbing, dance, yoga, tennis, group sports....and the list goes on. Or if you know motivation just isn't your thing, hire a personal trainer who will meet you where YOU are. Make sure they don't push you into their training type. They should be asking you questions about what you want, need and like and creating a fun but challenging workout that you'll want to come back to.
Lastly, walk more! We've all heard it before, but here's a fresh reminder. Take the stairs! Your butt will thank you! Get off one stop early. Don't drive as much or if you have to, park the furthest away from the store s possible and walk from there. Enjoy the walk and know that you're doing justice to your heart, lungs and entire body.
That's all I'll cover today. Start small. Make minor alterations to your schedule and eventually, you can start to make more and more in time. Try not to throw yourself into a crazy amount of exercise and dieting because you'll exhaust yourself and never want to return. Look at it as nurturing yourself and your body.
Take care lovers