Dietary Practices That Deserve a Closer Look
As a health and wellness trainer one of my top priorities is discovering what my clients eat. In my opinion a healthy lifestyle is maintained mostly through nutrition. Over the years I have become aware that the general population has an altered perception of “eating healthy” due to advertisements and the abundance of affordable food on every corner. As a result, people get caught up in fad diets and severe food restrictions that do not provide them with the sought after results. A few of these misconceptions are:
“I cut out carbs”
Carbohydrates are not your enemy but an essential part of your diet and your body’s main source of fuel. A healthier solution: eat carbs that provide nutrients in which your body can easily burn for energy. Fruits and unrefined carbohydrates (e.g., brown rice, wild rice, oats, rye, couscous, flaxseed, bulgur, millet, and quinoa) are excellent examples of carbohydrates offering an assortment of vitamins and minerals.
“I switched to diet soda”
Despite the ads on television recent studies have shown that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks may actually be linked to weight gain. One study found that the taste of aspartame tricks the brain into thinking it is still hungry, resulting in increased appetite.
“I only ate 500 calories today”
This drastic attempt to cut calories is extremely dangerous for the body and is actually counterintuitive and can cause weight gain. Insufficient caloric intake can negatively impact your muscular strength, bone health, and even cause organ failure. A much healthier option is to eat foods with nutritional value and eat as much of them as you want. When paired with exercise your metabolism speeds up resulting in more energy and weight loss.
Eating healthy is a long-term decision if you want it to have an effect on your life. Learning what is in your food and the impact it has on your body is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Eating should never be a source of stress or make you feel sick, it should make you feel alive and energized.
Melissa Rousseau, MA, NSCA-CPT, Health and Wellness Trainer, Huntington Beach Family YMCA