If you’ve made it this far, giving up your Diet Coke must not be a deal-breaker. After I suggested everyone eliminate soft drinks, I was worried I may have lost a few addicts out there unwilling to make that first “small” change.
I also wanted to point out that this is not about starving yourself or even calorie-reduction specifically. This is about eating and drinking healthier than you were before, which in turn, will lead to fat melting off of your body in a healthy way.
Now for the myths that keep us eating food that is making us fat:
- A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Most of you hopefully know this already, but if not, it is NOT true. If you consume 100 calories of pure sugar, 100 calories from a medium rare filet mignon, and 100 calories from McDonald’s french fries, your body will process each of these very differently. This should give you a hint as to why you shouldn’t have to starve yourself to lose body fat. And remember: the only calories that count are the ones that make it to your bloodstream.
- If it says “Diet”, “Non-Fat”, or even “low Fat”, it must be good for you. “Diet” usually means they’ve replaced the sugar with some chemical like Aspartame, Stevia, Saccharin, etc. created to taste sweet but without the calories. The problem with this is the effect these chemicals have on the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. Some studies have shown that aspartame can actually stimulate weight gain. Google it.
- If it’s 100% fruit juice, it must be good for you. Did you know that a small glass (8 oz) of pure orange juice has 112 calories and 21 grams of sugar? Apple juice has 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar! If you want fruit, eat raw fruit, skin and all (ok, not the banana peel). While I’m on the subject, for the first few weeks, try your best NOT to drink calories. For example, try to drink ice water with your meals (I prefer limes over lemons in restaurants). For you tea lovers, try it unsweetened with lemon. I’ll address dairy later.
- Egg yolks are bad for you. In the last few years several studies have shown strong health benefits from eggs. If you have cholesterol issues, you should limit your yolks to no more than two a day, but otherwise they are an excellent source of protein, as well as a host of vitamins and minerals. Also, eggs have a biological value of 93.7% compared to 84.5% for milk, 76% for fish, and 74.3% for beef. Dollar for dollar, they are your best source of protein. One more thing, cook them. Do NOT eat them raw like Rocky Balboa. Can you say Salmonella?
- Red meat is bad for you. During my research for Body Change Part 1, I ran across study after study about how GOOD beef is for us. Notice I said GOOD not bad. I don’t have the room or the time to reference all of them here, but I did reference some of them in the Body Change blog post. You can also Google the subject of “beef” or “red meat” health benefits. And everyone I know loves a good lean steak. And keep it lean.
- If I exercise enough I can eat whatever I want. Maybe when you were a kid, or even a teenager, but if you are over 30, odds are you’ve already figured this out. Most experts say that a truly effective fat loss program is 70-80% nutrition (what we put in our bodies) and 20-30% how we move each day (not just the formal exercise routine program we are doing, but our lifestyle in between workouts and sleep). We burn 300-400 calories an hour, depending on your weight, walking at 3.5 miles/hour. A 20 oz bottle of Coca Cola has 240 calories (all from sugar by the way). You do the math and see how far you need to walk to drink all of the soft drinks you consume in a week.
This is definitely not a complete list of all of the myths we have believed at some point in our lives, but it should get you started.
Small change #2 (remember #1 was eliminating soft drinks) – EAT a Healthy BREAKFAST every morning (donuts don’t count!). People who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.
Eat within 30-45 minutes of waking up if possible. If possible you should eat 30-35% of your total calories for the day in the morning. But make sure it consists of at least 15-20 grams of protein. To help me prepare eggs I bought a microwave two-egg poacher at Wal-mart for less than $5. Works great!
Which of the above myths have you been believing?