Over the years, the fast-and-hard rules of dieting have proven to be anything but hard and fast. Unfortunately, some of those rules get engrained in your brain and it’s hard to let go of them. If you’re on the journey to lose weight and you wonder why you’re not reaching your goal as fast as you thought you would, you may need to reevaluate your dieting methods. Because sometimes the rules need to be changed.
Here are seven diet rules to break.
Break #1: Don’t Weigh Yourself
You may have been told to stay away from the scale and to only weigh yourself once a month. The truth is, by weighing yourself regularly, even daily, you’ll be more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Seeing the numbers go down or up is a powerful motivator to stay on track. Stay you’re unaware of your progress or regression, and it’ll be easier to slack off and think you’re doing better than you really are.
– Orson Welles
Break #2: No Snacks Allowed
Will eating a snack between meals ruin your diet? While this may be what you were taught, it’s not true. Smart, low-calorie snacking can actually help you meet your goals. In fact, without snacks, when mealtime finally rolls around, you’re famished and are more likely to overeat. Choose snacks that are 100 calories or fewer and that include a combination of protein and fiber to fill you up and give you energy.
Break #3: Don’t Eat Any Fat
Here’s a big one: eliminate all fat from your diet because it’s what makes you fat. What many people don’t know is that all fat isn’t created equal. Yes, there’s fat to avoid completely (trans fat), fat to limit (saturated), and fat you need for good health (omega-3s and unsaturated fats). Get good fats from nuts, fish, and avocado.
Break #4: Don’t Eat After 10 P.M.
Ever hear that you shouldn’t eat a midnight snack no matter what? Then you’ll want to hear this. Your body and metabolism doesn’t know the difference between calories eaten at noon or those eaten at midnight. A calorie is a calorie, no matter what time you eat it. That means it’s actually okay to eat a late but responsible snack if you’re truly hungry. Just watch out for mindless eating in front of the television or finishing off that carton of ice cream.
Break #5: All Calories Are Created Equal
Those counting calories should pay attention. It may take the same amount of energy to burn 100 calories from a bag of chips as it does to burn 100 calories from a bowl of fresh fruit, but there is a world of difference in the nutritional difference between the two options. You may consume the same amount of calories, but foods high in fiber, water, protein, and nutrients will fill you up and in the end, help you eat less.
Break #6: All Carbs Are Off Limits
For starters, white, refined carbs are indeed empty calories that contribute to weight gain. But what about the whole grain and complex carbs your body needs for energy? Cutting out an entire food group like breads and grains is a recipe for diet disaster, especially if that food group happens to be one of your favorites. Eat sensible portions of whole-grain carbs to get the fiber and energy needed for optimal health.
Break #7: No Sweets Allowed
Like carbs, you will crave any food that’s been labeled as off limits. And when sweets are forbidden, one bite can lead to overindulgence. If there’s a dessert you can’t stop eating once you start, keep it out of your kitchen. But if a sweet taste is all you’re looking for, then it’s okay to satisfy that desire with a low-calorie dessert option. Don’t like low-calorie desserts? Then keep your favorite choice low calorie by only taking a bite or two.
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