As a young adult who hit the gym every day and packed my “healthy” lunch for work, I thought I knew everything there was to know about being healthy. I would silently scoff and roll my eyes at people who were clearly doing it wrong.
Well, if I was soooooo smart, how come I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted? Hmm…yeah that’s because I thought I knew everything about health and fitness but in reality I was blindly following whatever was trending at the time, slaving away in the gym, and seeing zero change in my body.
Today, I’m going to break down the realities of what I thought was the best way to achieve my goals and what I know NOW.
Myth: Cheese is fattening and bad for you. You need to avoid it (and foods like peanut butter, avocado, nuts, etc.) because the fat you eat will make you fat.
Truth: While these types of foods do have a high fat content, that does not mean they will make you fat. Your body needs fat to keep you full and regulate hormones. These are the types of foods people tend to go overboard on portions, but as long as you keep the portion sizes in control, there is no reason you cannot enjoy these types of foods. I have peanut butter, cheese, and nuts daily whereas I would only eat them on very special occasions in the past.
Myth: Fruit is good for you so you can eat as much of it as you want.
Truth: Fruit is good for you! It is full of vitamins and it tastes great. It can be used as a sweet treat without all of the guilt. However, just because it is good for you doesn’t mean you can eat and eat and eat and eat it all day long! It still has calories. At the end of the day, if you are trying to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. It’s as simple as that – calories in vs. calories out. Even if you are getting calories from a “healthy source” like fruit, eating a surplus of calories will not allow you to reach your weight loss goals.
Myth: Never eat dessert.
Truth: Yes, most desserts are calorie-dense and packed with sugar and fat. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to avoid them 100% to reach your goals. Although difficult (especially for me 🙂 ), moderation is key here. This is one of the main reasons I found so much success with macro counting! If you completely cut out foods you love, you’ll likely go crazy and binge on them later. In order to build a healthy relationship with food, the best practice is to incorporate dessert in controlled amounts.
Myth: Calories in cooking oil don’t really count.
Truth: If you grill your meat, roast your veggies, and make salad dressing with olive oil, you are probably consuming way more fat than you think you are. Most oils have about 14 g fat/tablespoon. If you were to use 4 tablespoons just while cooking your dinner, that’s already an extra 500 calories that you probably didn’t even know you were eating! Try to substitute some of those cooking oils for zero-calorie cooking spray. You’ll find that you can still get the same great crust and taste without those sneaky calories.
Bread and Pasta
Myth: There are good carbs and bad carbs. Bread and pasta are bad carbs.
Truth: First of all, a carb is a carb. All carbs have 4 calories each no matter what kind of food it comes from. 20 g carbs of pasta has the same amount of calories as 20 g carbs from an apple. That being said, the serving size of the two may be different. If you eat a dense carb (such as bread) you may not feel as full as if you were to eat the same amount of calories from a more voluminous source (like spaghetti squash).
Myth: I should only eat 1,200 calories a day to lose weight.
Truth: WRONG! I seriously wish I had not lived so long with that magic 1,200 calorie number in my head. Where did that come from anyway? Not sure why, but for some reason everyone thinks a woman who wants to lose weight should eat 1,200 calories. We are all unique and therefor have unique caloric requirements. It depends on your age, weight, metabolism, goals, activity level, etc. In fact, if you are eating too little, your body will cling to the small amount of food you are providing it with and you probably won’t lose weight at all. Furthermore, in order to build muscle, your body needs enough calories to get through workouts and recover so that you can achieve the lean and toned look.
Skinny vs. Strong
Myth: I want to be skinny.
Truth: Sure, skinny can look good in clothes but you know what is the true measurement of fitness? STRENGTH. I no longer want to be skinny. I want to be strong. I want to be lean. I want to be toned. The only way to achieve that is to work hard in the gym and keep that diet in check. No matter what nutritional lifestyle you choose to follow, you cannot out train a bad diet.