10 Popular Diet Tips to Ignore

Guest Post By Kara Wahlgren 

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, you’ve probably been inundated with diet tips. But take them all with a grain of salt—some advice may sound legit but can actually derail your diet. Here are 10 tips you don’t want to follow.

BAD ADVICE: Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods

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BETTER ADVICE: Don’t believe the hype. “They usually use fat and sodium to replace sugar, and sugar to replace fat—or chemicals to replace both,” says Denis Faye, Beachbody’s nutrition expert. And Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the upcoming book, The 1:1:1 Diet, adds, “Removing fat from a food makes it less satiating, so you ultimately may end up eating more.” Stick with the original versions, and watch your portions or better yet, eat more unprocessed foods.

BAD ADVICE: No cheating ever!

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BETTER ADVICE: Relax your diet rules, and you’ll be more likely to stick it out long-term. “If 80% of your diet is tight, then 20% can be a party,” Faye says. “It keeps you from getting stressed—and stress is a huge obstacle in weight loss.” Just plan your splurges ahead of time so you’re not giving in to every temptation that crosses your plate.

BAD ADVICE: Stop snacking

BETTER ADVICE: Choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. “A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable,” Batayneh says. 

Don’t know what you should be snacking on? Check out our snacks under 100 calories article.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t eat fruit—it’s full of sugar.

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BETTER ADVICE: Let fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. “Yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs,” Faye says. “But sugar itself is not the enemy. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; it’s also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar. I’ve never met a human being who got fat because of bananas.” When you’re craving sugar, there’s no debate that a handful of grapes is healthier than a hot fudge sundae.

BAD ADVICE: If it’s organic, it’s good for you.

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BETTER ADVICE: According to the USDA, organic food is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients.1 The problem is that many people assume organic foods are all low in calories, too, which isn’t necessarily true. Don’t get us wrong—we’d rather eat food that doesn’t resemble a science experiment. But, Faye cautions, “You need to use common sense. If it’s bad for you with conventional ingredients, it’s still bad for you when it’s organic.” A cookie is a cookie, no matter how all-natural it is.

BAD ADVICE: Calories in, calories out—it doesn’t matter what you eat.

BETTER ADVICE: What you’re eating matters. Compare a 100-calorie candy bar to 100 calories of avocado—the latter is packed with nutrients and has healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. Or compare 50 calories of spinach (about seven cups) to 50 calories of ice cream (about two tablespoons). To feel full when you’re cutting calories, look for foods loaded with water and fiber, like veggies or broth-based soups. Plus, “Hormones have a huge impact on our health. Junk food can trigger bad hormonal responses that, over time, can lead to all kinds of problems, including weight gain,” Faye says. Occasionally, someone will pop up in the news claiming they lost a ton of weight while eating nothing but Subway®, Starbucks®, or Snickers®bars—but don’t put too much stock in those success stories. “When you go that route, you’re not educating yourself,” Faye says. “It’s like the teach-a-man-to-fish adage. If you give someone a gimmicky diet, they might lose weight for now; but provide them with knowledge, and they can be healthy for life.”

BAD ADVICE: Try XYZ Extreme Diet—it works for everyone!

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BETTER ADVICE: Find a plan that works for you. Gender, age, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle can all play a role in weight loss—so even if a fad diet has worked for others, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. “There’s no single diet that works for everyone; our biochemical needs are different,” Faye says. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition consultant to find a long-term eating strategy that is tailor-fit to you.

BAD ADVICE: When in doubt, order the salad.

BETTER ADVICE: Choose your greens wisely. Leafy greens and vegetables may be virtuous, but not if they’re slathered in creamy dressing and topped with candied nuts, croutons, and deli meats. “Fatty fixings can add hundreds of calories to your meal, and sometimes contain more calories than that juicy burger!” Batayneh says. Salad can be a healthy choice, but order dressing on the side and limit the add-ons.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t exercise—it’ll only make you hungrier.

BETTER ADVICE: Get moving—an hour-long workout isn’t going to make you suck down calories like Michael Phelps. “Exercise isn’t just for losing weight—it improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your bones,” Faye says. You might feel hungrier while recovering from a grueling workout, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to pack on pounds. “As long as you’re eating clean, your body is amazing at self-regulating,” Faye adds. “It should crave the calories you need to fuel your workouts, not to get fat.”

BAD ADVICE: Treat yourself for a job well done!

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BETTER ADVICE: Rethink your reward system. After an intense workout, you may feel like you’ve earned a cocktail or cupcake. But splurging after every workout can quickly undo all your hard work. If you’ve been good all week, go ahead and grab a guilt-free beer on Friday. But, Faye says, “Don’t let every workout become a Pavlovian thing where you need to eat cake afterwards.” After all, the best reward for a killer workout is getting one step closer to the body you want.

What’s the worst diet advice you’ve ever received? Tell us by commenting below.

Resources:

  1. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

How Does Shakeology Work?

Shakeology contains the following nutrient groups and ingredients. Each nutrient group helps your body on a variety of levels. Here’s the breakdown!

Protein and Amino Acids: Whey, Pea, Brown Rice, Chia, Quinoa, Amaranth, Flax, Sacha Inchi.

What these do in your body: Help build lean muscles, improve skin and hair, support optimal brain function, improve mood, and reduce cravings.

Antioxidants and Super-Fruits: Cacao, Coconut Flower Nectar, Acerola Cherry, Pomegranate, Camu-Camu, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Blueberry, Acai, Green Tea, Rose Hips, Cinnamon, Luo Han Guo.

What these do in your body: Help reduce oxidative damage from free radicals, promote heart health and ideal blood pressure, support joint health, and keep your brain healthy.

Phytonutrients and Super-Greens: Moringa, Spirulina, Chlorella, Spinach, Barley Grass, Kamut Grass, Oat Grass, Wheat Grass.

What these do in your body: Help alkalize the body and promote detoxification of the liver, kidneys, and blood to restore health and vitality.

Adaptogen Herbs: Maca, Astragulus, Ashwagandha, Maitake Mushroom, Cordyceps, Reishi Mushroom, Schisandra, Ginkgo, Tulsi (Holy Basil).

What these do in your body: Help protect the body from stress, support the immune system, and balance the endocrine system.

Prebiotics and Probiotics: Yacon Root, Lactobacillus Sporogenes (Bacillus Coagulans).

What these do in your body: Help promote regularity, support a balanced microflora environment in the intestinal tract, and improve digestion.

Digestive Enzymes: Amylase, Papain, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase, Protease, Bromelain.

What these do in your body: Help the body break down foods and increase absorption of nutrients.

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Can I Exercise with a Cold?

Guest Post By Steve Edwards 

Shut it down and get some rest. It will help you get well sooner and it might end up improving your results in the long term.

When you’re sick, your body uses its recovery properties to fight the illness. When you exercise, you use these same properties to recover. To your body, trying to exercise when you’re sick is effectively the same thing as overtraining. You won’t be able to recover from exercise, rendering it useless, as well as increasing the risk of making your illness worse and lengthening your downtime.

Believe it or not, there are actually a couple of upsides to being sick. It both raises your metabolism and heightens your immune response, meaning that you can eat more than normal and not gain weight. Your immune system also releases performance-enhancing hormones that both fight the infection and help you heal microtrauma incurred during your training program. Because of these factors, when I’m sick during a training cycle I consider it my recovery week. Here is my protocol:

At the onset of symptoms I bump my vitamin C and zinc levels, drink a ton of water, and sleep as much as possible. If I catch it early enough, I’ll miss the cold. However, your body plays an insidious trick on you at the onset of a cold. Before you feel symptoms, your adrenal system kick-starts the immune response, which often results in a great workout—too good. Prior to a competition, if an athlete sets a personal record or looks too strong, their coach will often shut them down in anticipation of potential pending illness. If a workout feels spectacular out of the blue, consider backing off and adding immune-boosting supplements to your regimen.

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Once I know I’m sick, I rest as much as I possibly can. I clear my social schedule, work as little as possible, and shelve any projects (even mental ones) that can wait. My diet becomes very clean. No coffee, alcohol, sugar, junk, and I drink a ton of water. Also, I eat a lot of small meals all day long. Your body needs nutrients when it’s sick but doesn’t want the energy burden of digesting large meals.

When the cold has turned the corner I begin moving more. I’ll do low-level aerobic exercise and light yoga—restorative exercise. I’ll build this gradually as I feel better, so that when the symptoms are gone I can hit it hard, right where I left off. When I follow my protocol strictly it will actually aid my fitness program in the long run.

Finally, there are times when you’re sick when hard exercise might help, but it’s rare. The most common is near the end of a cold, where the infection has run its course but you still have minor symptoms. You might have heard someone say, “I blew the cold out of my system” with exercise. Just be careful you don’t try this too early or you’ll get worse. Patience may not be your favorite part of training, but sometimes you gotta not do what you gotta not do.

Top 10 Workout Songs November 2012

Music, the language of the soul, is as old as humanity. The therapeutic benefits of music can be traced back in time to ancient shamanistic rituals. Music, as tool of healing was recognized in the writings of Aristotle, Pythagoras and Plato. They believed that it can influence physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being and improve quality of life. In fact, there have been many recent studies that show if you listen to music while exercising, your brain will probably work better too.

 

Here are my top 10 workout songs for November 2012:

10) Muse – “Survival”:

“It’s not long before the backing vocalists give way to singer Matt Bellamy, who provides a theatrical feel to the track. In his best Freddie Mercury-esque delivery, the singer shows his range, going from showman to rock god in one fell swoop.” – Chad Childers (Diffuser.fm)

9) Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”:

The powerful vocal chords of front woman Brittany Howard are enough to power me through any workout. This track in particular has tremendous build ups that keep me pumped.

8) Calvin Harris – “Acceptable In The 80’s”:

I feel like I’m in an 80’s gym pumping iron when listening to this one. I am a huge fan of 80’s influenced music; as you guessed from the title, this track is just that, with a video game vibe to it. I can dig it!

7) Matt & Kim – “Tonight”:

I dare you to listen to this song and not feel great. It’s bursting with positive energy, making me forget about my worries, and simply bask in the joys of life.

6) Passion Pit – “The Reeling – Calvin Harris Remix”:

This is Calvin Harris’ fuzzy, dance-floor remix of Manners‘ first single “The Reeling.”– Passion Pit AND Calvin Harris? Yes, please!

5) Mystery Jets – “Show Me Nothing”:

“The melodies are upbeat, instant and travel nicely around the very dance-orientated music. ‘Show Me The Light’ is a cracking dig at indie dance pop and the 90s influences are handled excellently.” – Jack Olchawski (TheFourOhFive.com)

4) Shiny Toy Guns – “Speaking Japanese”:

Fresh from their newly dropped album “III”, this track is flavored with dance, rock and synth-pop sounds enhanced by vocals from Chad Petree and Carah Faye.

3) Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch – “Sweet Nothing”:

Florence Welch featured on a house track; need I say more? Crank up the volume, pump some iron, and dance in between sets; who cares who’s looking!

2) The Killers – “From Here On Out”:

A Tom Petty inspired little gem with a chorus that’s bound to be humming in your head all day. It’s a quick hitting and fun tune that’s great for doing some sprint intervals.

1) The Killers – “Carry Me Home”:

This has been my go to workout song as of late. When I feel like taking my workout to the next level, I crank up the volume on this incredible song, and get to work. The Killers have created a masterpiece with their latest album ‘Battle Born’; if you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for?

 

You can view, listen and subscribe to my entire SHREDFAT workout playlist below. How cool is that!