When it comes to diets, we are very quick to focus on what we should not be doing or what we are doing wrong — don’t eat that, cut back, eat less, this is better — not only is it confusing, but it is overwhelmingly negative.
Food and eating, along with keeping healthy, should generally be enjoyable and positive parts of your life. And the good news is, some of the lifestyle habits that you may have thought were bad for you may actually be much better for you than you thought.
Taking a break from your diet
One of the most common pieces of feedback from clients at a diet appointment is that they have “been bad." No, they have not murdered anyone — they have eaten a few things they should not have according to their diet plan.
The good news is that when it comes to diets, things do not have to be perfect. Rather, they need to be consistent. This means that an occasional treat, or higher-calorie meal, is not an issue. In fact, research that has examined the effects of strict calorie restriction over time has actually shown that there is a benefit in eating more calories occasionally as then the body does not think it is starving and as such continues to burn calories. So enjoy something you feel like every so often — a piece of cake or a couple of glasses of wine — as there is no harm done.
Chronic dieters are often particularly strict with their carbohydrate intake, and for those wanting to lose weight initially, cutting back on the processed carbs can be a good dietary move. At the other extreme, chronically low intakes of carbohydrate can leave you feeling tired, irritable, constipated and actually burning less fat, as the body slows down metabolic rate to account for this fuel shortage. As many of us lead inactive lives, indeed we are likely to need fewer carbs than was once recommended, but eating fewer and fewer carbs is not the answer. So if you constantly count carbs, and yet never see much change in your clothes, it may be time to throw in an extra slice of bread, piece of fruit or potato a few times each day.
Enjoying a drink
It is not enjoying a single glass of wine regularly that is related to both weight gain and an increase risk of some diseases. Rather, it is drinking in large volumes regularly that causes an issue with both our physical weight and our internal health. In fact, some types of alcohol, including antioxidant-rich red wine is linked to better cholesterol levels and a higher intake of antioxidants. So there is no need to go cold turkey when it comes to your vino — just keep the glasses and the pour small.