Oh… bikini season! It’s a love/hate relationship for most of us. Warm weather brings renewed energy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and relaxing days at the beach. The hate part might come when you dust off that bikini that’s been in the closet for months. Right now, nearing the end of the summer you may have more or less resigned yourself to the way it looks on you, but you’re determined that next summer will be different!
How can you make sure that it really will be different? Big results often stem from small, consistent changes. Let’s look at seven diet myths that might be making your clothes fit tighter than you’d like.
Myth #1: Stay away from all fats and oils.
It seems to make a certain amount of sense: If you don’t want to be fat, don’t eat fat. However, not all fats are the same, and not all fats are used by the body in the same way.
Highly processed oils such as in microwave popcorn, potato chips, and other junk foods contain fats that do not aid your metabolism – or bring any health benefits, for that matter. However, healthy oils such as organic coconut oil can aid in your weight loss. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, which may actually boost your metabolism. In addition, you can reap other health benefits as it is an anti-bacterial and can help keep your skin and digestive tract clean and healthy.
Myth #2: Stay away from nuts.
It’s true that many nuts are roasted in unhealthy, processed oils and are covered with sugar. However, including a healthy dose of raw nuts in your diet can give you certain nutrients your body needs. For instance, almonds are high in magnesium which is needed for healthy blood sugar levels. Having a balanced blood sugar level leads to fewer cravings and temptations to snack on junk foods. Bring on the skinny jeans!
Myth #3: Drinking only skim milk will help you lose weight.
A while back, there was a craze in the news about calcium aiding in weight loss. Everyone was encouraged to start sucking down those dairy products. And, of course, the decades-old myth that low fat is better prevailed in this case, too.
It is true that calcium can help with weight loss. Combining calcium with magnesium helps to control blood sugar – and when these two are in balance, it can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the amount of calcium that is absorbed from dairy products is in question. In addition, when you drink skim milk you lose out on the healthy fats provided by full-fat dairy. These kinds of fats will help you to feel satiated longer, and reduce your tendency to reach for junk food. While you’re at it, make sure you use full-fat yogurt (unsweetened, of course).
Myth #4: Agave syrup is the best sweetener to use for weight loss.
Agave seems to have taken the natural food world by storm. How did we not know about this miracle sweetener before? Well, the the truth is that agave is not an age-old sweetener. It has only been recognized as a sweetener since the early 1990s. There is a good reason why our ancestors didn’t tout this as a healthy way to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Agave actually has more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup. What does this mean for you? The fructose in agave only encourages sugary cravings, and may have a negative effect on both your metabolism and general health.
Myth #5: Cereal is a good, low-calorie option for breakfast.
Some cereal brands have even touted the benefits of eating their cereal two or three times a day for weight loss. While it’s true that some cereals are low-calorie, they are often still laden with sugar and bio-unavailable minerals. Because of their low-fat, low-calorie content, you will have a hard time staying satiated if this is your choice for breakfast.
Myth #6: Juice fasts can help you lose weight
This myth is partially true – fasting can help you lose weight and have beneficial effects on your health. However, fasting must be done carefully and include a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. Drinking only commercially-prepared grapefruit juice, for example, can send your body into starvation mode, and slow your metabolism down to a crawl.
Myth #7: Going vegan or gluten-free will ensure weight loss.
Again, this one can be true, but only if done correctly. Many Americans put away a lot of empty calories in the form of pastas, breads, and the like. Of course, meat is often not a low-calorie food. However, success still comes down to eating a variety of clean foods in moderate portions.
Many have gone gluten-free, only to continue eating breads, brownies, and other junk foods as long as they are gluten-free. The same goes for meat. It is certainly likely that going vegan will aid in dropping some pounds, but only if your portions are moderate and your food choices are healthy. Additionally, you will miss out on vital nutrients and amino acids that your body needs.
Get the skinny on these and several other weight loss myths that are preventing you from feeling and looking fantastic! Our 10 Weight Loss Mistakes slideshow is just a click away. Ready to get healthy?
P.S. Don’t forget to click all the way to the end for some special tips for those who have been deceived by weight loss myths and just can’t seem to drop those extra pounds!