Are you getting mixed messages on how to get healthy and best lose weight? Dietitian Jenelle Croatto is here to talk through common diet downfalls and what you can do to boost health and weight loss efforts.
1. Skipping breakfast
Failing to ‘break-the-fast’ will quickly zap your morning mojo and leave you with a sluggish metabolism – not great news when you’re trying to lose weight. Come late morning extreme hunger will see you reaching for any food in sight! Usually, a quick-fix option that provides little in the way of nutrition. Instead, fuel your body right for energy that will last you the entire morning, like our Baked Eggs, Italian Style at the bottom of this post!
Also read: What’s the Best Breakfast for Weight Loss?
2. Workout burnout
Whether it’s a grueling gym workout or a heart pumping body attack class, your body will be in need of nourishment to refuel glycogen stores (stored muscle energy) and stimulate muscle repair. Failing to do so in the hopes of shedding another kilo or two will leave you energy zapped and less likely to put those training shoes back on.
If your next meal isn’t for a few hours, refuel with a healthy snack such as natural yoghurt or a piece of fruit.
3. Gluten free
Celebrities, your bestie and even your mum are eating gluten free. Should you? After all, you can even purchase gluten free pet food! Yes, seriously!! A number of gluten free foods are second-rate when compared to wholegrain gluten containing foods, so unless you have coeliac disease or a true intolerance you can pass on this trendy dieting choice.
4. Meal replacement shakes
A quick-fix option that often ends in a quick regain of weight. Why? It’s unsustainable and doesn’t teach you anything about a healthy lifestyle.
Did you know that feelings of fullness are not just driven by what we eat, but how we eat? Drinking your meals removes the physical aspect of chewing and swallowing which helps turn down hunger signals from the brain. Along with taste fatigue, meal replacement shakes take the joy out of eating and can be a serious damper on your social life – no one likes to sit around watching others eat delicious food.
Also read: What’s the Best Way to Lose Weight for Life?
5. No carbs after 6:00pm
This myth is nothing more than an old wives tale. There is no evidence to suggest that we should cut the evening carbs. In fact, eating carbs with dinner can actually helps fuel your muscles for morning exercise.
Overeating any food will cause kilos to creep on, so keep portion control in mind. Yes, you can certainly keep eating your beloved spaghetti bolognese, but be sure to fill half of the plate with colourful plant food.
6. Quit sugar
Despite popular belief there is no need to quit sugar at all costs. While I certainly encourage you to reduce sugary soft drinks and processed foods, it’s perfectly fine to add a little honey in a fruit smoothie or eat fruit as a snack.
Our body actually needs sugar (in the form of glucose) for energy. All carbs break down into glucose so it’s best to select ‘smart’ carbs such as low GI brown rice, chickpeas, sweet potato or quinoa, that provide a slow release of energy throughout the day.
Don’t be fooled by so-called healthy sugar alternatives such as rice malt syrup and coconut sugar – it’s still sugar.
7. 5:2 Diet – intermittent fasting
While animal studies have shown some promising outcomes, we’re yet to see the long-term health outcomes of this “feast and famine” dietary approach in humans.
For now, if you’re interested in trialling the 5:2 Diet it’s important to consider both pros and cons. Fasting causes our brain to think more about food, which can make adherence to this diet tricky. Social situations become difficult and you may find that you overeat on non-fast days. If you try out the 5:2 Diet it’s important you focus on eating nutritious food and make every mouthful count as fast days will see you miss out on some essential nutrients.
8. All or nothing
Avoid the mental sabotage and ditch the “all or nothing” mentality. Healthy eating does not mean you must go without your favorite foods – how boring would that be! I promise that enjoying one or two eating occasions that aren’t ‘perfect’ you wont suddenly gain a stack of weight – it’s just not possible! So go ahead, enjoy a decadent slice of cake. Kick guilt to the curb, savour each mouthful and you may find you’re better able to stay on track.
9. Juice cleanse
With promises that you’ll “feel lighter” and have “renewed energy” it’s easy to see why juice cleanses are all the rage. But do they really live up to the hype? Nope! Swapping a nutritionally balanced diet for juice deprives your body of fibre, protein and many essential nutrients, leading to loss of lean muscle, mood swings, fatigue and low blood glucose levels.
Can you expect to lose weight? Yes, but before you get too excited this is mostly due to the removal of intestinal bulk and depletion of water and glycogen stores (stored muscle fuel) – not loss of body fat.
The truth is your body is a fantastic detoxing machine. Your kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract work together beautifully to remove toxins and waste products. The only support it needs is for you to cut the booze, eat well, keep active and focus on good quality sleep. Simple.
Cut back on portions, yes, but never eat less than 1200cal. If you are struggling to consume at least 1200cal per day, look at bulking out your diet with some small portions nutrient dense calories like avocado, olive oil or nuts and seeds. By properly nourishing your body you will satisfy hunger, boost vitality and optimise your fat burning potential.
Free 12WBT Recipe: Baked Eggs, Italian Style
15 min prep time
30 min cooking
294 Cal / serve
2 Tomato (334g), chopped
1 Zucchini (101g), finely chopped
1/2 Red Capsicum (78g), finely chopped
1 Cloves Garlic (3g), crushed
1 Teaspoons Olive Oil (5g)
8 Kalamata Olives, Pitted (24g)
4 Cage Free Eggs (236g)
20g Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated
1/4 Cups Basil Leaves (10g)
1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Scatter over tomatoes, zucchini, capsicum and garlic. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
2. Roast vegetables for 20 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 180°C.
3. Mix olives with vegetables and divide mixture between two ovenproof dishes. Make 2 indentations in mixture in each dish. Crack an egg into each indentation, and sprinkle cheese over.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until eggs are just set. Top with basil leaves and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve.