Are you a victim to the health mistakes you make everyday?
When you think about the health mistakes you make everyday, you probably are thinking about the obvious stuff, like eating tons of carbs (pizza and beer) or overloading on candy. While you may be absolutely spot-on, there are other not-so-obvious health mistakes you make everyday.
I was pretty shocked when I first learned that eating healthy is not always a cut and dry path to follow. In fact, my health journey history is riddled with mistakes. In the past, thought as long as I counted my calories and bought foods labeled “all-natural” or “organic”, I was eating healthy. Well, several years and nine failed diets later, I realized that this notion was not all entirely true. With some research, I learned I was making quite a few health mistakes everyday that eventually compounded to my current state of being- flabby, frustrated, and hungry, and I decided to spread the word and share them with you. So, here are the top four health mistakes you make everyday:
1. Counting Calories
Let me be real with you here. While it is true that weight-loss is about creating a calorie deficit that causes weight loss, I will say that the act of calorie counting is not a guaranteed way to get healthy.
I used to count all my calories from the foods I consumed on daily basis. I would pull out my tracker, write down the calories, and at the end of the day, added everything up to see where I was at. While I did see results from doing this, I noticed something negative was happening mentally.
Coming from an Italian household, where food was the center of conversation and merriment, calorie-counting took me away from that happiness and instead made me feel guilty, annoyed, and angry if I made the wrong food choices or didn’t have enough calories to eat something I wanted. I felt restricted, and looked at food in a negative light, and that was just not healthy emotionally.
I started looking at my food like a vice towards my weight loss goals and less like fuel.
This notion all came to a head one day when I was talking with a coworker who also counted calories. I was a little taken aback when he told me his diet plan allowed him to have not 1, not 2, but 3 ice-cream bars for the evening. Curious, I asked him why that was the case. And he told me that he had saved up his calorie intake for the day so he can enjoy the dessert and still hit his calorie budget.
Something just did not seem right with this math. Three ice-cream bars? How does that sound healthy?
So I ventured to my grocery store, and pulled out one of these ice-cream bars, and looked at the ingredients list….and I did not like what I saw. Each ice-cream bar was 100 calories, but it contained 30g of sugar! (just for reference, the safe amount of sugar for women is 6g and 9g for men).
So a calorie really shouldn’t reign supreme on your diet regimen. Instead, focusing on the TYPE of foods you are eating and their nutritional value would be a better use of your time and energy. For example, eating 100 calories from an apple vs eating 100 calories from cookies is a better option because a natural food source like an apple is unprocessed with natural sugars and fiber for your body to better absorb and garner nutrients.
2. Anything with the word “healthy”, “diet”, “fat-free”, or “gluten-free” is automatically healthy
Ever thought that you were eating healthy and being all good with your diet because the label on the box told you so? Yeah I did too. I TRUSTED the labels that branded “whole grain”, “gluten-free” or “healthy” on its packaging and assumed what I was consuming was good for me. And so I decided to actually READ the ingredients and really see what I was up against. To see what I specifically look for, read my simple guide to eating clean.
I was surprised to see a lot of surprise ingredients that didn’t seem all that healthy to begin with like enriched flour, sugar, sugar cane, corn syrup, and xylitol just to name a few. Not cool, food industry. Not cool.
3. Cut out a food group to lose weight
This “rule” has ruled over my life for quite a few years, in the form of several famous diets like Atkins, Paleo, and keto, just to name a few. And for those people that do need to avoid particular foods due to allergies or ailments, that is understandable. But for the rest of the world, cutting a food group may be a poor choice for your health and well-being.
For me, every time I would do these types of restrictive dieting, I did lose weight, but I also had BAD cravings, and I was always irritable and weak from hunger. My constant ups and downs made me so depleted with energy that I immediately lost my passion to lose weight and would immediately give up. It just was not worth it for me.
Our bodies need macronutrients it gets from the foods it consumes, ranging from fruits and vegetables to grains and protein. When our bodies get all those nutrients, we feel energized, full, alert, and active. However, when we eliminate food groups, like grains or dairy for example, our bodies become mal-nourished because it is missing essential vitamins and minerals it normally would get from a particular food group. And when our bodies feel malnourished, we feel hungry, have massive cravings, feel irritable, and sluggish.
4. Skimping out on water
Our bodies are primarily made of 70% water, so keeping ourselves hydrated throughout the day not only helps restore any fluids lost during the day, but it also helps make us feel balanced. In fact, drinking water helps you maintain your pH balance, body temperature, metabolism, breathing, as well as aids in the prevention of constipation, heartburn, migraines, gastritis, ulcers, kidney stones, cardiovascular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, backaches and osteoporosis. Basically, water is a big deal in helping you feel clear and focused, not tired, cranky, and fatigued.
Since the jury is still out for the exact amount of water an average person should drink daily, the Institute of Medicine has approximated 13 cups of water for men, and 9 cups of water for women per day is a good goal. To help you reach that goal, invest in an intelligent water bottle, which helps remind you to drink your water at the right times during the day, motivates you to keep on drinking, and tracks your daily water intake.
Or if you want to go simple, try setting a water alarm to remind you when to drink your water, or keep a filled jug with marked increments next to you as a daily (and hourly) reminder.
I KNOW that I have done each and every one of these mistakes in the past, and I have flip-flopped with my weight more times than Taylor Swift’s taste in men. But each time I made a mistake, I learned a valuable lesson about myself.
I know that feeling good while on my journey to lose weight is just as important if not MORE IMPORTANT than seeing the numbers of the scale go down. I know if I can be consistent with my health habits everyday and actually find JOY and HAPPINESS in my routine, then I can do it forever.
What are your thoughts about these health mistakes? Have you made one of these health mistakes before? What are other health mistakes that you have seen? Share and comment below!
-xo Amanda, the Buzzed Coach