I want to share some of my top everyday diet mistakes that I have made over the past 3 years.
I’m not here to preach anything but being honest with yourself. There was a time where I would have considered myself quirky and said I would have liked my Protein, Fats and Carbs to come from cheese, doughnuts and burgers but that’s not the case anymore. Mainly because I would not like my blood sugar to spike, followed by dips that caused me to shut down with lethargy before 3pm (+ the lack of fibre that caused severe bloat and indigestion).
Instead, it’s common knowledge to my family and friends that I start each working day with hot lemon water at home, followed by a large black Americano and an almond croissant before work. This is my treat, I am mindful of what I am putting in my body and I start every day with my soul smiling- and make each nutritional decision for the rest of my day with the aim to fuel myself for energy and strength. That’s what works for me, my balance. I recommend that you find yours- and it does not mean depriving yourself in any shape or form.
To have a sustainable lifestyle and reach your goals you have to find what works for you- never be scared to make changes.
I repeat; find what works for you.
Diet Mistake #1 | Calorie Free, 0%, Low-Fat, No-Fat, LITE up your Life.
I had plain 0% Yoghurt for breakfast, a Salad for lunch… Then I came home and ate my entire kitchen.
What? No wonder we are confused. There are no studies to tell us we need 0%, but there are plenty to say we need Protein, Fats and Carbs- not forgetting Fibre.
Walk down any supermarket aisle and you’ll find low-fat options. From calorie calculated ready-meals and sugar-free desserts all fill our shopping baskets to the brim. Surely, I’m not the only one who’s found my waistline’s increased whilst my wallet’s cried during a an attempt to LITE up my Life?
Fat supplies almost double your calories (9 cal) per gram consumed, compared to Protein (4 cal) and Carbs (4 cal). Over the past 40 years we’ve seen a boom in Fat-Free products. ‘Low Fat’ advertising comes with the message of improved health, especially when it comes to our hearts. Cut down on full fat dairy, processed foods and red meat (Trim excess fat).
Top awareness tips for your next shopping trip:
- Saturated Fats: Saturated fats is the main culprit for increasing your cholesterol levels and clogging your arteries
Instead of your daily spread; try dipping your bread in quality unsaturated oils like pumpkin, olive and walnut. Or swapping your mayo for greek yoghurt? A squeeze of lemon juice and my love of chives goes a long way.
- Trans Fat: With the saturated-fats knowledge, the food industry made the call to replace saturated animal fats with an un-saturated vegetable option. Processing vegetable fat using a hydrogenated process to better mimic animal fat results in an increase of trans-fat (also bad for your cholesterol and arteries).Good news is, looking at supermarket levels over recent years- the food industry is now making an effort to reduce those also.
Why not swap frying for steaming or poaching?
- Sugar: Low-Fat products have an increase in sugar to remain tasting somewhat like their full-fat comrades.This usually means even though it’s low-fat, they’re usually higher in carbs and at the end of the day come out at a similar overall calorie count.
Check food labels on products and teach yourself to read them- a quick google search will get your far.
- Good Fats: Fats don’t just supply calories. You do need fat in your diet for simple things like adequate brain function. If you’re feeling like a walking, talking cloud of brain-fog on low-fat products- you know what I mean.Pick up some some oily fish (salmon’s my favourite!), nuts and seeds; essential fatty acid’s (including omega-3’s), helps with creating hormones, super-charges our nervous system and maintaining healthy blood vessels.
Try eating more fish- how about swapping brunch-bacon for salmon and unsalted nut for your lunch-time crips?
- Vitamins: Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are best absorbed alongside some good fats- so getting them in ensures you’re not deficient (which impacts bone health and your body’s ability to heal itself). + regulates your immune system.
Honestly, Quark is a staple of mine, virtually no-fat, high protein, low carb and yes, it sometimes bloats me due to slight intolerance to lactose. But I am not on a 0% anything. I get creative, and I prefer it to yoghurt. I do allow myself higher fat elsewhere, but I don’t believe that the fat replaced by sugar in my diet does my cells any favours.
Diet Mistakes #2 | Skipping Meals
I’m not Dieting, I’m changing my Lifestyle.
This one always hit me close to home- especially when I’m away from home. We’ve all heard the saying Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail, and it rings true every time.
- Taking an extra hour to cook your food in bulk on a Sunday night, will not only ensure you rush snack yourself yourself through your busy day- but it’s also super wallet friendly, and saves you time throughout the week.
- I always carry snack with me; a banana for mid-morning slump or pre-workout, seeded unprocessed bars or a small bag of nuts. Best way to beat that afternoon slump.
In terms of meal-prep, I’m not as strict as I used to be but I’m currently trying to put on some muscle, which essentially means I need to eat more. I made my latest Physique Update Post going more in-dept about my current plan- but my downfall is always being very busy. If I’m not mindful of having the right food available, I’ll rush around and forget to eat enough.
Diet Mistakes #3 | Calories
I’m on a Seafood Diet. I see food- and I eat it.
Diets, like clothes, should be tailored to you. There are plenty of calculators on the internet that will give you a rough idea of your current maintenance calories (the amount you have to eat to maintain your current weight/body composition).
Essentially, to build muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus, and to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit.
I would never recommend more than 150-200 calories either way.
Working your maintenance calories out and learning to read your food labels is what sets you up for success. It might be overwhelming at first, but once you get used to tracking your food, it won’t be long until you see results. This is the quickest way to make changes.
You will get to know your own body, which is an invaluable tool to have, and before you know it the ‘tracking’ side of things will get so familiar you won’t even think twice about it.
Set your goal. Remember: Calories is no more and no less than fuel for our bodies, souls and minds.
Diet Mistakes #4 | Drinks.
Alcohol =Empty Calories. But what about your fizzy-goodness, or triple-salted-caramel-three-shots-of-espresso-with-whipped-cream-and-full-fat-milk? Okay, that last one’s an obvious downfall but…
First Swap I made in 2012 was alcohol. From a six-nights a week drinking bender at University to a handful of times a year. Birthdays, new year- and usually never more than two.
Now, I’m not restricting myself. It’s pretty common knowledge that I can’t consume any higher levels of alcohol anymore. Give me sunshine and a bottle of Budweiser or Espresso Martini, but it’s either one or the other- or my body screams no.
Never mind the recovery of death on two drinks when you haven’t had any in months.
I don’t mean to be a party-pooper, drink if you want. As I said, I enjoy one on occasion- but if it’s frequent and you have bigger goals, just be mindful and enjoy some of the calories elsewhere.
Now, Caffeine. I consume it daily but I also made a swap in 2015 from my Large Salted Caramel Latte to Black Americano.
I was practicing Intermittent Fasting at the time, and I dare say, felt like hurling at the though of black coffee. I stuck it out, and now it’s my delicious cup of nectar each morning.
Taste buds change and adapt quicker than you can imagine- this can be a 0% fat, low-to-no calorie option I get on board with.
Bonus Thought | The meaning of Diet
I’m ending this post about my Diet Mistakes with the word Diet according to Google:
Middle English: from Old French diete (noun), dieter (verb), via Latin from Greek diaita ‘a way of life’.
More specifically, a way of living as advised by a physician. This would include “food”, but also other “habits”.
Think about that for a second. What are some of the culprits in your everyday life?
Then, think about what the word Diet means to you- and what would you like it to mean?