6 Diet Rules You Can Break!
By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
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Health Topics »It’s no secret that the number one diet “rule to live by” is this: to lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you burn over an extended period of time. Beyond that, the rules of weight loss are actually a lot more flexible than you might think (and, as you probably know from personal experience, what works for one person may not work for another). Here are six universal diet truths that, as it turns out, aren’t always true.
1.You Must Exercise To Lose Weight. Controlling calories and food intake is key to shedding unwanted pounds (much more so than exercise). If you’re not able to be active or just can’t commit to a regular workout schedule, you can still lose weight without exercising if you carefully monitor your food intake. Of course, being physically active provides a whole host of health benefits outside of weight management, and for this reason I highly encourage everyone to incorporate fitness into their lifestyle. But if you absolutely can’t or won’t exercise, know that it’s still possible to achieve your weight loss goals.
2.Only Weigh Yourself Once Per Week. There is no “one size fits all” rule with weighing. Some people do better with daily weigh-ins and others with no scale at all; it’s really a personal choice. If you find that daily or weekly visits to the bathroom scale help you stay accountable, by all means, maintain your usual routine. If tracking your numbers tends to make you obsess a bit, you can always gauge your weight loss by taking occasional measurements or noting changes in your clothing size.
3.Dessert is a No-No. As long as you account for the calories, dessert is perfectly okay—whether it’s berries, cookies, or a slice of rich, fudgy chocolate cake. Some dieters that I’ve counseled like to build in one portion-controlled treat per day—maybe two cookies or a low-fat ice cream pop. Others prefer to save up their “discretionary calories” and splurge on one decadent dessert per week from a restaurant or bakery. Whatever your preferred strategy, it is definitely possible to satisfy a sweet tooth without derailing your diet.
4.Portion Control Everything You Eat. Not true! You can overeat non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s content, as long as you prepare them in healthful ways. Non-starchy vegetables—like leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and green beans—are incredibly low in calories, thanks to their high water and fiber content. They’ll fill you up and displace more caloric foods…and ultimately help you lose weight by eating more!
5.Never Skip Breakfast (it’s the most important meal of day.) Some people are just not naturally conditioned to be early morning eaters, and that’s completely understandable. There’s no reason to force yourself into eating breakfast if you’re not hungry, as long as you’re not having a problem with overeating later in the day. Instead, have a meal or mid-morning snack later on, when your appetite finally kicks in.
6.Salads Are Your Best Bet For Losing Weight. Sadly, some salads are actually more caloric than a loaded burger with a side of fries…those certainly won’t do you any favors on the scale. And if you hate salads and they leave you feeling completely unsatisfied, they can actually be counterproductive. If you view these diet staples as bland, boring “rabbit food”, you certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to include them in your meal plan. Find more interesting lunch and dinner options that excite your taste buds and satisfy your appetite. You’ll stick with your diet longer if you’re enjoying what you’re eating.
For more tips on losing weight, visit joybauer.com and follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.