What does it truly mean to eat healthy? It seems like such a broad and vague topic that so many people search far and wide to find out. But are they missing out on enjoying foods just because some diet book told them something was unhealthy? Are you missing out because you’ve been listening to healthy eating myths?
If you’ve walked down any checkout aisle at the grocery store, you’ve come in contact with articles promising a healthy life with such and such plan, or by eating this one superfood, or throwing back their “nutritional” shake with God-knows what in it’s ingredient list. But what if all those articles were wrong?
In my experience talking with people, I’ve found that one of the biggest set-backs people face when trying to eat healthy is that they overcomplicate it. And rightly so…We’re so bombarded with what one person thinks is or isn’t healthy, or what one celebrity is or isn’t doing to be healthy, that we lose sight of the nitty gritty basics of healthy eating.
Yes, I know that was a “Nacho Libre” reference. Gotta love it!
So, that being said, I wanted to share with you some healthy eating myths and help you not fall trap to all the this and that that they cause. Healthy eating is so much more simple than people make it! And it’s for everyone, on every single type of budget, in any part of the country.
Here’s the healthy eating myths, debunked:
- Carbs are bad. Fats are bad. Carbs are necessary to brain function. Fats are necessary for lubricating our body systems and providing energy. Without these two components of food we won’t be able to function. It’s the basis of our cell’s health.
- Counting macros is better than counting calories. Yeah, no. Counting macros is just as bad for your mental view of food and just as restricting as counting calories. It’s just more glorified today.
- Poor eating habits are counter-balanced by going to the gym. Why think of how you can “get away with” non-nutritious food habits when you could be thinking, how can I best fuel my body to live and breathe and move in the way it was meant to.
- A food’s serving size is all that you can eat. No! What you see on a packaged item as it’s serving size is simply a way of measure. Just because a bag of popcorn says that the serving size is 1 cup doesn’t mean you can only have that amount. It’s simply a way for comparison between foods. A much better way of determining a serving size fit for you is being in tune with how your body feels as you eat. So slow down, savor, and eat until satisfied!
- Drinking a nutritious shake will help you lose weight. Well, technically I guess it may. There’s plenty of programs out there that include a shake for a meal as part of their solution. But who wants to live their life drinking a shake as a meal every day? I, for one, love fancy breakfast foods and couldn’t imagine giving up french toast and donuts for the rest of my life! No, way! So, though drinking their shake…however “natural” and “nutritious” they say it is, may lead to weight loss, it’s not a weight loss that lasts, or for that matter, is enjoyable life-long.
- There are healthy and non-healthy foods. It’s the eat this-not that generation we’re in right now. Sadly, this thought process causes so much unnecessary fear and anxiety with food when what we should be doing is enjoying what gives our bodies life! Instead of seeing foods as healthy vs. unhealthy, a much better option is to see food as fuel, better fuel, and best fuel. With this mindset, all food is available to enjoy, but you’ll find yourself choosing foods that are better for you more often and saving less healthy foods for the every once in a while treat.
- The “right diet” is ______. So many people try to push their food choices on others. Some vegetarians and vegans frown on those who choose to eat meat. A Paleo diet follower may say their diet is the healthiest option. I’m not trying to bash anyone’s food or life choices. I’m just simply saying, you don’t have to be a vegetarian, vegan, or paleo-ist to be healthy. Choose what you feel good about and what feels good to your body and go with that, always leaving wiggle room.
- Snacking is bad. There’s definitely better-for-you snacking options out there, but snacking is definitely not a bad thing. I’ve actually found that when I eat regularly throughout the day, my mood is better (I get the major hangries), my energy is sustained, and I don’t over eat as frequently. Snacking, in this sense, is actually good! Find yourself some high-energy snacks or make your own and keep them on you throughout the day! Your friends who are usually the victim of your hangry-ness will thank you!
- You have to be wealthy to eat healthy. Didn’t intend on that rhyming. But no, you don’t have to buy only organic or shop at Whole Foods in order to eat healthy foods. Stick to simple ingredients and you’ll find you’re saving money and eating healthy all at the same time!
- What works for one person will work for you. Every person’s body is different. Find what you enjoy and don’t let anyone else tell you you are or are not right for doing so. Listen to your cravings, be mindful of your choices, take a step back, and relax. Healthy eating should not be complicated. There’s no instruction manual on how to eat healthy, so find what works for you!
Can you relate with thinking or believing any of these myths? I hope you’re enlightened and find freedom in knowing that there is no right or wrong way to eat healthy. It’s about listening to your body and finding that balance that makes you feel your best!
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