So, you made a resolution this year to get fit and feel better overall? We applaud that. Your are probably busy researching fitness and eating tips to put into action, and we applaud that, too. It is always good to educate oneself. That being said, there is a lot of information out there. One might almost say that there is too much information out there. Between the “experts” and the “gurus”, it is hard to differentiate between the vital and the superfluous.
We want to make your life easier, and following over 100 rules and regulations on diet and exercise is overwhelming to say the least. This will only lead to feeling like getting healthy is more work than it’s worth, and that is totally not true.
So, here goes. Some of the most superfluous advice and tips that you are better off ignoring:
1. ” Do not drink water during a meal. Drink water before your meal. Drink water after your meal. Don’t drink water up to 35 minutes after your meal…”
When I saw this kind of advice on a health blog, I gave a hearty laugh. This is what I think: WHO CARES?! The reasoning behind timing when you drink water in accordance to your meals has to do with optimal digestion, which is understandable. But honestly, we are not machines and we should not live as such. We will resent our healthy habits if they are so rigorous so as to dictate when you can and cannot consume some good ol’ H20. Some useful hydration tips? Aim to drink between 1.5 -2 liters of water a day depending on your activity levels and drink when you are thirsty or think you are hungry. Sometimes snack cravings come on because you are dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water is a great way to check in with yourself.
2. ” Bread and carbs are the devil.”
Wrong again, world. Bread might not be on the same level as a raw kale salad but it certainly is not the end all and be all of a healthy lifestyle. While eating a whole loaf of bread is advised against, having a slice or two a day might actually help you get fuller, feel satisfied, and fulfill your carb cravings.
On that note, carbs are also not evil. As a matter of fact, we recommend having healthy starchy carbs with at least two of your meals daily. What’s a healthy starchy carb? Rice, yams, quinoa, oatmeal and whole wheat bread are some great options. This will provide you with energy and prevent you from feeling like you’re starving or “on a diet”. Having salads all day is not sustainable in the long run.
3. ” Don’t eat more than 2 servings of fruit a day because of the sugar.”
I see this time and time again. ” Don’t eat too much fruit! The sugar will make you fat!” No. The fiber in fruit will actually make its digestion easier, so these highly water-based foods will pass right through your system. You really shouldn’t be scared of these vitamin-packed and nutrient-dense foods. Their benefits far outweigh the negatives (if any). As a matter of fact, they are a much healthier and mindful way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Freeze up some grapes and they’re as good as candy.
4. “Don’t eat after 7 pm.”
This is something I have admittedly followed in the past, thinking it worked because when I woke up I would feel super lean. However, I would feel so hungry in the mornings I could have pancakes, oatmeal, and a jar of peanut butter if I let myself… Sufficed to say, it isn’t worth it.
In addition, not many people go to bed at 9 pm and sometimes that is the only time many get the chance to have dinner after a busy work day. So, what are you going to do? Starve yourself? No. We suggest eating dinner when ever you please but try to limit the (very) late night snacking on junk and 2 am fast food drive thrus.
5. “Have 6-8 small meals a day. Have 3 larger meals a day…”
In continuation with arbitrary advice on eating habits is the size and frequency in which you consume your meals. Some people say that having small meals every 2-3 hours is the secret to a fast metabolism, while others say that having 3 large meals keeps your body from using so much energy to work on digestion all day long. In reality, who cares? If you are eating healthy foods and within reason, may we recommend that you just eat when you’re hungry and until you’re satisfied?
6. Don’t lift weights, you will become The Hulk.”
Females are especially prone to believing this. You will see the weights section and the majority of the people there are male with very few females. It is a shame, because it can truly be the number one tool in sculpting that physique you have always wanted without the monotony of a treadmill or stair master. People need to realize that bodybuilders have spent years upon years of bulking, leaning out, and weight lifting hundreds of pounds to get the physique they have. Lifting 10-20 lb dumbbells a few times a week will not make you the next Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson but instead will create muscle that burns more calories throughout the day and fat.
7. “You have to go to the gym 6 days a week and do XYZ to get results.”
Everyday we see it. Yoga 6 days a week is the way to a slimmer body! Running will help keep you lean! Weight lifting will tone you! Crossfit is the only answer! Nope. This is what confuses people. Beginners step onto the fitness scene and feel like they have so many options but must only stick to one and be part of a “tribe”. The best advice we can give is to do what you like to do when you feel like doing it. If you want to do Pilates two times a week, run two times, and lift weights two times, do you. If you get so into yoga that it’s all you want to do? Do that. As long as you feel great and not like you are punishing yourself when you are working out, you are doing good by your body.
7. ” Do X for X days and lose X pounds.”
Besides a fitness prescription, people like to give you an oral prescription, too. Drink this weird concoction for 30 days and lose 25 pounds! Take this pill every day and lose 50 pounds! Do a juice cleanse for seven days and lose 10 pounds! There are plenty of these claims, and they may be right, but are these lasting weight loss miracles? Or, are they temporary solutions? We think it’s the latter. Don’t get us wrong, we love fresh pressed juice, for example. However, do we think it is the ultimate in weight loss methods? Certainly not. By only drinking juice you are obviously going to lose weight but it won’t be fat, it will be water weight, which will come rushing back once you go back to your old eating habits.
The lesson learned here? Simplify. You don’t need all these fussy tips and tricks to be and stay healthy. All you need to do is eat the right foods (protein, carbs, and fats), drink plenty of water, rest, and stay active. That’s it. In addition, by being more stress-free it has been proven that your body is less prone to latching onto fat Just think about that the next time you try any stressful fad diet or exercise regimens.
What crazy fitness advice have you heard?
All photos via Thinkstock