Debunking Diet Dogma–25 Things Style

I was sitting here trying to write a different article for this months’ newsletter, but I kept finding myself visiting Facebook and reading everyone’s “25 things you may not know about me.” (You can read mine here.) So, I thought I would debunk diet and exercise myths in “25 things” style.

1. Don’t eat after 7 p.m.
Oprah says it and a nation buys it. Didn’t really work for her either.

2. Eat protein after you work out.
If you are a high-performance athlete, a great idea. If you are like the rest of us, just eat when you’re hungry.

3. Eat a little to “store energy” before you work out.
Only if you’re hungry.

4. Eat now if you might get hungry later.
Throw some nuts or a non-junky bar in your bag. Then eat when you’re hungry. Are you sensing a theme here?

5. This tastes so good I don’t want to stop eating it.
Slow down and savor each bite, notice how the taste changes.

6. I can eat more because I worked out.
Don’t connect working out with the amount of food you eat.

7. I’ll eat 100-calorie packs so I can lose weight fast.
They take out the real food and replace it with crapola (technical term). You will feel less satisfied which ultimately leads to eating more.

8. It’s all about calories in and calories out.
Not so much. It’s about tuning into your body, listening and fueling it according to its needs.

9. I can’t be in the same room with chocolate/tortilla chips/fried food.
When you make these things “forbidden fruit” they become overwhelmingly tempting. Let yourself have them, really enjoy them and stop when you’re full.

10. Food is my friend.
No it isn’t. Food is not your friend or your enemy. Food is food.

11. It’s noon, must be lunchtime.
Only if you’re hungry.

12. I should eat 3/4/6 meals per day.
Listen to your body, don’t let external cues determine when you eat.

13. Wasting food is bad.
Like my mentor Brooke Castillo says, “You can either waste food inside your body or outside your body.” Either way it’s not going to the starving kids in <fill in the blank>.

14. I have to deprive myself to lose weight.
Depriving yourself is one sure way to gain weight. And is absolutely no fun.

15. If I don’t do lunges/extreme cardio/dance class it’s not working out.
Just start moving. Do what sounds fun and build from there.

16. Walking doesn’t count.
Yes it does!

17. I’m lazy because I can’t lose weight.
No you aren’t and yes you can. Really.

18. It’s hard to keep the weight off.
It’s hard to keep it on. It requires consistently being checked out of your body and mind so you can keep putting more food in your body than it wants.

19. When I’m thin, I’ll be happy.
When you are happy, you will be thin.

20. My mom always told me…
Can we agree that you can reject this one out of hand? Your mom probably doesn’t even buy it.

21. The chart in Shape magazine says I should weigh X.
Your body knows its natural weight. Don’t look to charts and diagrams to decide what feels right for you.

22. I’ll pick lowfat inferior cheesecake over the most awesome cheesecake ever.
Don’t rip yourself off. If you are going to “joy” eat, go for the best, highest quality treat. Enjoy every bite and stop when you’re full.

23.Whole-fat foods will make me fat.
Healthy whole fat foods are actually good for you, taste great and are more satisfying. I’m talking about yogurt, avocados, nuts, etc…

24. If I weigh myself three times, the number will magically change.

25. It’s all too complicated!
It’s simple (although the execution is not always easy—I get that). Listen to your body, put quality ingredients in it, be kind to yourself and don’t buy into the dogma.

What’s your dogma and how do you debunk it?