What you eat is as important as your workouts when you are trying to get in shape, stay in shape or lose weight. The right nutrients dramatically affect the way your body performs, so healthy eating is a key to your overall fitness.
That being said, there are a lot of myths about healthy eating. Here are a few to consider.
1. You can work out on an empty stomach. This is false. If your tummy is rumbling through a workout, you’re not giving your body fuel to burn. Many people think this means your body will run off your fat stores.
What this may turn into is not enough energy to get through your workout or get the most out of it. For best results, have a small snack 2-3 hours before you work out.
Also, don’t work out on a full stomach. If you do a high-intensity workout, you also won’t have the fuel to work out. Your body will divert energy to your stomach to help it digest a big meal instead of sending it to your muscles to keep you going.
2. Energy bars and drinks are a good way to boost energy
This is also not true. You may get an initial boost from the caffeine; however, most of these drinks and bars are high in sugar.
You’ll end up crashing because of that. Energy bars and drinks are fine every once in a while, but you should focus on eating healthy fruits and vegetables instead. An overall balanced diet will give you all the energy you need.
3. Skip breakfast
You should never skip breakfast since your body needs fuel to start the day. At night, everything slows down and your stomach empties from the night before.
In a sense, your body is fasting. You need a meal at the beginning of the day to break that fast. (Incidentally, that is where the name comes from – breakfast).
In addition, eating within an hour of waking up actually jump starts your metabolism for the day. That is another important reason not to skip this meal.
4. Low carb diets are healthy
Your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your muscles. Very low carb diets can actually be unhealthy – particularly if you are working out or you’re very active.
If you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs to run, it will turn to your fat stores but your body is not designed to run without carbs. Low carb diets actually deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles.
When that happens, your muscles can’t work as hard and you’ll start to feel weak. It also leads to muscle loss, which is never a good thing. Bottom line – you need to eat carbohydrates.
5. If you exercise you can eat what you want.
This is also false. You still have to burn the calories you eat. If you work out and then go out for a cheeseburger and shake, you just wasted your workout and then some.
Whatever goes in has to be burned off or it turns into fat regardless of how much you’re working out. Use fitness to splurge occasionally, but it does not give you a free pass at the buffet every day.
6. Decreasing calories is the best way to lose weight.
While you do need to decrease calories and increase activity to lose weight, you don’t want to restrict your calories too much. If you do, your body will think its starving and will slow your metabolism down to use what little fuel you are giving it.
While you may lose some weight, this is what also leads to yo-yo dieting. That, in turn, can really mess up your metabolism.
7. Skip soda and alcohol
True! These are just empty calories with no nutritional value. There is no reason to put something in your body that it can’t use. Plain water is still the best way to hydrate your body. You can add lemon or lemon juice to add to the flavor.
Soon you’ll find that’s really all you want. Also, make sure you drink water all day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. By then your body is already dehydrating.
Changing your eating habits is not easy. The theory is that it takes at least 3 months to establish a new habit or routine.Don’t take on everything at once or you won’t stick to anything.
Add 1-2 changes at a time, get comfortable with them and then add 1-2 more. Soon you’ll be eating healthier in no time and feeling better too. And remember – just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself.
Reward yourself once a week with one splurge. There are also a ton of great, healthy, flavorful recipes out there so use this as a chance to experiment in your kitchen.
Changing how you eat is always a great step towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, you better you’ll feel.
No matter how old you may be, healthy eating is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at all just how much it can change your life – for the better.