A balanced diet used to be sufficient advice as recently as only a few years ago. But now there are many competing and contradictory claims that clamor for your attention. So knowing how to avoid confusion while dieting is as important as the diet itself.
Many diets, supplements and regimes promise a lot but deliver little.
Our diet and nutrition has a profound impact on our overall health and wellbeing. It not only affects our weight and overall fitness, but it can also affect our mood, recovery from illness, and energy levels.
At its best and worse, our diet can affect the length of our life.
Many different schools of nutrition claim to be able to benefit you the most. They promise a longer life, improvement of current health conditions and the prevention of future problems. But it can be difficult to find one that works for us.
On the occasion that we do feel like we are adhering to a diet strictly, we might not see results. Why is this? We feel that we are following instructions and being sensible. We are taking advice and addressing surrounding aspects of our lifestyle.
So why is our new diet not affecting us positively? Why are we yet to see any results? Many people genuinely find that diets work for a time and then seem to stop. Others find that nutrition programmes that work seamlessly for one person do not work for them.
It is important to recognize that your needs are unique. But that some key principles also need to be followed to avoid confusion while dieting. If you have stuck to a diet strictly for three months and cannot identify a cause for why it is not working, it may be linked to the reasons below.
How To Avoid Confusion While Dieting
Read on to discover how to avoid confusion while dieting and reestablish your weight loss goals for best results.
1. Read Labels Carefully
Many people are content to take labels and names at face value. If the packaging reads “healthy”, “fat free” or “light”, many people will accept it. “No added sugar” can perhaps be especially misleading.
While there may not have been any refined sugar added to the product, there may still be naturally occurring sugars that add calories.
There are strict rules in place to prevent false advertising in nutrition. Food tech company Hampton Creek recently won the right to label their egg-less mayonnaise as Just Mayo. Even though the product contains no eggs, the word “just” referred to ethical implications instead.
This proves that companies have the right to label their products accurately without being constrained by assumptions. It can be helpful to stay up to date on names and packaging so that we can make informed decisions.
Studies have also shown that a simple chicken sandwich on granary bread may additionally contain honey or treacle. By taking packaging or names at face value without reading the ingredients for ourselves, we can be risking our dietary goals.
2. Check Yourself For Allergies
It is common for allergy sufferers to have a severe and visible reaction to their allergen. They may break out in a rash or suffer from stomach pains and vomiting. They may even suffer seizures or remain sick for several days at a time.
But it is important to remember that some allergies can take time to develop. Not all of them are immediately visible even if they are seriously damaging.
A gluten-intolerance may take months to manifest, for example, but can attack the thyroid and intestinal lining.
An allergy to shellfish may develop later in life and we may be consuming products that we do not even realize contain fish ingredients.
If you have noticed that you have been getting unwell or that your body is not responding to positive dietary changes, see a doctor. A blood test and other thorough tests can eliminate possible allergens from the enquiry.
Even if you have developed an allergy or discover that you have a long-standing intolerance, do not despair. You can adapt your dietary goals and can now begin to progress on a healthier journey.
Allergies can cause bloating, weight gain and other problems that may have been affecting your fitness goals.
Food companies are now more aware than ever of the seriousness of allergies too. Many well-known allergens are now highlighted in bold on the ingredients list. This makes it less likely to have a mishap.
3. Emphasize Nutritional Value
It can be very common practise to think that we are dieting simply by reducing our calories.
In reality, ensuring that our body is receiving enough calories but the right nutrition is more important. If we are eating fewer calories but not enough nutrients, for example, our health will not improve.
Even if we notice weight loss, we will not notice the corresponding rise in energy levels. We will quickly feel weak, irritable and may even notice things like brittle hair and fingernails.
Do not be tempted to withhold too many calories. Ensure that you are eating a varied diet with grains, pulses, fruit, vegetables, and protein. These can be obtained from plant sources if you are vegan or vegetarian.
There are also many dietary supplements that are suitable for allergy sufferers too. Try to get into the habit of considering whether something has nutritional value rather than high or low calories.
Are there vitamins, minerals or fiber, for example? If not, it is likely to just be empty calories.
4. Eat Regularly
Our metabolism is at its most effective for burning calories if we eat regularly. In the same way that you must keep stoking a fire to ensure it burns wood, we must keep topping up our metabolism to burn calories. We do this by eating small, regular, nutritious meals.
If we’re eating on the go it is important to avoid foods that claim to boost your energy. Highly sugary or caffeinated drinks or snacks may have a powerful effect at first. But they can rapidly lead to a slump.
In the short term, this can make us feel unwell and cause us to overeat or even reach for yet another sugary snack. But in the long term it can harm our pancreas and puts us at risk of diabetes.
Try instead to emphasize snacks that are high in fiber. Slow release carbohydrates (such as nuts and seeds, bananas, beans and whole grains) also help us to maintain our blood sugar levels. We will feel fuller for longer, maintain our energy levels, and will be less likely to binge.
We may be frustrating our dietary goals by eating too little. Our metabolism then slows and the body stores fat. This can be confusing but the principle is to eat little, often, and wisely.
By regularly taking in nutrients we can boost our metabolism and keep our energy levels stable.
5. Consulting A Professional
It can be very common nowadays to turn to the internet for advice in place of a qualified professional. There is a high tendency amongst people who are interested in health and fitness to try and solve problems themselves.
They may consider themselves knowledgeable on the subjects. They may read widely, consulting books, blogs, and online support groups. They may have fitness apps or subscribe to fitness channels on YouTube.
While taking control of your health is admirable in many ways, we should not feel like we have to do it alone. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help and advice. It shows that we want to take steps to progress.
As valuable a resource on the internet has become, it is not a substitute for a genuine professional. While some areas of the internet have reputable and sound advice, there are just as many that do not.
Conflicting information and disputes can confuse and demoralize us. If we are seeking reasons for why our diet is failing, the internet can be overwhelming.
There are so many possible causes that we need to work methodically. That way we can rule them out one by one.
It is easier and more thorough to do this by consulting a professional. A doctor or nutritionist is a good place to start. Their tests can determine any underlying health issues such as deficiencies or absorbency problems.
Even if they find that there is nothing medical hindering us, at least we know for sure. We can then move forward on the basis of this knowledge and continue with our health journey.
Beginning and maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging at times. Even if we manage to maintain motivation, we can feel thwarted by confusing labels or misleading facts. The key is to achieve the balance between staying informed and listening to your body.
Try to take on board the advice of professionals and reputable sources. But if it does not seem to be working for you, ask yourself honestly why not.
Perhaps you are not adhering to it strictly enough. Maybe you are not being patient. Or perhaps you have an underlying health condition that requires addressing before you can continue. Whatever the reason, it can be corrected.
With time, patience, and steady motivation, along with these tips, you will avoid confusion while dieting and achieve your goals.