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I wish I could tell you to forget about 75% of the health and wellness advice you get from Women’s Health and Shape magazine. Sometimes I even cringe when I hear what Dr. Oz is pushing on his daytime show.
Most of the advice you see in the media is misleading.
- Eat less, exercise more
- Eat lots of “healthy whole grains”
- Raw organic cane sugar is a healthy alternative to table sugar
- Sugar-free cookies are guiltless pleasures
- Eat skinny Girl Cereal bars and look like Bethenny Frankel
Here’s the key issue with mainstream health recommendations:
These messages are so generic they can’t possibly be effective and more importantly, they are aligned with profit margins, bottom lines and advertising dollars, not your health and not your weight.
I think we can all agree, the major brands that advertise in these magazines – General Mills, Kellogg’s and Kraft aren’t in the business of making you less fat. So when you see a box of Special K with a measuring tape around the box’s imaginary tapered waist, please don’t think this is a “diet friendly” product. It’s far from it.
No Sugars, no grains (#NSNG)
I find the best way to look at packaged foods is to measure it against my well-known mantra – if it has sugar or grains (aka cheap ingredients), it’s out. It’s very simple actually, and most of these major brands don’t measure up.
Now, to be sure, I’m not 100% committed to a non-packaged food lifestyle. I still love the occasional facial dive into a bag of nacho chips or chocolate covered almonds, but I chose my indulgences mindfully and I stick with only the foods I would miss if I couldn’t have them anymore (like the aforementioned nacho love). I’d say less than 20% of my diet is dedicated to indulgences (including a healthy dose of wine). The rest are veggies, healthy fats, and quality protein.
Avoid Low Fat/ Low-Calorie Foods
When you hear the term “balance” as it relates to nutrition, I implore you to stay away from foods you might consider a “healthy compromise” such as cookies made with Splenda or chips with half the fat (and a fraction of the flavor). If food is not fulfilling a purpose like nourishing your body or indulging a craving, it’s not doing anything except adding fat to your hips and thighs.
I’d much rather see you eat the full fat, totally jacked with sugar ice cream (for example), so you can get your fix, then go for something subpar. Subpar will not satisfy. Subpar will make you eat more, not less. The rest of the time, focus on whole-foods. You know, food that doesn’t come in a crinkly package and don’t have ingredients that you have no idea how to pronounce.
So could you commit to a diet of 80% whole foods and 20% of whatever the heck you want? You could break that down into calories if you want – 1400 good calories a day and 300 shamelessly indulgent ones, or you could save them as free passes for when the urge hits. The idea is to give yourself the freedom to indulge as you continue to hone your healthy living skills.
Healthy living is a skill.
I know, it’s taken me about 23 years to hone mine, and I’m still a work in progress. Committing yourself to this skill building journey is a huge step, but it’s the decisions you make from that point on that will determine if you’re going to find effortless weight loss and vibrant health, or your same old set of fat problems you’ve been dealing with for the last 5 years.
Your commitment to better health and a lean body belongs only to you. Unfortunately, you can’t outsource great habits (and you won’t find them in the media), but you can get help and support in creating and sticking with them. Accountability and consistency are the key reasons why people succeed. Lack of belief in oneself and less than ideal resources and knowledge sources (like Shape magazine) is the key reason people fail.
If you’re interested in making a change and you want some help in ensuring you succeed on your health journey, I can help. If you’re not ready to invest in your commitment to yourself, here are 5 free resources on health and fitness and nutrition that I stand behind 100%. Start here and make a commitment to change. It’s up to you.
- Precision Nutrition – the gold standard in the industry for general nutrition advice
- Nutrition Authority – evidence-based general nutrition advice
- Coach Calorie – fitness and nutrition advice
- Meghan Telpher – general wellness advice with personality
- The Fit Habit – (obviously)
Whether you go it alone or enlist the help of a trusted pro, good luck with your health and fitness journey. It’s a process that never ends but continues to pay out in dividends.
To your health,