It’s no secret that the number one diet “rule
to live by” is this: to lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you burn
over an extended period of time.
Beyond that, the rules of weight loss are actually a lot more flexible
than you might think (and, as you probably know from personal experience, what
works for one person may not work for another). Here are six universal diet truths that, as it turns out,
aren’t always true.
You Must Exercise To Lose Weight. Controlling calories and food intake is key to shedding unwanted pounds
(much more so than exercise). If you’re not able to be active or just
can’t commit to a regular workout schedule, you can still lose weight without
exercising if you carefully monitor your
food intake. Of course, being
physically active provides a whole host of health benefits outside of weight
management, and for this reason I highly encourage everyone to incorporate
fitness into their lifestyle. But if you absolutely can’t or won’t exercise,
know that it’s still possible to achieve your weight loss goals.
Only Weigh Yourself Once Per
Week. There is no “one size fits all”
rule with weighing. Some people do better with daily weigh-ins and others
with no scale at all; it’s really a personal choice. If you find that daily or weekly visits to the bathroom
scale help you stay accountable, by all means, maintain your usual
routine. If tracking your numbers
tends to make you obsess a bit, you can always gauge your weight loss by taking
occasional measurements or noting changes in your clothing size.
Dessert is a No-No. As long as you account for the calories, dessert is perfectly
okay—whether it’s berries, cookies, or a slice of rich, fudgy chocolate cake. Some dieters that I’ve counseled like
to build in one portion-controlled treat per day—maybe two cookies or a low-fat
ice cream pop. Others prefer to save
up their “discretionary calories” and splurge on one decadent dessert per week
from a restaurant or bakery. Whatever your preferred strategy, it is definitely possible to satisfy a
sweet tooth without derailing your diet.
Portion Control Everything You Eat. Not true! You can overeat non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s
content, as long as you prepare them in healthful ways. Non-starchy
vegetables—like leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms,
peppers, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and green beans—are incredibly low in
calories, thanks to their high water and fiber content. They’ll fill you up and displace more
caloric foods…and ultimately help you lose weight by eating more!
Never Skip Breakfast (it’s the most
important meal of day.) Some people are just not naturally conditioned to be early
morning eaters, and that’s completely understandable. There’s no reason to force yourself into eating breakfast if
you’re not hungry, as long as you’re not having a problem with overeating later
in the day. Instead, have a meal or mid-morning snack later on, when your
appetite finally kicks in.
Salads Are Your Best Bet For Losing Weight. Sadly, some salads are actually more caloric than a loaded burger with a
side of fries…those certainly won’t do you any favors on the scale. And if you
hate salads and they leave you feeling completely unsatisfied, they can
actually be counterproductive. If
you view these diet staples as bland, boring “rabbit food”, you certainly
shouldn’t feel obligated to include them in your meal plan. Find more interesting lunch and dinner
options that excite your taste buds and satisfy your appetite. You’ll stick with your diet longer if
you’re enjoying what you’re eating.