I thought about doing a list for those who are interested in starting an active and healthy lifestyle. Research supports the 22 mistakes in this list. I've made some of these mistakes, like exercising almost every day, because I love it. I wasn’t giving my body the rest that it needed, and now I suffer from arthritis in my knees. Same as food, overdoing it is not good for you.
1. FAD DIETS
The "3-Day Diet" (lose 10 lb. in 3 days), Atkins, Metabolism Diet, 7-day Diet, Grapefruit Diet, etc. All of these DON’T teach you good eating habits, they only tell you what to eat. They promise you will lose weight fast, limit food choices, and some concentrate on one particular food. You will not learn to live in the real world, making good choices, with these diets. AVOID FAD DIETS - they don’t teach you how to eat healthy in the long term, in the real world.
2. SKIPPING MEALS OR EATING ONCE A DAY
This will lower your sugar levels, and you will have cravings for sugary products. A great way to eat healthy is to have 4 to 5 small meals a day, instead of 2 big ones, so you can stabilize blood sugar and control your appetite.
3. DIET/NO EXERCISE
Instead of thinking “I need to lose some weight”, think about being healthy, having muscle mass and low body fat. Exercise is not just for burning fat, but also to tone muscles and improve cardiovascular conditioning.
4. ONLY CARDIO
Well, a cardio only approach is better than being a couch potato, but cardio won’t build muscles while you reach your goal weight. Doing only cardio and over doing it will make you lose muscle. A great exercise plan has a weight lifting routine to help you tone your body. Also, weight lifting will increase your metabolism because muscle can burn more calories for up to 24 hours after training them. Ladies, you will not get bulky like a man; you will look healthy, sexy and toned. And to conclude, use a combination of body toning, cardio and good nutrition.
5. STARTING WITH TOO MUCH
If you are switching from couch potato mode to an active machine mode, don’t start with too much. You can get injured, get frustrated, quit and go back to the couch potato routine. Don’t pretend you can run 5, 10, 15 miles without training first - start by jogging a mile or 2, and switching to walking in minute intervals. Also with weight lifting, don’t start with heavy weight; you will compromise your form and could get injured.
6. LITTLE WEIGHT/ TOO MUCH WEIGHT
When you are weight lifting, avoid using light weight that doesn't allow you to feel your muscles working, and avoid using heavy weight that compromises your form, and prevents you from finishing a set. Either way, you are not going to see results and you can get hurt.
7. AVOID MOMENTUM
Rocking your body to lift the weight is not going to build the muscle you are working, and you can easily get injured. Learn the appropriate form for each exercise, and learn to concentrate on the muscle you are working.
8. NOT RESEARCH/NO HELP
When starting a healthy lifestyle, do your research, ask a nutritionist, a fitness specialist and your doctor; so you can learn, and have a great exercise and nutritional plan that fits your needs.
9. SHORT-TERM DIET
When you do one of these "fad diets" and reach your goal weight, what’s next? Go back to your old lifestyle? You are going to gain the weight back and then some. Your plan should focus on being healthy and energetic.
A lot of people make this mistake. Overeating will increase not only your waist, but also your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even depression. For more information on portion control go to: http://www.aarp.org/health/staying_healthy/eating/size_does_matter.html
11. SEVERE DIET
Some people follow strict diets; they avoid eating meats, grains, juices or some vegetables. Sometimes they decide eating once a day will do the trick; or just consuming 500 to 800 calories daily. These restrictions will slow your metabolism and cause you health issues because you are not giving your body the energy it needs to function. At minimum, you should be consuming 1200 to 1500 daily calories – and even more if you work out every week.
12. NOT ENOUGH H2O
Please, drink at least 8 glasses of water daily (8 oz each). Water is great for your health, it gives you energy, improves athletic performance, removes toxins and waste from your body. It will help you lose weight and keep your skin beautiful, among other great benefits. Plus, water has ZERO calories.
13. “I EXERCISE, SO I CAN EAT A LOT OF EVERYTHING”
Don’t think you can be healthy with exercise and a poor diet consisting of junk food and no portion control. You will ask yourself “Why am I not losing weight? I do a lot of exercise.” Well the answer it’s obvious - you don’t have a good balanced between physical activity and nutrition.
14. OVER EXERCISING
Your body needs rest, and over exercising can cause insomnia, exhaustion, depression, bone fractures, arthritis, among other conditions. Remember, to reach your goal weight you need TIME and PATIENCE.
15. NO FRUIT/ALWAYS JUICES
Fruit juices have all the sugar from the fruit, but none of the fiber. So if you want to make a choice, go with the fruit. And if you still desire the drink, make sure is 100% juice and with no sugar added.
16. EATING A LOT OF FAT FREE SNACKS
If a product is fat free or sugar free, it doesn’t mean you can eat a ton of it. You should always have control. Note: Did you know that some fat free products have more sugar to compensate for the decreased fat?
17. EATING VEGGIES OR SALADS ONLY
You are not going to last a lifetime eating only salads or veggies. Yes, they are a great alternative, but if you learn the benefits of other foods, you’ll see you have more choices. Also, be careful and don’t fool yourself thinking you're eating healthy because you are having a salad full of croutons, cheese, bacon bits, and high fat dressings. Also avoid fried veggies - eat them grilled or steamed.
18. NO SNACKS BETWEEN MEALS
Why not? Snacks are an excellent way to help you control your regular meal portions, and help to control your appetite. Just make sure you are eating healthy snacks, low in calories. And why not eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours?
19. NO DESSERTS
Why are you going to deny yourself a great dessert? Just eat a small portion, or find a healthy one. And if you are in a restaurant and they serve you a larger-than-life dessert, share with your friends. This will prevent you from feeling guilty about eating the whole thing.
20. AVOIDING ALL FATS
Just because it has fat doesn’t mean it’s always bad. Learn to distinguish between good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and the bad fats (saturated and Trans). For more info go to http://www.healthcastle.com/goodfats-badfats.shtml
21. PAY NO ATTENTION TO FOOD LABELS AND INGREDIENTS LIST
Read the nutritional facts so you can make better choices and know what you are putting in your body. Watch out for food with a very long list of ingredients that you can't pronounce.
22. CARBS BANNED
Carbs are a good source of energy and your body needs them, so don’t ban all of them. You can control the amount you are having and choose the complex carbs that are good for you (Whole wheat products, cereals high in fiber and low in sugar, brown rice, oatmeal, and fruits).