(VVNG.com)- Over the years, the rules of dieting have changed. In the 80’s, we were told to remove fat entirely from out diet. “Low fat” and “fat free” was stamped on the front of most packaged foods. Later, in the 90’s the same was done with the Atkins diet blaming carbs as the main villain for weight gain. In the 10’s (is that how we are referring to 2000-2010?) we saw a few diet movements gain traction including gluten-free, dairy-free and the Paleo Diet. Unfortunately, some of the wrong rules get engrained in your brain and it’s hard to let go of them. If you’re on the journey to lose weight and you wonder why you’re not reaching your goal as fast as you thought you would, you may need to reevaluate your dieting methods. Sometimes the rules need to be bent, changed and even broken. Here are six diet rules to break.
Rule to break #1: No snacks allowed. Will eating a snack between meals ruin your diet? While this may be what you were taught, it’s not true. Smart, low-calorie snacking can actually help you meet your goals. In fact, when mealtime finally rolls around and you feel famished, you’re more likely to overeat. Choose snacks that are 200 calories or fewer and that include a combination of protein and fiber to fill you up and give you energy.
Rule to break #2: Don’t eat any fat. What many people don’t know is that all fat isn’t created equal. Yes, there’s fat to avoid completely (trans fat), fat to limit (saturated), and fat you need for good health (omega-3s and unsaturated fats). Get good fats from nuts, fish, and avocado.
Rule to break #3: Don’t eat after 10 P.M. Were you ever told to stop eating after 6pm to force your body to burn more fat? Then you’ll want to hear this. Your body doesn’t know the difference between calories eaten at noon or those eaten at midnight. A calorie is a calorie; no matter what time you eat it. That means it’s actually okay to eat a late! In fact, you can eat right before bed and still lose weight. However, you want to consider the quality and type of calories. Obviously you want to watch out for mindless eating in front of the television or finishing off that carton of ice cream. Instead, portion out a serving of raisins and cashews. An apple with peanut butter or organic popcorn is a great late night snack.
Rule to break #4: All calories are the same. Those who count calories should pay attention. It may take the same amount of energy to burn 100 calories from a bag of chips as it does to burn 100 calories from a bowl of fresh fruit, but there is a world of difference in the nutritional difference between the two options. You may consume the same amount of calories, but foods high in fiber, water, protein, and nutrients will fill you up and in the end, help you eat less.
Rule to break #5: All carbs are off limits. We all know that white, refined carbs are indeed empty calories that contribute to weight gain. But what about the whole grain and complex carbs your body needs for energy? Cutting out an entire food group like breads and grains is a recipe for diet disaster, especially if that food group happens to be one of your favorites. Eat sensible portions of whole-grain carbs to get the fiber and energy needed for optimal health. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet/red/yellow/white potato and quinoa/brown rice pasta are great for weight loss.
Rule to break #6: No sweets allowed. Like carbs, you will crave any food that has been labeled as off limits. When sweets are forbidden, one bite can lead to overindulgence. If there’s a dessert you can’t stop eating once you start, keep it out of your kitchen. But if a sweet taste is all you’re looking for, then it’s okay to satisfy that desire with a low-calorie dessert option. Don’t like low-calorie desserts? Then keep your favorite choice low calorie by only taking a bite or two.