With summer just around the corner, you can bet that every girl on campus is worrying—at least to some degree—about looking good in all of the revealing summer fashions. Between the imminent bikini season and high stress of finals, many collegiettes get caught up in unhealthy eating patterns that only end up hurting them. Instead of counting every calorie or subsisting off of a crazy diet of coffee and tic-tacs, check out these diet myths and truths, and aim for a healthy, happy finish to your semester!
MYTH: If you want to lose weight, you should eat as little fat as possible.
TRUTH: Fats are an important part of every diet. Unsaturated fats are essential for our bodies, and they provide us energy and keep us satisfied. Simply cutting fat out of your diet will not make you lose weight. Eating fewer calories than you burn is the only way to lose weight. Some of your calories should come from fat, because fats will satisfy you, improve your mood, and fuel your body! Avocados, olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, and soy are the way to go.
MYTH: All carbohydrates are bad.
TRUTH: If you are trying to reduce your carbohydrate intake, you should aim to consume complex carbohydrates rather than refined carbs. Complex carbohydrates provide lasting energy, and are rich in fiber that will keep you full for a long time, helping you to reduce your overall calorie-intake. Complex carbs include oatmeal, sweet potato, whole grain breads, quinoa, and brown rice.
MYTH: Cardio is the only exercise you need to do to reduce body fat.
TRUTH: If you are aiming to slim down, weight training is essential to your workout regime. Weight training isn’t just for bulking up—it will help you to tone up as well as increasing your metabolism and making you cut fat faster! Have you ever heard that muscle burns more than fat? Well, if you build muscle, your body will burn energy more quickly, helping you to lose weight. Alternating between muscle building, weight-training, and calorie-burning cardio is the best way to burn fat.
MYTH: Alcohol will not affect your diet.
TRUTH: Have you ever noticed that some girls count every calorie, and then binge-drink without even considering the calories in alcohol? Many dieters don’t count alcohol when they are adding up their calories, but one night of heavy drinking can offset days of healthy eating. Dieters (and everyone!) should aim to drink in moderation. Even without mixers, each shot of alcohol alone has an average of 80-100 calories. Also, alcohol is metabolized differently than food, provides no nutritional benefit, and is generally harmful to a person’s health. Reducing alcohol intake will help you to lose weight and feel better.
MYTH: Skipping breakfast will help you lose weight.
TRUTH: Skipping breakfast has been proven to make a majority of people gain weight. Eating a healthy breakfast boosts the metabolism, helping you to burn more calories throughout the day. Additionally, not eating breakfast will often cause a person to overeat later in the day.
MYTH: You should avoid snacking at all costs.
TRUTH: It is actually better for you to eat up to six small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals. Eating snacks will keep your metabolism up, keep you energized, and prevent you from over-eating! So, toss some bags of almonds in your bag, or grab a yogurt between classes, and keep your body running efficiently.
MYTH: Certain foods are always off limits.
TRUTH: If there is a certain food that you love, even if it doesn’t fit into your diet plan, you should allow yourself to indulge occasionally. Constantly feeling deprived will make you unmotivated, and more likely to give up on your diet plan as a whole! Instead, if you love ice cream, for example, allow yourself the treat once a week. This will give you something to look forward to, and remember, every food is okay in moderation!
Don’t let fad diets and weight-loss myths get to your head, collegiettes. There is only one healthy way to lose weight, and that is to keep a balanced diet with regular, varied exercise. We wish you a hot and fabulous summer!