I have to confess, I’ve never actually watched Mythbusters (although it is a favourite of my brother-in-law), but I thought it would make a suitable title for this post. There are lots of tried and true diet “rules” out there, and they are tried and true for a reason – they work, right? But you know the old saying, “rules were made to be broken.” There are several diet rules that I broke (and still break) while I was losing weight and still managed to be successful, so I thought I’d share with you. I will preface this post by saying that I am by no means an expert, and what I record on here is what works for me – that’s no guarantee that it will work for you or that I think it’s best for everyone – we’re all different! That being said, I believe I do have something helpful to offer, and hope you can learn something from this post, even if you don’t put all of my rule-breaking into practice. So without further ado….
1. Don’t eat after supper. This is a rule you here over and over…I think Oprah herself has even weighed in (no pun intended :P) on this one. The idea being that you don’t need all those extra calories, and after eating a big evening meal, night-time snacking can lead to weight gain. I totally get that and agree. But here’s the thing – I love a night time snack. I don’t know if it’s because I am just such a foodie, or that I watch so much tv, but a nighttime snack is almost a ritual for me. Nothing relaxes me like munching on some popcorn or eating a bit of ice cream in front of one of my favourite shows at the end of the day – anyone with me? So how do I fit my late night munchies into a healthy eating plan? First of all, I don’t eat huge meals during the day. One thing I like about the Weight Watchers points system is that you have your given number of points to eat during the day, but it’s up to you how you use them. So what I typically do is use my points during the day to have a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper, but make sure I have a few left over for the evening. That way I don’t blow my calorie budget for the day on a snack. I also make sure I’ve gotten in my healthy foods for the day (dairy products, fruits and veggies, healthy oils) before I indulge in a treat. And, like the rest of my eats, my late night snacks are something I enjoy, but nothing overly indulgent (unless it’s a special occasion). I don’t down a huge plate of nachos or a giant ice cream sundae – more like some fat free popcorn or a 100-calorie ice cream cup or snack). I’m not saying that this is necessarily the most nutritionally sound approach, but it’s a way I can eat what (and when) I want and still manage my weight.
2. Skip dessert and sweets to lose weight. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time (or know me at all), you’ll know the ferocity of my sweet tooth. Giving up dessert would guarantee that I’d be miserable and have constant cravings. Another reason I love the WW plan. It allows you to use extra points for foods that you love. For example, I rarely drink. I could care less about having a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail when out with friends. I’d much rather have a deliciously decadent dessert – so that’s what I do. This doesn’t mean I eat giant sundaes and slices of cake every night (maybe in a dream world). I have found smarter ways to satisfy my sweet cravings that fit in my regular lifestyle (but you better believe I’m gonna splurge on dessert during special occasions 🙂 ). Hungry Girl has a ton of great ideas and I’ve come up with a lot of my own. I make a lot of “creations” by mixing a fat-free sugar-free pudding cup with fat free Cool Whip and a 100 calorie pack/bar. I’ve also found that 100-calorie cookie packs taste great dipped in some marshmallow creme (I’m realizing as I type this post that I haven’t shared a lot of my favourite dessert swaps – I’ll try to snap some pics soon so I can share). I also LOVE Skinny Cow cookie dough sundae cups and Chapman’s frozen yogurt (and don’t forget about banana soft serve ).I know Tina, of Carrots ‘n Cake, practices what she calls “cookie Friday,” one day a week where she indulges in a more decadent treat – I think this is a great approach.
3. Try and find events/activities that don’t focus on food. Okay…let me preface this one by saying that I think this is a good idea. That being said, I am a foodie. I always have been, always will be. I love food. I love cooking it, eating it, thinking about it, reading about it, watching shows about it on tv, serving it, and making it to others. While I sometimes wish I was different (it should would make weight loss/maintenance a heck of a lot easier), I’ve come to realize that food is a huge part of who I am. I can (and do) enjoy activities that don’t focus on food, if I gave up cooking/baking/hosting parties (and watching Food Network) while trying to slim down, I’d be denying my passions and personality. So, I need to figure out a way to navigate events and enjoy them without going overboard. I don’t always succeed, but I have picked up some tips. If I am hosting an event, I can control the menu. This makes special occasions a lot easier. Or, if going to a party, I offer to bring something (like double chocolate chews) so I know I’ll have a healthier option. If I’m doing a lot of baking, I try to cut down on calories during the rest of the day. If I have a huge family food fest coming up, I’ll try to eat smart before and squeeze in some extra activity during the day. In the end, I think it’s better to indulge a little bit rather than feel miserable the whole time. And if I can surprise others with my healthier fare during a “foodie” event? Bonus!
So, those are my top 3 diet myths busted (at least for me). These might not work for you at all, as we all have different personalities and preferences. Doe you break these diet rules? What other rules do you feel are meant to be broken when it comes to weight loss?