Before I conduct the diet mistakes portion of my fitness workshops, I give every participant a nutritional assessment in which a daily food journal is kept for one week. It is important for me to understand my client and their particular needs and what they expect from the workshop.
My latest workshop is for a corporation that has numerous restaurants all over the United States. Most of the employees are ground level servers and hostesses that are also actors and models. Most of them would describe themselves as healthy and image conscious but would love to be more fit.
Interestingly enough, when they were asked to fill out the food journal for a week, they were very nervous and later admitted that they were a bit embarrassed to actually write down what they eat. In my experience this reaction is not abnormal; most people have a truly emotional relationship with their food and generally have counterproductive feelings of guilt about what they eat.
The emotional aspect of eating is really my toughest problem to conquer with my clients but it can be overcome.
The assessment also pointed out several obvious diet mistakes that can ruin an otherwise moderate diet. First up, watch my segment on how to avoid food fads, then I’ll get into diet traps to avoid.
Here are five diet mistakes to avoid:
1. Do not drink your calories– Orange juice, fruit juices and smoothies sound healthy, but most have a high added sugar content which can pile on unnecessary calories. Be very careful with places like Jamba Juice because their smoothies can also be filled with tons of calories. Smoothies should contain milk or soy milk or yogurt with no added sugar, a banana for thickness and your favorite fruit and maybe some protein powder.
2. Processed “energy” bars– most energy bars and cereal bars are filled with sugar and you really might as well be eating a candy bar. The best combo for a protein bar is high protein, very low carb and no added sugar-everything else is really a waste of time. Just eat real food and you can avoid all the chemicals and preservatives that are added to these bars.
3. Do not make coffee your dessert– besides being overpriced; Starbucks will always get you in trouble. Super high sugar, whipped profusions of caffeinated joy, will set you back with tons of calories, a quick fix and a hard crash. If you must, try their non fat latte with extra foam and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
4. Happy hour pitfalls– there is way too much alcohol consumption going around nowadays, or at least that’s how it feels to me. Studies show that a glass of wine can be beneficial while two can promote stress on the body. Alcohol is metabolized in body as sugar and is treated such- that means body fat. I don’t want to be a party pooper but ease up guys, partying is overrated.
5. Midnight snack attacks– Fight late night urges with healthy snacks. Keep them on hand, so there are no “snack traps” in your house. T.V and boredom can lead to uninhibited eating. Keep yourself occupied and try to incorporate your evening snacks into your entire caloric intake of the day.
When encouraging clients to be fit, I urge them to take a good look at their food intake and it really does make a difference in their eating habits. Try it yourself.
Bonus Time! 5 powerful food combinations
There are so many differing views on food combining; it is hard to navigate through all the information. Many books have been written on the topic- remember the Susanne Sommers book? It has essentially been discarded as a weight loss tool. There are some ways, however to enhance food’s positive effects by eating some of them together. Various enzymes, vitamins in the foods and chemical reactions in your digestive system can enhance or reduce the nutritional content of the food.
I have compiled the five food combos to get the most out of each food choice:
1) YOGURT AND BRAN- combining these two superfoods will give you an extra strength bowel sweep. Try it twice a week or at least when you are having a dire pooping problem.
2) LEMON AND GREEN TEA– a squeeze of lemon in your green tea will enhance the antioxidant power of the tea. Drink up!
3) FAT and FIBER– with anything fatty I eat, I add a fiber component. Studies show that fiber can also eliminate small fat from your digestive system before it is absorbed.
4) CINNAMON AND COFFEE– coffee is something most people drink every day, adding cinnamon will enhance the antioxidant power of the brew. Cinnamon also has calming qualities and antimicrobial agents.
5) BALSAMIC VINEGAR– the acidity of this delicious dressing neutralizes the effects of carbohydrates and how they are digested. Have a salad before or after a carb- filled meal.
Give these a try. It is important that in every meal to make the most of the calories that you consume, since there are ways to enhance the nutritional value in foods, it is worth taking the time to try some of these tips. For a simple way to pick up these items, I use Amazon Fresh. This is often cheaper than your grocery store, and they deliver right to your door.
-Fiorella DiCarlo RD, RDN, CDN