You may be sabotaging your New Year’s resolution to live healthy with tricks that actually work against your goals. Common wisdom touts some practices that nutritionists and fitness experts say you should abandon if you want to lose weight and boost energy. Here are five habits the experts wish their clients would skip:
Rejecting carbs in all forms
The low-carb craze refuses to die despite agreement among nutritionists: Carbohydrates are not the enemy. It’s processed carbs such as white flour and white sugar that you should avoid. Whole grains are your friend.
As we learn more about the connection between gut bateria and weight status, we’re recognizing the importance of fiber intake. Whole grains have a great deal of fiber, which aids the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. And fiber keeps things moving along in your system.
Try replacing white rice or pasta with a first-size serving of barley, brown rice or farro.
Slurping a smoothie instead of eating breakfast
Nutritionists realize that swapping a smoothie for a meal is a common weight-loss practice among their clients, but they say it should be a no-no.
Nutritious smoothie recipes are out there, but many ‘weight loss’ smoothies contain only fruit and water or nut milk. And about that fruit: some smoothies contain as much as two cups of fruit or more. Consuming that much fruit in one gulp may raise blood sugar and lead to an insulin spike. The result could be potential weight gain.
When you have to substitute a smoothie for a real meal, limit the fruit to one cup and make sure you add in a healthy fat such a avocado or peanut butter along with protein.
Keeping a stash of flavored yogurt
Nutritionists regard flavored yogurts as nothing more than thawed ice cream with significant amounts of added sugar. Reach instead for unsweetened yogurts and add your own fresh or dried fruits, vanilla extract, cinnamon, seeds, or cacao nibs. They make for indulgent toppings loaded with nutrient-packed goodness.
Refusing food before you get a “sensitivity” diagnosis
Cutting foods out of your diet without a medical reason can mean you may become deficient in important nutrients. If you suspect a food group is giving you a problem, take your concerns to a nutritionist or your doctor.
Ditching suspects such as gluten before you have a diagnosis can mess with the accuracy of test results. If you haven’t eaten gluten for some time before you are tested for celiac disease, the results won’t be on target.
Forcing yourself to eat veggies
Eating vegetables you dislike creates a bad experience with healthy eating. It is especially okay to go slow if you’re just starting to shift your diet to healthier eating patterns. Boost the veggie appeal by adding a little flavor with a bit of butter or hummus. Try a creative disguise of cheese or marinara sauce to slip more veggies into your diet.
Eating a salad every single day of your life
A salad can be a low-calorie, healthy option when you do it right. But be careful with the add-ons that can deliver more calories than a sandwich. Hold off on salad dressing that usually contain sugar and trans fats but add nothing in the way of nutritional value.
Many fat-free dressings deliver a lot of additives and sugar in place of fat. Try a squeeze of lemon juice along with a splash of olive oil and vinegar instead. Spark up your salad with fresh herbs and dried spices such as red chile pepper flakes, oregano, and freshly ground pepper.
Read more: Healthy Habits That Aren’t Healthy