10 Common Diet Mistakes: Part 2
Continued from Part 1
Just to reiterate (from Part 1), everyone is on a diet. According to Google, a diet is simply “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” Yes, it can also be what you’re restricting yourself to, but for today, let’s stick to the first definition.
That said, there is still a lot of confusion as to what that should look like. Our individual needs vary, but there are some general nutrition principles that help all of us achieve greater health through our diet that many people overthink or overlook, and those are what I want to focus on here.
Tip: If you notice that you’re making more than one of these mistakes, try not to get overwhelmed, but instead choose one to improve and make it a habit before choosing another. The goal should always be improvement over perfection.
10 Common Diet Mistakes (6–10)
6. Food Decisions Rooted in Emotion and/or Fear (Disordered Eating)
Disordered eating is a very real psychological struggle. I don’t want to diminish the pain or the struggle by mentioning it here, but I do want to make sure to mention it because it can be something you find yourself doing, unaware at first that you’re doing it. I’ve struggled with this personally and can relate.
If this is a struggle for you, I’d encourage you by saying you’re not alone, it’s a common coping mechanism; but awareness is the first step toward change, so please seek the help of a compassionate professional.
I’d also highly recommend journalling, praying, and studying God’s word (actually, I recommend it whether this is a struggle or not) — I credit my own healing process to quality time with Jesus over anything else. Knowing a greater pleasure is the only true way to overcome an addiction. Please let me know if you need someone to pray with you (contact me!).
7. Overcomplicating It
I’m completely aware that nutrition can be very confusing and overwhelming. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, too. In truth, it’s pretty simple, but so many people overlook the simplicity of it for fear of missing out on the latest trend or research, but nutrition science hasn’t changed that much in the last decade.
Examples of over-complications: unnecessary carb-cycling or carb-loading, misunderstanding IIFYM and/or “cheat meals” (how to, and why), switching meal-plans too often, using food (or lack thereof) as punishment or reward. These are just a few examples. There are endless ways to overcomplicate what we eat, but here are some simple truths to help uncomplicated things for you:
- Simple truth #1: When you’re hungry, eat food! When you’re not hungry, don’t eat food.
- Simple truth #2: Stick to the basics…
- God-made over man-made food
- Include protein every time you eat
- Eat more greens than grains, except post workout.
Honestly, the root cause of over complication is typically ignorance and/or a disordered relationship with food (see #6), and yes, you can and may need to get more detailed for individual needs or goals, but generally, simple is still best.
8. Macro Elimination or Other Extremes
This is an easy one. Macronutrients (‘macros’ for short), are the three types of food substances that we need large amounts of in our diets: carbohydrates, protein, and fats (lipids). Extreme diet practices that involve the elimination of any one or more of these three food substances are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The same goes for the opposite: extremely high fat/protein/carb diets can also be hazardous to your health.
Examples: Zero-carb, zero-fat, Vegan (without proper protein intake), high fat, Ketogenic (without proper understanding/planning), etc.
9. People Pleasing & Social Life
There are a number of limiting factors when choosing to adopt or maintain a healthy lifestyle, but social influence is a big one. Who you surround yourself with (chosen or not) greatly affects the food choices you make.
If friends and family or significant others aren’t practicing healthy lifestyle habits, it’s easy, comfortable even, to slip into their bad habits with them. If your social scene always involves being around alcohol, there’s a good chance that alcohol (and/or bar-food during or after a night out) is going to be a hinderance to your fitness goals. If your office has donuts every morning, and candy dishes accessible all day every day, you’ll have be vigilant about planning around and avoiding those obstacles.
Support and accountability is key here. Situations like these could cause you to abandon your efforts altogether if you don’t have a positive support system of close friends and family rooting you on and celebrating your success. Take inventory of your social experiences regarding mindful and healthy eating. You may need to have some tough conversations or make some changes to increase your chances at successfully maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
10. Micronutrient Deficiencies
A commonly overlooked dietary mistake is our need to supplement micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to make up for anything our eating habits are missing. Many people have trouble getting to their fitness and health goals because they’re unknowingly deficient in some essential nutrient. Think of vitamins as the filler in your diet. They can’t do the heavy lifting — the majority of your diet should still come from greens and other real, whole foods — but even the healthiest, most mindful and educated eater will struggle to get all of their micronutrient needs met by diet alone, largely due to several factors involving your foods’ origin: climate, soil quality, etc.
The good news is, taking quality multivitamin-mineral supplements and/or greens powders to supplement your meals significantly helps make up for any dietary deficiency.
Improvement Over Perfection
No matter how many of these “mistakes” hit close to home, remember that the goal isn’t perfection, but improvement, and a little awareness and education go a long way. Like I mentioned earlier, allow yourself permission to focus on adopting one new habit at a time (same goes for breaking old habits, but always try to replace rather than eliminate). Changes stick better that way. ;)
If you liked this you might like: Healthy Hot Chocolate
CONVERSATION STARTER: What changes will you made for the better after reading this (See #1–5 Here)?