Nutrition traps to avoid like the plague

Here we are at the start of 2022 and well, truth be told, it doesn’t feel all that different from 2021. You may have heard this year being described as 2020 too. Yes, we are heading into the third year of this pandemic and as a result, our links to the outside world are still, all too often, online.

That also goes for where we are getting much of our health news and information with a huge part of that being social media which has now become an integral part of so many lives. And right now, you’re likely being bombarded with advice about how to be a better you, a new you or whatever the description is that’s telling you you’re not good enough.

My advice?

If you see the words about a better or new you, stop reading immediately. You might think you are going to glean some valuable guidance but know that along with the recommendations, you’re likely going to end up feeling bad about yourself – if not today then not too far off in the distant future when you can’t sustain whatever it is you were told to do.

You can’t sustain it because, simply put, it’s likely not sustainable. Maybe you hate the food, or don’t have the required time to follow the routine or it requires a financial commitment for expensive supplements or foods – whatever the reason.

This is the year to feel good – both physically and emotionally. Yes, feeling better is one thing but being better? That’s another thing.

Working towards having a better year? Yes, that works too.

Here are some red flags to watch out for and, for your health’s sake, avoid – like the plague!

Anything that mentions detox or cleanse
Chances are that over the holidays, you likely consumed some decadent delights. You may have had too many sugar-laden foods or salty options and possibly more alcohol than usual. That being said, a detox or cleanse is not only unnecessary, it’s also not recommended. Your body has a built-in detox system – your liver and kidneys – so while embarking on a cleanse might be punishing and make you feel virtuous, skip it. All too often, they involve either expensive concoctions or disgusting tasting brews.

If you see the words “don’t ever eat”, click on something else – fast.
Unless you have an allergy or a particular ailment, there is no reason to be so restrictive that you can never a particular food – especially if it’s something you really like. Just saying you can’t eat something is actually more likely to make you want that food even more. But when you finally do allow yourself to eat it, you will likely eat too much of it and then promise yourself you won’t eat it again. However, if you didn’t finish it all off and if you’re not going to eat it again tomorrow, then you will have to finish off all the rest now. You won’t want it your home.

Isn’t that how it goes? You finish it all off and then say you can’t have it in your home because you will eat it all. A self fulfilling prophecy.

As a dietitian, my advice when counseling clients has been the opposite. When someone tells me that they can’t stop eating certain foods, such as cookies or peanut butter, I suggest to them that they eat some of that particular food at each meal for the next two weeks.

At that point, you won’t have an issue with having it in your home.

Try it and see.

That’s more likely to achieve what you’re looking for – to eat and really enjoy certain foods in a controlled fashion. You simply won’t want to eat too much of a particular item if you know you can eat it again.

Listen to the real experts
Somehow social media has elevated influencers, those individuals with large followings, as individuals you should emulate. They come across as beautiful people who do everything right. Many, particularly if they are dealing with food and health, try to hook you by showing that they, too, had previously struggled with weight or eating issues. So if they have been successful, you simply need to follow their advice and you too can become just like them.

Forget about it and forget about them. It defies the old adage that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. You can’t see what’s behind the scenes and chances are they’re not perfect – far from it,

Or you may see those trumpeting certain diet plans and how successful they have been on that particular program. Before and after photos can make them even more appealing. But they’re probably yet another diet program to lure you in and offer you the moon.

Resist the temptation as there are no quick fixes. Whatever you do, don’t get on the diet rollercoaster yet again. Resist the diet culture that tells you how you must look.

Not all health professionals are nutrition experts
Also it’s important to be aware that just because someone is a health professional, such as a medical doctor, it doesn’t mean that they are an expert. There are plenty of them out there who can steer you down the wrong path.

I have come across a few recently who, because they have followed a certain eating pattern and lost weight, have now become nutrition experts. Others may have very little knowledge about life today. Some espouse food rules which are completely out of touch such as recommending that their followers include only organic fresh ingredients. They ignore what is happening in the real world and their elitist attitudes simply make others feel bad about themselves.

Make this year the one where you focus on feeling good. It’s about time, wouldn’t you say?

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Categories: Rosie's Rants, Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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One Comment on “Nutrition traps to avoid like the plague”

  1. Jennifer
    January 5, 2022 at 6:42 pm #

    Totally right on.
    Also clean eating…ugh, meaningless. Also eat such and such and and not that… she ate [insert food here] and you won’t believe what happened…

    I might have to try your idea of eating chips at every meal for two weeks as that is one food I do not like to have at hand!

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