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Common food and fitness mistakes

Posted: January 18, 2014 - 6:20pm

We are just a few days into the New Year, and many resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, live a healthier lifestyle may be well under way. Hopefully with those resolutions you are making changes to live a healthier lifestyle. If so, avoid common food and fitness mistakes based upon what is trendy in foods now.

Probably one of the more common health and fitness mistakes is skipping meals. We need breakfast because it jump starts our metabolism. It basically, breaks the fasting mode your body is in overnight. Consider grabbing a piece of fruit, chunk of cheese, or whole wheat toast as you head out the door. Avoiding lunch or dinner can cause you to over eat later. Instead, eat sensibly, with three well balanced meals and at least two healthy snacks daily.

Avoiding gluten is another mistake some make. While people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities have to avoid gluten, banishing gluten for weight loss can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Grains that contain gluten, such as whole wheat, rye, etc., also contain beneficial micronutrients like iron, magnesium, folate and fiber that our bodies need.

Fiber is important to a healthy system, but getting to much can stress your intestines. Get fiber from real foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Not from the processed insulin fiber enhanced products.

Coconut oil isn’t heart healthy as some tv personalities would like for you to believe. In fact, it is mostly saturated fat – 92 percent saturated fat to be exact. Compare that with 63 percent saturated fat in butter. That should make you think. The main thing to remember here is that despite all the hype about coconut oil, replacing all the fat in your diet with coconut oil will not benefit your brain, heart or waistline.

Remember there is no one “superfood” that has the ability to protect our bodies from disease. That’s why variety is the key to a healthy diet. It must be well balanced including a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups. Excluding a food group may result in weight loss, but may not provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

Avoid the temptation to rely on packaged foods. Although the packaged foods can be calorie controlled, such as the snack size treats, they tend to be heavily processed and may contain large amounts of fat, sodium and or sugar. Instead rely on whole foods such as fresh fruits or vegetables.

Giving up exercise because you think that the gym is the only place to exercise is another common mistake some make. Get moving wherever you are, physical activity counts anywhere you do it. To meet the latest recommendations, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. In addition to moderate or vigorous exercise, include muscle strengthening and stretching exercises at least twice each week.

Avoid the mistake of eating huge snacks. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a snack‎ is a small amount of food eaten between meals. Try to keep snacks no more than 200 calories and a healthy option. Think, low sodium, low sugar, low carbohydrate, high fiber and high flavor. Snacks more than 200 calories, could wreck your diet plan and cause weight gain.

Lastly avoid the mistake of skimping on sleep. It is such an important part of your health routine. Try to get between 7 to 9 hours every night.

Avoid common food and fitness mistakes and start living a healthy lifestyle, and always talk with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. If you would like to receive a free copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which can guide you in healthy food choices, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in the Faulkner County Extension Office, call 501-514-0915, or e-mail me at mmalone@uaex.edu.

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