Time and time again I’ve seen people throw their health by the wayside in the quest for achieving a better external appearance. Why don’t we stop damaging our inner selves in an effort to look good? Here are 4 common practices people should forget about doing if they want to be both healthy and fit.
Using Dextrose, Maltodextrin, or Other High-Glycemic Carbs
In an effort to spike insulin levels and drive nutrients into cells, many people have a post-workout shake consisting of whey protein and a quickly digesting simple sugar like dextrose. Gatorade and other sports drinks are popular too. Here’s the thing though, while insulin is needed to shuttle nutrients to cells, it’s not needed in anywhere near the quantities that would be induced by drinking a shake high in simple sugars.
High levels of insulin are not a good thing. If it were, we wouldn’t have millions of people with type II diabetes. Bombarding your cells with large amounts of insulin will cause them to become desensitized to its effects. Yes, it’s true that your insulin sensitivity is the highest after a workout, but let’s keep it that way by eating low-glycemic, whole foods.
In addition, dextrose is completely void of any nutrition. It is just a bunch of empty calories. Try a shake with some oatmeal and a banana. It will accomplish just as much while keeping you healthy at the same time.
Taking Fat Burners
The weight loss supplement market is a billion dollar industry, and fat burner pills are one of the most marketed products to the public. Everyone is looking for weight loss in a bottle. These pills are usually packed with stimulants and other unproven and unregulated chemicals.
Almost everyone has tried a fat burner of some sort. I have. They work to a degree, but I felt horrible taking them. Not only did they make my anxiety worse, but they raised my blood pressure too. Does the end justify the means? I don’t think so. Fat burners are not only unnecessary for weight loss, they should be avoided if you have any desire to be healthy.
Starving Yourself to Lose Weight
It’s time to lose weight. You’re supposed to be hungry and miserable, right? At least that’s the stigma that goes along with losing weight. You don’t have to go hungry when you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, prolonged hunger should be avoided. It’s a bad thing. It sends starvation signals throughout your body that work against your goals. Hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin are affected, and fat burning hormones like thyroid are down-regulated.
Eating too little food also risks the chance that you are undernourished. You need nutrients to be healthy. Eating less than 1000 calories usually means your diet lacks many of the required nutrients for optimal health.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat. Focus more on what you’re eating, especially at the beginning. You can get around to counting and cutting calories later, but that stuff won’t matter if your diet isn’t 90% whole foods already. You’d be surprised how far you can get just eating a diet of whole foods.
Losing weight means you have to beat your body into the ground, right? You’re supposed to kill yourself with intense exercise day in and day out if you want any kind of results. That’s the kind of thing shows like The Biggest Loser portray – hours of mind-numbing, torturous exercise every single day.
Let’s be realistic. That is not sustainable long term. You also greatly increase your risk of injury. You will no doubt reach mental fatigue in no time flat. Now, there is a time and place for frequent, prolonged exercise. Those people training for marathons or other endurance sports will need to increase their work load to be successful. This is done over a long period of time to give your body a chance to adapt.
However, too many times people try to out-exercise a bad diet, which inevitably leads to frustration, quitting, or injury. Without any physical activity, your health will suffer. Why not try starting off with 2-3 intense workouts a week, and spend the other days with leisurely activities like walking, hiking, biking, playing, etc. If you do this and pay close attention to what you’re eating, I think you’ll be much happier with your physical and mental health, and you will no doubt lose weight too.