1. Eating fat-free food from 12 “Healthy” Habits You Need to Break Right Now

12 “Healthy” Habits You Need to Break Right Now

1. Eating fat-free food

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That fat-free food industry is worth billions of dollars but studies show these kinds of foods don’t help. Researchers observed 50,000 women, half of whom were on a diet eating low- or non-fat foods. The participants did not have lower risk of cancer of heart disease and they didn’t lose extra pounds. Nutritionists recommend a balanced diet with enough health fats (nuts, fish, avocado) and complex carbs (whole-wheat pasta, green peas). Also, fat-free products sometimes have a lot of sugar because of unnatural substitutes, resulting in weight gain, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

2. Exercising too much

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Working out too much is not a good problem to have. In a way, it can be just as bad for your body as not being active at all. Exercise addiction often starts with the remarkable feeling you have when you push yourself hard to get to the next level and see the results of your sweat. Combine that with friends who constantly tell you how fit and healthy you look, and you have a recipe for disaster. All of a sudden you wake up at 4 a.m. to do cardio training before work, weight lifting in your lunch break and Zumba classes before you get home. You are constantly tired but find artificial ways to boost your energy such as drinking coffee and energy drinks all the time. Also, you make yourself a very easy target for injuries. You give your muscles no time to recover and they will punish you for it.

3. Not eating dessert

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Don’t blacklist sweets. Studies have shown that restriction often leads to overeating. Among the 103 women in the research, chocolate-deprived restrained eaters consumed more chocolate food than did any other group. Restrained eaters experienced more food cravings than did unrestrained eaters and were more likely to eat the craved food. A small dessert won’t hurt you and there are ways in which you can consume sweets and not gain weight.

4. Snacking too often

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Eating smaller meals more often is the way to go. But you have to be careful and not lose track of how often you’re snacking. Junk food doesn’t fall in the “snack” category because of its unhealthy ingredients and lack of nutritional value. A snack is not an entire meal. Don’t confuse the two because you risk overeating and gaining weight. Are you really hungry and not just bored or stressed? Ask yourself that before reaching for that donut. If you are, there are plenty of healthy options you can choose from.

5. Detoxing

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Detoxing has been a popular diet over the last several years. Many toxins are used to grow the food we eat, so we consume the harmful chemicals all the time. Even the air we breathe has too many. The liver and kidneys naturally get rid of them every time you sweat or go to the bathroom. This has been the case for thousands of years. So why do people need to do more? They don’t. Cleaning up your diet instead will do just fine. Science is not conclusive whether detox is good for you. There is no definitive proof that such diets help the body eliminate toxins faster. You are, however, often starving, which is never a good idea. Your body needs about 2,000 calories a day to function properly. It must have its vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep you healthy so you don’t gain weight, get constipated or sick, lose your energy...Anything less than that puts it in stress mode.

6. Skipping breakfast

Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day; they are all equally vital. Just like you don’t skip lunch, you can’t skip breakfast. Have some food to get your metabolism kicking. You will also have more energy throughout the day, which means you won’t be overeating later. Studies have shown that skipping breakfast was associated with a significantly higher risk of obesity. Another benefit of eating healthy in the morning is steady blood sugar levels.

7. Low-carb diet

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There is nothing wrong with cutting back on bad carbs such as those coming from fries, but you can’t give up on all carbs. People trying to lose weight adapt such diets because the body burns carbs before it gets to the fat (ketosis). But experts have rung the alarm. Risks of low-carb diets include high cholesterol, kidney problems, stones and osteoporosis because you’re getting rid of more calcium than you should.

8. Lifting light weights

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Women are not going to bulk up by lifting heavy dumbbells. They don’t have enough testosterone or muscle mass to get really big muscles. They’d have to be at the gym lifting heavy weights for hours every day, and that is just not realistic. You need to challenge yourself at least a little bit when you’re weightlifting. This is how you build muscle, which leads to losing fat, getting in shape and burning more calories.

9. You swear by “No Pain, No Gain” concept

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There is no such thing as “no pain, no gain,” Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. “If you feel pain, stop,” he adds. If whatever you’re doing starts to hurt at a certain point, call it a day or at least shorten the range of motion. Feeling horrible and beat up after a workout is not a desirable outcome. Severe muscle pain usually means injury, not a good workout. Your exercise routine should be smarter, not harder than what you can manage.

10. You’re doing seated exercises

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“I prefer exercises that teach people how to move better as opposed to targeting one muscle group at a time,” Chris Leib, a doctor of physical therapy at Movement Professional, says. Movements that require you to sit are not helpful, he adds, because you’ve been sitting all day. “You’re only applying the same pressure on your body” and the idea is to move around and as much as you can.

11. You prefer juices than real fruits

Fruits do have sugar but it’s natural and it’s accompanied by vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. A fruit juice doesn’t have the fiber, which is key to feeling full. Other health benefits of fiber include lower risk for heart disease and better digestion. The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams a day for men.

12. Use only olive oil

Olive oil is good for you; there is no question about that. It has a lot of antioxidants and mono-saturated fat that lowers bad cholesterol. But sometimes it’s not a good choice for cooking. It has a much lower smoke point (between 365° and 420°F), which means that everything good in the oil degrades at lower temperatures. That’s also when possibly harmful chemicals form. Olive oil is good for salads but skip it if you’re preparing a hot meal.