Written by Faten Kased, West Bank, Palestine.
As a health and fitness specialist in the West Bank, I’ve learned that what we’ve been taught about our dietary plans, regimes and restrictions have been all wrong.
Because of this misunderstanding, we may find ourselves losing five pounds one month — and then gaining 10 pounds the next! So I’m here today to point out a couple of aspects that are commonly misunderstood. And since we just brought in the new year, maybe these points will help you reach your goal of a “new year, new me!” (insert eye rolling here cause I hate clichés more than I can’t stand shortcuts to long-term health benefits.)
The following are five mistakes most women make on diet programs:
1. When they say, “Prepare yourself.”
What it means: When a specialist says prepare yourself, it does not mean go out and buy brand new Nike outfits, a fitbit, cool-looking water bottles or any other fancy schmancy gadget. It means mentally prepare yourself — and not in a crazy Rambo sense. Rather, mentally prepare yourself for a life change. If you want long-term results, set long-term goals (you want that weight off and to stay off.)
You need to make your diet plan a part of your everyday lifestyle. Condition yourself to reach for the salad and not for the cheeseburger every time you’re hungry! Stay focused and remind yourself why you want this change.
2. When they say, “Make a plan.”
What it means: For crying out loud, when a health and fitness specialist says, “Make a plan,” that does not mean completely omitting bread, rice and pasta from your diet! It does not mean starve yourself and live on carrots, celery sticks and a sugar-free popsicles. Celery isn’t a meal — it’s a negative zero vegetable.
Moderation is key, not starvation. A car without gas won’t move. The same concept goes for humans. Without the right amount of foods, we won’t be able to move or function. We need carbs — we just need to learn how to consume them in moderation and reach for the good ones and not the bad.
3. When they say, “Exercise regularly.”
What it means: For the love of God, don’t act like the first day at the gym is the only day you’ll be there! I see it all the time at my place — ladies are so hyped up and get all G.I. Joe on the machines, acting like they are Jillian Michael’s side kick in class.
It’s like they want to lose all that weight in one day, which results in massive muscle soreness, (and then guess who doesn’t show up at the gym for the next few days…)
In order to prevent sitting weird on your toilet, you must work out regularly, listen to your body and understand that losing weight and staying healthy is a lifestyle change. You literally need to twist your world upside down in a positive, healthy and active way!
4. When they say, “Saunas burn calories.”
What it means: Newsflash — the sauna doesn’t make you lose fat. You lose water, which will be added back with first cup of water that you drink. That also goes for the sauna suits, sauna belts, garbage bags and plastic wrap (don’t act like you’ve never wrapped yourself before to sweat like crazy.)
So, if you haven’t figured it out by now, my friends, you are only losing water weight. You aren’t burning fat, nor are you building any muscle.
5. When they say, “Try these miracle pills.”
What it means: There is no such thing as a miracle pill, miracle drink, belts to flatten that belly, shorts to lift that bum and I don’t know what other gadgets or ideas they come up with for weight loss.
My advice for you ladies is to eat clean and train mean, that’s the only way to get the body you want. Stay focused, make good intentions rather than resolutions and keep motivated!