When the desire to lose weight comes about, there seems to be a common misbelief which follows. The idea that to lose weight I need to eat more salads (or just salads) is common. I wasn’t immune to this either. Back when I had gained a lot of weight at university, I thought eating just salads were the way forward and that carbs (and basically everything else) was the enemy. Here are truths I have learnt since:
Problem 1: Eating just salads only covers one food group, but our body needs a variety to sustain itself, especially for people who are active.
What I was in denial about and what I needed to be awoken to was the realization that my body needs a whole lot more nutrients than just vegetables to sustain itself, especially considering how active I am as a person. Protein and carbohydrates, amongst others, are so important in my diet! At the very basic understanding, protein helps repair and build the muscles worked and carbohydrates helps to give energy to my body. What becomes important is the type and quality of food I am eating. Eating red rice versus white rice, is the kind of simple switch that will make a major difference. In the end, it all goes back to the idea of quality over quantity.
Problem 2: Eating exclusively salads causes more cravings.
When I started to restrict my diet to mainly vegetables, a few things happened to me. One, I was feeling sluggish and tired most of the time. Two, I was constantly hungry even after consuming my meals. (Note: Even vegetarians and vegans consume more than just vegetables!) Lastly, the most unexpected result was the strength of my cravings, which grew disproportionately harder to ignore. What was happening?
My body was used to nutrients from a variety of foods, but my new restrictive diet lacked the nutrients and energy I needed. Yes, vegetables are great for you, but my body needs more than just vegetables! I was essentially starving myself of what my body needed because I didn’t understand how essential it is to sustain my body with more than just vegetables. I thought, “vegetables are healthy, so what I am doing is correct.” Also, what I didn’t know before was that when my body craves something it tends to be an indication of what my body is eagerly alarming you it’s lacking. My new diet was so restrictive that my body tried to alert me with cravings. It became a real distraction at times.
Problem 3: I was constantly hungry.
Eating two meals of salads and maybe eggs in the morning didn’t seem enough anymore. After a few hours after my meal, I would feel hungry again. I told myself it’s the fat girl in me that’s trying to sabotage my weight loss. This is not only detrimental to my physical wellbeing, but also to my mental wellbeing. If I feel hungry, there’s usually a good reason why. My body was telling me something, but I kept trying to ignore it!
Problem 4: Eating salads may help to lose weight initially, but gaining the weight back will be much quicker.
Although eating salads did eventually help me lose one or two kilos initially, soon after I started to eat other foods again I gained the weight back very quickly. What happened was most of what I lost was water weight, so by eating normally again, it didn’t take long to gain the weight back. What’s critical when trying to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit but maintaining a balanced diet which consists of all the essential food groups.
Share your thoughts with me! I wonder if others share similar experiences to me when trying to lose weight, because realizing how important eating a balanced meal was life changing and best of all, my workouts were a lot more fueled!