How many times have you heard a colleague or coworker say that they want to lose a few pounds? They tell you that they haven’t been watching what they eat quite as well as they should have, so they are going to start eating salads more often. Out with the cheeseburgers and fries and in with the healthy salads and other alternatives. Well, I at least have heard this countless times from numerous people throughout the years and I still hear it all the time. It is everyone’s first go-to move when they want to go on a diet before the summer and beach season rolls around.
This is a great start to shedding off a few pounds, the only problem is people almost always do it wrong, so the positive effects are completely lost. But before I get into the negatives, let me outline a few positives in the mindset of people who say this.
The first positive is that it acknowledges that diet matters. A lot of people who go to the gym or think of themselves as heavy weight lifters don’t realize that dieting is a huge part of getting fit and toned—in fact it’s most of it. If you are trying to get a great beach body this year, your first step should be a diet because what you eat (or what you don’t eat) will have some serious impact on your figure. That’s right, no more midnight pizzas if you want to keep that weight off.
Now the problem with a lot of people with the “time to go on a diet” mentality is that the salads that they use to supplement the cheeseburgers and fries generally aren’t that much healthier. Sure they don’t have quite as much fat in them, but they aren’t a drastic cut in calories by any stretch of the imagination.
First of all, most people don’t realize that the dressing they are putting on their salads is just loaded with calories. And not only calories, there is usually huge amounts of sugar in the dressing too. If you are serious about going on a diet, you should drastically cut back on the amounts of dressing that you use on your salads.
Another problem is that salads today are not what the salads of yesterday once were. Salads today seems to be getting bigger and bigger with more and more toppings—many of which are very unhealthy. Putting grilled chicken and bacon on your salad is not helping you in your goal to cut back on calories. Also, salads themselves are getting bigger. If you cut of the cheeseburgers but eat a salad twice as big as you otherwise would with more dressing, you’re probably no better off than when you started.
The moral of the story is that even with something that seems as health as a salad, there can be some pretty big unhealthy parts of it. If you don’t watch your portion size or what you are putting on top of it, it could be just as unhealthy for you as what you are trying to avoid eating in the first place.