Six of the most common diet mistakes that you’ll face.
You read a diet tip online, a co-worker told you what worked for her, or you think you’re using common sense. It’s easy to be misinformed and to think you’re doing the right thing when in fact you’re sabotaging your dieting efforts. If you’ve been battling to lose weight and haven’t seen the results you expected, there’s a good chance you’re doing something wrong. Don’t beat yourself up, though, because you’re not alone. Every dieter makes a few mistakes along the way. The best thing to do is to learn from your mistakes, change your habits, and keep moving forward in confidence.
Here are six of the most common diet mistakes people make. Are you guilty of any?
Unrealistic Calorie Counting
You know the formula to lose weight: fewer calories in and more calories burned equals weight loss. You’ve been working hard to cut back but it’s easy to eat more calories than you realize. In order to lose one to two pounds a week you need to cut 500 calories from your diet each day. Yes, avoiding soda, cookies, and chips will help, but calories add up in other sneaky ways. One extra tablespoon of dressing on your salad can add 100 calories, one tablespoon of mayonnaise on your sandwich nearly 100 calories, and one slice of cheddar cheese more than 100. Remember, every bite counts. Download an app to help track your calorie counts.
You said “No” to donuts for breakfast and “No” to dessert after dinner, but what about the soda, sweet tea, and glass of wine you drank today? It’s easy to forget about the calories hiding in your beverages. One study shows more than one fifth of your daily calories likely comes from drinks. Keep in mind that one can of regular beer contains 160 calories, 12 ounces of sweet tea 160 calories, and a can of soda 150. Switch to drinking water, skim milk, or vegetable juice and you’ll save on calories with ease.
Eating the Wrong Foods
A top complaint of dieters is constant hunger. Eating too many processed foods, simple carbs, or even packaged weight-loss foods can backfire. These foods may be low in calories, but they will not fill you up or give you lasting energy. A smart dieter will enjoy whole foods that are high in fiber and high in protein. By doing so you won’t feel as hungry all the time.
In your endeavor to cut calories do you skip meals? Skipping breakfast is one of the most common dieting mistakes. You may think you’re eating fewer calories, but studies show people who don’t eat breakfast actually eat more calories throughout the day because they’re overly hungry and low on energy. Aim to eat three balanced meals a day and include a source of protein and fiber with each meal.
Eat Too Many Healthy Foods
On the flip side of meal skipping is overdoing it on healthy foods. Remember: fruits and vegetables have calories, too. One medium apple contains almost 100 calories, a quarter cup of raisins has even more, and a medium baked potato contains more than 160 calories. This is why it’s so important to keep a food diary that tracks your calorie intake. You can have too much of a good thing.
Making all your favorite foods completely off limits indefinitely is a mistake many dieters make. Asking too much of yourself sets you up for failure. For a diet to be successful, it’s got to be sustainable. Allow yourself a small indulgence every once in a while. Some people find it helpful to eat a “cheat meal” once a week. Just be careful not to totally rule out any food groups or specially tempting (small) treats.