5 common diet mistakes
You’ve set your mind on a weight loss goal. You’ve started your diet. But you aren’t noticing much of a difference. If you find that your jeans still don’t fit, or your weight goes down only to come back up, you may be making some common dieting mistakes.
Carrie Ek, a nutritionist and registered dietitian at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., shares five mistakes to avoid if you want to keep the weight off for good.
Committing to crash diets
Crash diets may seem promising, but unless you continue them for the long term, they may make it harder for you to maintain a stable weight in the future. If your diet suggests grapefruit and cabbage soup all day, the pounds will shed away. However, with your daily intake at less than 1,000 calories, you are training your metabolism to slow down. When the diet ends, your body will be burning calories slower, which usually results in regaining all the lost weight–and sometimes more. “Crash diets are not recommended,” says Ek. “They are temporary for people who want to make changes fast. However, they can be nutritionally inadequate. Instead, a diet that includes eating more fruits and vegetables and watching portions is best for weight loss that lasts.”
Ignoring breakfast may be an easy way to cut calories, but it usually results in making you hungrier. Random snacking and eating bigger portions at lunch often result from skipping this important meal, which typically results in more calories overall. Instead of skipping, try and have a breakfast that is high in protein and fiber, which will help curb hunger throughout the day. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast daily have a higher chance of maintaining a healthy weight.
Forgetting to track your snacks
Counting calories for meals is beneficial, but a lot of people forget to count the calories of the snacks they have in between meals. The birthday cake from the office party, the bag of chips you brought for lunch and the coffee sample they gave you at the local coffee shop are all things that add up and may sabotage a well-planned diet. Ek recommends a notebook or a smartphone to track your snacks.
Drinking too many calories
A lot of us forget to count the calories in our drinks. But alcoholic beverages and coffee “drinks” can have more than 500 calories. And the calories in fruit juice and soda add up quickly, as well. Drinks with high calorie counts can be enjoyed in moderation, but it’s best to stick with water when looking to drop pounds.
Creating a realistic goal leads to successful dieting. But telling yourself that you want to lose 25 pounds within a week is unrealistic. Create goals that you are able to achieve. If you know you cannot realistically achieve a goal, you will be less likely to even start a diet. So to begin a successful diet, start by attempting to lose one to two pounds a week and add in exercise. This is a more realistic and healthier expectation, and when you start meeting your goals, you’ll be more motivated to meet your long-term goal.
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