Diets can be hard, no matter what it is you’re focusing on. Of course, diets shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on when trying to lose weight, but it is important to know how to avoid some common dieting mistakes. We’ve got some tips for you here.
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.
An important thing to note is that only dieting isn’t going to lose you the weight you want gone; you need to pair it with an active and fit lifestyle as well. When you do at least 30 minutes of activity each day AND eat healthy foods meant to help you lose weight you’ll find yourself getting results rapidly.
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.
Keeping a journal or following a strict nutrition plan is the best way to go in this situation. Find an existing one, like the nutrition plans we offer at Fit Body Boot Camp, and you’ll find yourself feeling more accountable overall when you have some guidelines to fall back on.
Forgetting Beverage Calories
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. Water is something you should be drinking a lot of if your goal is to lose weight.
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. A protein-rich diet will fill you up and help you gain some lean muscle as well. When you work out you want your body to burn the extra protein you’ve eaten rather than your muscles, otherwise you won’t lose the fat you’re trying to get rid of. Read our post about protein in your daily diet for more information.
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 several small, balanced meals each day and include a source of protein and fiber with each meal. Skipping meals will leave you tired and irritated and unable to focus, so be sure to fuel your body.
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 journal that tracks your calorie intake. Turns out 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. At Fit Body Boot Camp we allow our Family members to have cheat days because we believe that “guilty pleasures” don’t exist. Just be careful not to totally rule out any food groups or specially tempting (small) treats.