Watch out for these common diet mistakes. Guilty of a few? Try again…the right way.
Everybody makes mistakes, so it’s no surprise that people trying to lose weight will make mistakes along the way. Once you realize the error of your ways, there’s no need to feel like a failure or give up. Instead, learn from your mistakes so you won’t repeat them in the future. You’ll come out stronger on the other side and have a greater chance of meeting your goals.
Diet mistakes can be broken down into three categories: eating healthy foods the unhealthy way, maintaining habits that slow your metabolism, and plain ol’ laziness.
Healthy Foods the Unhealthy Way
Think you can’t go wrong with vegetables and fruit? Think again.
Yes, fruits and vegetables are healthy, low-calorie options, but they way they’re prepared or what they’re paired with makes all the difference. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower by themselves are a very healthy option.
Dip them in ranch dressing or sour cream-based dips, and you’re adding unnecessary fat, calories, and sodium. The same goes for fruit. Apple slices dipped in caramel or strawberries smothered in chocolate aren’t doing you any favors. As a dip alternative, try Greek yogurt mixed with seasoning (honey or cinnamon for fruit), salsa, hummus, or black bean dip.
The way fruits and vegetables are prepared can also make or break your diet. Frying your veggies, eating fruit canned in heavy syrup, or drowning your vegetables in sauces will load on the calories fast. Raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruit are the way to go.
Salads can be another diet pitfall. You may think you’re depriving yourself by choosing a salad over a hamburger, but depending on what’s in your salad, you may be eating more calories than you think. Toppings such as nuts, cheese, croutons, bacon, or fried chicken should be eaten sparingly if at all. Instead, pile veggies, beans, and lean protein on your salad for a low-calorie meal that fills you up.
Habits That Slow Metabolism
What you eat and drink is converted into energy. This complex process is called metabolism. A slow metabolism isn’t the only reason you’re overweight, but it may play a small part. Dieters are guilty of several mistakes that slow the metabolism and therefore slow down weight loss.
Many people skip meals or starve themselves in their endeavor to eat fewer calories. Cutting too many calories confuses your metabolism and your body goes into starvation mode by slowing the number of calories it burns in the effort to save them for later. When you don’t eat enough calories for energy, your body begins to break down muscle tissue for energy. This is detrimental, as muscle helps you burn more calories. So keep your metabolism running smoothly by eating a meal or small snack every three to four hours. Men should eat no fewer than 1,800 calories a day and women 1,200.
Another way dieters slow their metabolism is by eating white bread, pasta, rice, or cereal and not eating enough protein. Foods high in fiber and protein will increase you calorie burn.
Just Plain Lazy
Diets can be hard work. Over time, you may find yourself slacking off in increasing frequency. When you notice yourself backsliding, don’t be surprised when the weight starts creeping back. Maybe you’ve been visiting the fast-food drive through more often, skipping your morning workout sessions, or neglecting your food journal.
If you start to suffer these dieting slump symptoms, take time to make healthy home-cooked meals, find an accountability partner to exercise with, and keep your food journal with you wherever you go. And remember—it’s never too late to make up for your dieting mistakes!