Weight loss is tough. But many of us are making it harder than it needs to be. Today I will be pointing out seven of the biggest diet mistakes I see. Some of these may seem obvious, but it’s the small things that make the difference.
Not drinking enough water
Water helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Being hydrated keeps you from feeling bloated or getting a headache. Often times when you are suffering from either of those things you tend to overeat. Drinking water and/or eating foods with a high water content before a meal can help decrease how much you eat during the meal. Plus, hunger is often a symptom of thirst. A lot of the time when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. So, reach for the water first.
Cutting out an entire food group
Many people trying to lose weight will try cutting out an entire food group, like carbs. But this will almost always result in an imbalanced diet and deficiencies. Your body needs all food groups to survive. You should start a diet with the mindset that you can maintain that way of eating for the rest of your life. Eliminating a food group will only work for a short amount of time… so you are essentially setting yourself up to fail.
Eating too few calories
I am not sure who started the rumor that 1,200 calories is the perfect amount to eat to lose weight… but they are incorrect. That is not enough calories for most people to survive on. This is bad for a number of reasons. One, a lot of people will do this diet, feel super hungry, and end up binging on anything they can get their hands on just because their body is feeling so ravenous. Two, your body naturally burns a certain amount of calories each day (just from living and breathing) and if you don’t eat at least that number of calories (1,500 for a 150lb person) your body will go into starvation mode and stop burning that amount of calories. This means you have to eat even less and work even harder to burn calories in your workout. Your body doesn’t want to starve so it will continue conserving energy making it very hard for you to lose weight.
Avoiding ALL fats
Since the 1970’s people have been scared of fat. Fat free products are all over the supermarket, but I am here to tell you that you do not need to buy them! Fat is important because it helps with satiety. Without fat in your diet you are likely to find yourself hungry a lot of the time. So snack of healthy fat sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, and soy. Just be aware that a serving of fat is usually pretty small because one gram of fat has 9 calories (as opposed to the 4 in carbohydrates and protein). This is not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.
Focusing on what you can’t eat
When you start a diet and only focus on what you can’t have, you are instantly going to crave it more. As children, we all wanted what our parents said we couldn’t have. As adults we do the same thing. Focus on what you CAN have and get excited about all of the possibilities. There are so many foods in the world; you should never feel like you don’t have options.
Not having a plan
If you want to have success in anything in life, you need to have a solid, realistic plan. Plan out your goals, plan out your meals, plan out your workouts, and make sure each plan is realistic. Extremes are not realistic. Most people cannot eat brown rice, broccoli and chicken for every meal, so don’t plan to. Also don’t skip making a plan because ‘your life is spontaneous’. If you want to see changes in your body, a plan is necessary to make that happen.
Taking the weekends off
I’ve heard it time and time again – a person may follow their diet perfectly all week and then go out with friends, eat too much, drink too much, and gain five pounds over the weekend. It’s okay to go out and have fun. But, practice moderation and try to find a way to make fun fit into your diet. As mentioned in the previous points, you shouldn’t be restricting yourself so much on your diet that you feel like you can’t eat anything, so you should be able to find a way to have fun and eat clean. Look up a restaurants menu before you go out so you feel more prepared. Watch what you eat the rest of the day so you have more wiggle room for that extra cocktail with your friends.