Are you struggling with dieting and trying to lose weight? Confused about the best way to lose weight? Figuring out the right diet? Looking for that essential weight loss ingredient that keeps evading you?
Clearly there’s no shortage of information about weight loss. (I just did a Google search for weight loss and more than 200 million results came back.)
If weight loss and diet information is so plentiful, why are you and so many other’s struggling? Why have I struggled to lose weight and keep it off for decades?
How to Avoid Common Weight Loss Mistakes Dieters Make
Maybe you’re making one (or more) of these common common diet mistakes without even realizing it.
Learning to eat healthy, lose weight and stay slim is a gradual process of learning and re-learning what works for you and what doesn’t. The key is to stop expecting rapid weight loss solutions. How long did it take you to gain the weight, anyway?
As difficult as it seems, you gotta take it slow and steady.
Working to avoid these seven common diet mistakes can go along way in insuring your weight loss success…
Diet Mistake #1 — Drinking Too Many Calories
Do you have any idea how many calories you are drinking a day? When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat AND what you drink.
Even “healthy” drinks like juice and energy drinks can be big sources of excess calories. Yes, juice is healthy — but it’s also high in sugar and full of calories. And those fancy blended coffee drinks and smoothies can easily contain more than half a day’s worth of fat and calories.
Do you start each morning with a big glass of cranberry juice or orange juice? Do you regularly indulge in a large sweet and creamy coffee drink on the way to work? A couple of cocktails after work?
One of the problems with liquid calories is that they’re not as filling as the food you eat. And often they’re made up mostly of refined sugar — or even worse — high fructose corn syrup — providing empty calories that are devoid of nutrition — making weight loss difficult. (Eating AND drinking less sugar can really help with weight loss.)
The healthy fix: Track how many calories you are drinking.
Just keep track for a few days. You may be shocked. (I remember I was.)
Replace as many of the liquid calories as you can with calorie free alternatives — water, sparkling water and herb tea — are all great alternatives. (I’m not a fan of artificially sweetened beverages. Splenda gives me a headache and drinking a diet soda makes me extremely hungry. But everyone is different; they may work for you.)
Just say no to soda, fancy sweetened coffee beverages, extra large smoothies, energy drinks, sugary cocktails and even juice.
While juice is healthier, you’re much better off eating the fruit instead because you get the fiber which will keep you feeling full longer. If you do want juice have a small glass or try mixing half juice with half sparkling water.
Diet Mistake #2 — Skipping Meals
Skipping meals may seem like a smart way to cut calories when you’re trying to lose weight. But, it’s not. It’s a short term approach that can backfire on you if it results in you getting tired, lethargic, cranky and ravenous eventually — so you end up over-eating later. Not a good idea — especially when you’re trying to lose weight.
The healthy fix: Eat regular meals including breakfast.
Many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer total calories in a day and weigh less than breakfast skippers. Eating regularly can help you break the cycle that leads to over-eating and bingeing.
Diet Mistake #3 — Depriving Yourself
Does this sound familiar? You start the day promising to “be good.” You get rid of all the tempting foods in your pantry and swear off your favorites — promising never to eat pizza, ice cream, fries, chips or anything else you love again.
This is a recipe for dietary weight loss disaster. It’s not sustainable because it’s too extreme and not realistic.
As soon as you resolve to never eat these foods again — your body, your mind, and your environment begin working against you. You become obsessed with these foods — thinking about them, dreaming about them, seeing them on television, watching other people enjoy them all around you.
It’s not a fatal flaw. It’s human nature to want what you’ve been told you can’t have. It’s not reasonable to think you’re never going to indulge in your favorite foods again.
So before you know it, you’re binging on all your favorites until you feel sick.
The healthy fix: Plan for and ENJOY your favorite foods in moderation.
Treat yourself. Make them special and really savor them. Build them into your healthy balanced eating plan.
Diet Mistake #4 — Portion Distortion & Eating Too Much
When you eat too much — even if the food is healthy — it’s going to make you fat. Portions today — especially in restaurants — are gigantic. Did you know that a typical bagel is equal to 4 to 5 slices of bread? I bet you’ve eaten your fair share of bagels for breakfast — when you would never dream of eating 5 slices of toast.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably eating 10 to 30 percent more than you need — for lots of different reasons. Because it’s sitting there in front of you – is one of them.
The healthy fix: Learn what a portion/serving size is.
If you’ve not paid attention to this be prepared for a shock. Standard portions are much smaller than what you’re used to. But there are lots of fun easy things you can do to trick yourself into eating less. Two of my favorites including eating from smaller plates and bowls and always ordering the small size.
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
Diet Mistake #5 — Believing in One-Size-Fits All Diet Solutions
Your husband or boyfriend lost weight on the Atkins Diet. Your best friend dropped pounds going vegan and eating mostly raw foods. Your sister’s husband’s cousin believes that Nutrisystem is the best weight loss solution. Your colleagues at work are following the Biggest Loser on television and adopting that diet or are convinced that HCG is the way to go. Your doctor subscribes to eating low fat and counting calories.
If all these diets worked for someone; they should work for you right? You should go with Atkins…
…Or eat eat a vegan diet…
…Or try HCG…
…or go low-fat and count your calories
…Or maybe you should try that new diet that’s on the best seller list…
Wait a minute. If these diets worked, you would be slim by now. (Heck, if these diets worked, we would all be slim by now!)
– They’re too extreme. If you’re living in modern society it’s unlikely that you will be able t give up whole categories of food (fat-carbs-dairy-sugar-desserts) forever. There are too many forces working against you. It’s not realistic.
– They don’t give enough consideration to your individual metabolism and genetic makeup. No two people are exactly the same so no two ways of eating and living should be exactly the same.
– They don’t take women’s differences into account. Diet books are written mostly by men so they don’t address the fact that women are profoundly different than men — when it comes to lots of things — especially weight loss.
The healthy fix: Take the time to figure out the way of eating and lifestyle that what works best for you.
Banish the diet mentality. Invest in yourself — your health — happiness — and well being. Find your own slim and healthy balance. You’ll find lots of great easy healthy weight loss ideas here to test out for yourself. For more on finding the right diet for you.
Diet Mistake #6 — Treating Weight Loss Like Its an All or Nothing Proposition
Healthy weight loss and weight maintenance are life long journeys. Losing weight is not something you do today and then give up on tomorrow. Making slow steady incremental changes that become part of your healthy way of life is what leads to lasting weight loss.
It helps to think of weight loss and health like a bank account. If you spend more than you should have today, does it give you license to break the bank and keep on spending since you “blew it?” Of course not.
And it’s the same with dieting. Give up the all or nothing “good” and “bad” mentality.
The healthy fix: Strive to find your own personal healthy balance.
When you overspend the healthy solution is to spend a little less till you’re account is back in balance. It’s the same with healthy eating. Think of your diet like a bank account. When you have too much pizza instead of thinking “It’s no use” and eating more; resume your healthy way of eating and try to cut back a little bit for the next couple of days till you’re back in balance.
Diet Mistake #7 — Letting Other’s Influence You
When it comes to eating well and losing weight, don’t let others influence you. If you’re out to dinner and everyone’s having greasy burgers, fries and milkshakes — order what you want — not what they’re having.
People often want you to do what they’re doing so they can feel less guilty. Don’t let them bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re out to lunch with a girlfriend who insists you have dessert, don’t let her dissuade you into ordering something you don’t really want. If every time you’re with your mom she tries to get you to have seconds, don’t let her talk you into it, just to make her feel better and get her off your back.
The healthy fix: Put Yourself First
Learn to put yourself and your needs first. Do what’s best for you. Don’t let others influence you. Whether its a co-worker who loves to tempt you with homemade baked goodies all the time or your well-meaning Mom who thinks that you’re too skinny and suggests seconds of her best dishes.
Learn to refuse and say no in a way that works. This may take some experimenting. I’ve found, “No, thanks, I’m full.” to be very effective. (It’s hard to argue with “I’m full.”)
The less you talk about your weight loss efforts the better. You’ll have fewer people offering their advice and suggestions and trying to influence your weight loss efforts, which is a very good thing.
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