Sunday, June 14, 2015

Diet Mistakes You Might be Making

We all know people who are on a diet.  Usually some fad diet that they can’t stay on for a life time.  How often do we hear, “I am off my diet.”   “I am back on my diet.”   What are some diet mistakes that can sabotage your weight loss goals?  WebMD has a great article, 10 Diet Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.
  1. Crash diets – Many of us want to lose weight but not slow and steady, we want to lose it now.  So crash diets sound appealing.  When you lose weight that fast you not only lose water and fat but also muscle tissue.   Eating under 1200 calories a day can slow your metabolism and slow your chances of losing weight.  Go off this crash diet and the weight comes back as you haven’t changed your lifestyle and eating habits. 
  2.  Skipping Breakfast – seems like an easy way to cut back on calories.  I was doing a diet recall on a friend who said they never ate breakfast.  Yet, when they got to work they went to the snack machine and got a donut, a candy bar or other high calorie “snack”.  Skipping the most important meal of the day lead to hunger mid-morning and snacking on unhealthy, high calorie foods.  Or, the person overeats at lunch because they are starving and then they pack even more calories.  Choose a breakfast high in protein and high in fiber to fill you up and stave off the hunger pains.
  3. Snacks – who doesn’t love snacks?  Many people eat normally at meals but then nibble all day on snacks.  If you are counting calories, the snacks count too.  Use Apps on your Smartphone like LoseIt! to track your meals and snacks.  Or choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables.   Or, find those 100 calorie snack packs.
  4. Avoiding snacks – snacking can be a good thing as those who eat 3 smaller meals a day plus snacks have a better chance of controlling their hunger.  Focusing on protein-rich snacks can rev up your metabolism.  A handful of nuts are a good protein snack.
  5. Low fat – cutting back on high fat foods is a good choice.  Limiting fried foods like cutting back on French fries, fried chips, fried chicken will cut back on calories.  But carefully choose low fat products as many are loaded with sugar.  I tried a low fat mayonnaise in and egg salad only to have the egg salad taste sweet like I had added sugar.  Looking at the label, they had taken out fat but added sugar and added calories.  Better to have a smaller portion of a regular fat food than all that added sugar.
  6. Calories in your Beverages – cutting back on beverages high in added sugar is always a good idea.  In the South sugared iced tea is popular but loaded with calories.  Most restaurants offer unsweetened tea.  If you are trying to cut back, fill up the glass with mostly unsweetened and top off with some sweetened or just add one pack of sugar to your unsweetened tea.  Sugared soft drinks, many sports drinks are loaded with sugar and a good way to cut some calories.  Drink water instead.
  7. Water – fill up on water.  Drink some water when you get up, before meals, any time you feel thirsty.  Dehydration slows you metabolism so keep hydrated.
  8. Avoiding Dairy is Not a Good Idea – many fad diets cut back on dairy and thus cut back on the important nutrients dairy provides like calcium and vitamin D.  Not to mention the protein in dairy is a very high quality protein.  WebMD notes:  Some research suggests the body burns more fat when it gets enough calcium and produces more fat when it’s calcium-deprived.  So choose low-fat dairy, low fat yogurt, 1% or fat free milk, low fat cheeses.
  9. Avoid the Drive-Through – Fast foods are loaded with calories.  Sure you could order the salad or other healthier choices but going to a fast food place just offers a lot of temptation for the milk shake, fries or other unhealthy options.  WebMD notes:  People who ate fast food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had it less than once a week.    
  10. Unrealistic Goals – Many people want to lose a lot of weight and lose it fast.  But the most successful are those who chose realistic goals like 1-2 pounds a week, focus on an eating pattern they can maintain for life and adding in exercise so they don’t have to cut back on food so much. 

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