Losing weight is hard. It takes dedication, time and consistency. With so much information out there coming from magazines, videos and marketing fads, we can easily get lost on what are efficient ways of losing that unwanted bodyfat. With that in mind, here are five common dieting mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
YOUR DIET IS NOT A LIFESTYLE
Most people who decide to jump on a diet have usually a specific time frame they want to stick with in order to reach their goals. The reality is, we all want things done now – and we usually want them to be effortless. The good thing about that is that it definitely gets many off the couch and into the gym. The bad however, is that likely won’t stay on that diet in the long run. And most “diets” lead to a yo-yo form of losing and gaining weight that usually leaves you worse off than where you were when you started.
If you have been doing the same things over and over for years, it will be hard to immediately change habits. The key? Start with small, sustainable changes. This will eventually completely change the habit(s)or decrease the amount you do it substantially. Making slower, gradual changes rather than completely overhauling what you are doing will help you make healthier lifestyle changes that will burn the fat and keep it off.
HEALTHY DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN BETTER
Organic, natural, gluten-free, farm raised, sugar free, fat free…I ’m sure you have heard these words before. Let me start with the usual sentence I heard from several people daily – “But I eat all organic meats and tons of fruits daily, why can’t I lose weight?”
Food – whether it’s organic, natural or fat free – still contains calories, and substituting your foods with these healthier options won’t always make a difference in the caloric count. It will no doubt be better for you and your body, but you are still consuming calories. If you are trying to lose weight, the main concept is to lower your calorie consumption or expend more calories daily than you are taking in. The mistake is when people start dieting and making healthier food choices without truly knowing the macronutrients of the food they are consuming.
Let’s take fruit for example. It’s (usually) great for you, as they contain high amounts of natural vitamins and minerals. But the sugar content of fruit(s) can be relatively high. So don’t go rushing to your local fruit juice smoothie store because they are promoting it as a healthy drink when it is likely loaded with sugars that will add up to your caloric intake. Don’t make the mistake of overeating healthy foods just because they are healthy – count your and macronutrients and your portion sizes.
YOU’RE SKIPPING BREAKFAST
You’ve heard of people trying to lose weight and skipping breakfast, right? It’s very common for people to think starting your day in fasting mode will burn more calories. But it’s actually the exact opposite. Numerous studies show a direct correlation between eating breakfast and consuming fewer calories throughout the day. This begins with the fact that if you skip breakfast you’ll most likely be hungry at lunch and want to eat more – for lunch and again later in the day. Additionally, if you are trying to sustain energy levels, gain muscle and train during that lunch time, you won’t have the optimal energy to lift as much as much, or burn potential bodyfat and weight. Skipping breakfast isn’t correlated with gaining fat and being a direct mistake while dieting, but the goal of dieting is to lose weight and body-fat, not lean muscle. By skipping a potential meal that will affect your training capabilities is then a direct factor to potentially gaining more fat. After all, like mentioned above, there’s two ways to losing fat while dieting; consuming less calories than you expend in a day or being physically active enough to burn more calories than you are consuming. And, in my opinion, exercise is still the best way to lose weight and keep lean muscle mass.
YOU NEED TO EAT MORE FAT
Healthy fats, of course – but you need to know the difference. Trans fat and saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for hearth disease. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you as they lower your cholesterol and reduce heart disease. Additionally, fats are needed for healthy hormone production. The problem is when people hear this and assume that they should be consuming as many healthy fats as in order to burn more fat. This is true – to an extent. But, like anything in life, moderation is key. Fatty foods are high in calories – 9 calories per gram versus 4 for carbs and protein . And when you combine several of them into one day’s meals – almonds, fatty fish, oils and seeds – those calorie-dense foods add up pretty fast.
LABELS ARE MISLEADING YOU
Today chemists can create flavors that mimic almost anything. But chemists are not Mother Nature. For that reason today we have tons of products on our supermarkets and stores that advertise fat free, sugar free and light – which are usually high-selling items for those trying to lose weight while still trying to stick with their favorite beverages or snacks. The problem? The chemicals used to mimic the real flavors can actually trigger us to want more sweets later. Beyond the gastrointestinal problems that these foods may cause, there are other problems The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.1
1. Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas.
2. Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar- sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are significantly sweeter than regular sugar.
So, be careful with these lower calories or 0 calorie products as they might be eventually adding back more weight than you originally started with.
1. Guy Fagherazzi, Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/30/ajcn.112.050997, 2013