The 7 Deadly Dieting Mistakes
When making positive lifestyle changes it can be easy to miss a few things along the way. Initially this won’t hold you back too much and weight loss can still be steady. After a few weeks though if your weight loss starts to slow or plateau then it’s time to look at the 7 most common mistakes where people are not maximizing their weight loss.
Mistake No 1: Portion Distortion
We live in a super-sized society and more and more of the treats and portion sizes we consume while were out are making there way back onto your plate at home. You don’t need to fill your plate like a mountain and portion size distortion is a leading reason people struggle to hit their calorie goals, leading to weight struggles.
Remember your stomach is roughly the size of your heart, or a clenched fist. Doesn’t sound too big right? To help with portion control eat from smaller plates and make sure you chew your food 15-20 times. Remember that portion control applies to all foods both healthy and unhealthy.
Mistake No 2: Too Many Extras
When choosing sides and extras to your healthy meal it’s important to remember that those little additions really do rack up if you’re not careful. A salad is a perfect accompaniment to your meal but when you add dressing, cheese, bacon and croutons things take a turn for the worse.
One tablespoon of dressing contains 75-100 calories+. This is the reason the fast food salads pack so many hidden calories.
No matter how many super foods your salad contains it cannot out do or reduce the calories in the additions. These are the classic items missed from food journals as people think they are just being a “little bit naughty”.
Mistake No 3: Missing the Liquid Calories
Some people forget to count calories in food, others think it’s not enough to worry and some don’t even consider the lurking calorie time bomb in their favorite beverage. Many coffee shop or fast food drinks can contain more calories than a regular meal along with a lot of sugar.
Roughly 20% of your calories can come from the beverages you drink. This can include the juice with your breakfast, coffee through the day, sports drink at the gym and drinks with your evening meal.
Drop the high calorie fizzy drinks, sweetened coffees, teas and take care when making smoothies as it’s easy to overdo it. Replace these with herbal teas, skimmed milk in tea and water. The calories found in most drinks are empty calories and will not satisfy your hunger or help with your weight loss goals.
Mistake No 4: Meal Skipping
It’s not uncommon to try and skip a meal to save a few calories and many non-breakfast eaters often fall straight into this trap. Studies indicate that people who regularly skip breakfast actually weigh more than those who do eat breakfast. The reason for this is because non breakfast eaters statistically eat more through the day as a consequence.
The second reason this will hold you back from achieving your weight loss goals is because the breakfast eaters are kick starting their metabolism earlier in the day and are starting the process of burning calories. Skipping breakfast and meals slows down the metabolism and encourages the body to store fat. Aim for four to six meals per day finding a pattern that fits your lifestyle.
Mistake No 5: Distraction Eating
Sitting at the desk, watching the TV or playing on your games console all cause cognitive distraction, or mindless eating. Because you are focused on something else it can be very easy to zombie eat your way through that whole packet of biscuits, and the first you notice is when your fingers hit thin air at the bottom of the pack, sound familiar?
Successful weight loss and lifestyle change means planning ahead. Know what you’re eating and when. Always eat away from distraction and preferably at a table or canteen away from the TV or your desk. For times when you are in a distracted state have plenty of water available and only pre planned weighed out snacks. For example if you’re having 20g of almonds don’t have a whole bag with you as this will end badly. Chewing gum can also work as a good distraction technique.
Mistake No 6: Banning all the Treats
I have worked with a lot of clients over the years and I honestly believe that all of them understand the fundamentals of healthy eating. Many are confused, time poor and some just down right lazy at taking responsibility for their health. The one thing they all have in common and one of the areas I get a lot of initial resistance is the inclusion of treats.
The reason is that everyone knows they key things in their diet that are holding them back. It might be alcohol, chocolate, takeaways or fizzy drinks for example. When starting to make positive lifestyle changes clients nearly always want to cut all of them out overnight. While this will certainly help with the weight loss it does create a feeling of “being on a diet” rather than adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Clients will quickly crave their vices and the inevitable relapse can be all it takes for some to give up and notch it up to another failed diet. Don’t let this be you because there is another way.
If you are hitting you exercise sessions and getting on well with your diet then treat yourself once a week to a little bit of what you fancy. Portion control is ESSENTIAL and moderation is not a strap line for I’ll have another slice of cake because I’m hitting my five a day now.
A good day to do this is to have a treat on weigh day as you have another 7-14 days until the next weigh in and it marks a successful period of change. If this routine works for you long term then you stand to get better overall results as opposed to losing a lot of weight in week one and two and then going backwards after that.
Mistake No 7: Blaming your Genetics
Often people can believe that their genetics are stopping them from losing weight and they are destined to be the same size forever. While a very small proportion of people do suffer from certain conditions that do affect their weight this is most certainly not the majority.
Don’t let this be your excuse for not making positive change and improving your health. We all need to move more, eat a healthy balanced diet and take full responsibility for ourselves. Make an exercise plan, gradually introduce lifestyle and diet changes that will support your goals and then work hard. If you truly commit to these things you will be successful.
So these are my Seven Deadly Dieting Mistakes that I see most often in one form or another with my clients. If you’re feeling a little stuck then have a good read and evaluate where you are. Try filling in a food journal for a few days, tracking calories, portion sizes, how you feel when eating (hungry, tired ets) and the beverages you drink. This can be a really powerful way to re-engage with your own eating behaviour.
Good Luck & Keep Going!
By Andy Strong
Fundamentally FIT Ltd