The Top Three Diet Mistakes: Are You Making Them?

Chances are, you’ve decided to “go on a diet” at some point in your life. Maybe you’re even on a diet right now. But while the idea of it is appealing — (eat super healthy and you’ll lose a lot of weight, really fast!) — success isn’t always guaranteed. That’s because many popular diets encourage super restrictive eating, which is tough to keep up over a long period of time. The result: You might lose a bunch of weight, only to ultimately gain it all back (and then some).

Looking for more permanent changes? Avoid these top three dieting mistakes:

Mistake #1: Eating fake foods. Meal replacement shakes, weight loss bars and other packaged products designed to help you lose weight may be convenient and fast, but they’re not helping you learn a healthier way to eat. And compared to eating whole foods, they often don’t have as much fiber, vitamins or nutrients. That’s why cooking as many meals as possible yourself and relying on healthy ingredients is the best way to successfully lose weight.

Mistake #2: Cutting out an entire group of macronutrients. One common diet approach is to cut out all carbohydrates or fat. But eliminating an entire category of macronutrients is not the key to successful weight loss. Your body needs different foods to function properly. Instead, think in terms of moderation and portion control. If you really want to change your diet and lifestyle for the better, make gradual changes. Measure your food portions and keep a food log on an app or journal to give you more awareness of how much you are consuming and from what food groups. This will help you make sure your macronutrients are distributed properly to aid in weight loss goals.

Mistake #3: Not eating enough. Consuming fewer calories and burning more of them is a tried-and-true approach to losing weight, but limiting your food intake too much can backfire. Studies on super low-calorie diets (where people eat 1,000 calories or less per day) show muscle loss and a significantly lowered metabolism, making it tougher for you to lose weight. Instead of focusing on how low you can go with calories, pay attention to where they’re coming from. Try to get most of them from nutritious food sources, such as colorful vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, healthy whole grains and heart healthy fats.

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