The fact is dieting is a billion dollar industry that grows every year – right along with America’s waistlines. Something is wrong with that, wouldn’t you say?
So what’s the deal, why do millions of people have the greatest of intentions, but fail miserably on a nutrition program? Pay close attention and learn to not make these mistakes in your own program and you’ll finally achieve nutritional success.
#1. Eliminating Fat – America obesity levels have nearly doubled in the last 40 years – and yet food manufacturers have introduced more low fat / fat free foods than ever. The problem – most are sugar laden and too high in calories. The whole ‘fat myth’ is the biggest diet mistake people make! You NEED healthy sources of fat for essential body functions, sustained energy, to slow digestion, and to feel fuller for longer. Including healthy fats in your diet can actually make you lose weight, don’t avoid them!
#2. Reducing Calories Too Much – This is what’s responsible for YO- YO dieting. Initially when you start an extreme diet, you will lose a lot of weight, but your body will catch on very quickly and drop its needs (metabolism) down to meet the low supply of fuel (calories) you’re feeding it. Then when you resume to your normal diet – WHAM! You get fat – because you’re now over eating by consuming more than your metabolism needs! Small reductions in calories, a healthy diet, and an increase in exercise are all you need to start getting results – not drastic diets!
#3. Eating Too Much Healthy Food – Eating too much of anything will eventually make you fat. Don’t make the mistake of thinking if you’re eating fruit or other ‘healthy’ foods, that eating in excess is OK. I say this all the time “Healthy food is not always great for weight loss”. At the end of the day, a calorie is a calorie and you still need to eat slightly less than your body needs to burn some fat. You got it…
#4. Consuming Alcohol – For some reason people just don’t get that alcohol is a major contributor to weight gain and think of booze as “free” calories. I’ve seen this especially with red wine, but some of the hard liquors and cocktails are even more calorie dense. Alcohol becomes your body’s choice of fuel when ingested, even in the presence of sugar. Be sure to limit your intake, avoid drinks with added juice, and include the calories in any alcohol you consume as part of your daily calorie count. Sorry guys – there are no freebies!
#5. Eliminating Carbohydrates – Carbohydrate free diets are popular because of the immediate dramatic weight loss that occurs. But that’s due to water loss, NOT fat loss. Carbohydrates hold water in the muscle cells, and with little to no carbohydrates, your body will store almost no water. This will also give you zero energy, poor brain function, lower thyroid output, and a whole slew of other problems. Plus you just feel like crap. Return to your old diet and the water weight that you lost will come back, and then some, as your body swells up like a blowfish. Healthy, complex, fibrous carbohydrates are needed as part of any successful diet regimen.
#6. Eating Infrequently – In order to turn your body into a fat burning machine you need to eat the right foods frequently throughout the day. Five to six smaller meals are needed to keep the metabolism running strong and keep your energy levels consistent. Three meals just isn’t enough. Try “grazing” instead of gorging.
#7. Portion Sizes – The tradition of dinner being the largest, and consequently most caloric meal of the day is the kiss of death for almost everyone. Your food intake should be scheduled around your activity levels across the day – planned around when your body needs the most fuel. So breakfast should be the largest meal of the day and dinner the smallest. Why eat a huge meal and then go sit on the couch?
#8. Skipping Breakfast – This is a big one! Breakfast is the meal where you “fill up the tank” for the long journey ahead. It gets the metabolic machinery running and sets the body’s course for the rest of the day. Without it, your body is literally running on fumes and not functioning properly. Be sure to include quality carbohydrates, healthy fat, and protein in modest amounts to get the day started right.
#9. Too Much Too Soon – This is the single reason most people fail on their diets; people become so excited about starting a new nutrition regime that they give up all of their favorite foods, and completely change the household diet based on some guru’s advice. This will undoubtedly backfire on you as you need to slowly acclimate yourself into a new eating lifestyle, otherwise the outlook of a completely new diet strategy will be overwhelming and you will inevitably give up. Try making smarter, more informed choices about food one meal per day, one week at a time. Once a month is up, you will have changed your diet drastically without the shock of a complete 360.
#10. Skipping Exercise – With only 15% of Americans on a regular exercise program (I personally think that statistic is inflated), but over 75% of people admitting to trying to lose weight or being on a “diet”, there is clearly a disconnect between diet and exercise. The two work hand in hand and trying to lose and maintain weight without including exercise in your program is a huge mistake – and sets you up for failure. You may not like to exercise – but if you want to lose weight and keep it off – you simply have no choice…
But what do you think? Have you made any of these mistakes? Have you made others that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your stories so start spilling…!