The following are some of the most common dieting mistakes, or "weight loss blunders' that keep people from reaching their weight loss goals:
- Crash dieting. On a crash diet you lose weight rapidly, your body thinks that it's starving and reduces its basal metabolic rate, which makes it harder for your body to burn each calorie. While there is an initial weight loss, when you start eating normal again your body will store the food your eating and burn less fat in case a "famine" hits it again. Solution: Gradually ease into your diet, small changes are easier to stick with than drastic ones. Smaller changes are also more likely to remain with you through the duration of your diet. Aim for goals that you know you will be able to maintain over years, not just weeks.
- Choosing a fad diet rather than a fab diet. Most fad diets can undermine your health, causing physical discomfort and lead to disappointment when you regain weight soon after you lose it. Fad diets are so monotonous and boring that it's almost impossible to stay on them for long periods. Many fad diets are not healthy and do not make good diet sense and as a result people are not able to keep any weight lost off for the long term. Solution: Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods and eat moderate amounts from all food groups. Choose your food selection and stress the importance in eating more nutrient-rich foods - that have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories. The only sensible way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight permanently is to eat less and balance your food intake with physical activity.
- Doing the same thing and expecting different results. Quote by Albert Einstein, Insanity: is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein's quote applies with weight loss also. If you have the same diet or dieting habits, your exercise program stays the same and you're still not losing weight or you regain the weight after losing it, but you're still expecting different results, it's just not going to happen! Solution: Change your eating and dieting habits along with your exercise program until you find the one that works for you. You may have to change the way you eat by lowering your caloric intakeprotein or carbohydrate intake or exercise more. or adjust your It's about experimenting to see what weight loss program works best for you and the lifestyle you lead. Once you find out what works best for you, stick to it and make it a permanent weight loss habit that you can live with.
- Not keeping a food log. Many people are not successful dieting because they do not really know how many calories they are eating vs. how many they are burning. Many also do not know how much protein, carbohydrate, good fats and bad fats they take in daily. Not knowing these things is like trying to go somewhere you have never been without a map. Solution: Monitoring what you eat using a food log helps remove certain uncertainties and allows you to better objectively evaluate how you are doing, and how your body to the diet, It will also be a definitive way to identify potential deficiencies (in protein) or excess (such as in fat or calories).
- Not preparing your food in advance. Not preparing your food in advance causes many people to grab bad foods. It also can cause people to overeat. Preparing your meals in advance allows you to weigh and measure foods, rack what you are consuming and avoid processed, high sugar, high fat foods that derail many good diets and the best of intentions. Solution: Prepare your meals in advance at a time when you are not hungry, so you do not eat bad foods, or nibble your way to over eating.
- Failing to "snack proof" the home. Failure to "snack proof" your home can sabotage your dieting attempts. Unfortunately, failure to "snack proof" your home has resulted in a drastic increase in the number of individuals who are obese, especially the obesity rate in children. Having unhealthy snack foods in your home are high in sugar can deprive your body of the fuel it needs to stay alert and active until your next meal. Solution: Replace high fat, and highly processed foods in your home with healthy alternatives. Health food snacks are foods that are low in sugar and low in fat, especially trans-fat, but are full of the complex carbohydrates that your body needs to keep going. Dried fruits and nuts, fresh fruits, whole grain breads, cereals and natural juices are examples of healthy snacks. A concentrated source of nature's most nutrient rich fruits and berries is another easy way to get the nutrients your body needs. Once you have made the decision to have healthier snacks in your home, you'll feel better throughout the day and also help you lose weight.
- Using food to cope with stress. Don't overeat to cope with stress. Stress causes many people to turn to food for comfort. Psychologists have long known that there is a connection between 'mood and food.' Whatever the reason, some individuals use food to fill emptiness, provide good feelings, and soothe job pressures and family conflicts. Solution: Try these tips for coping with stress-related eating: Tell yourself to wait 15 or 30 minutes before eating, keep track of what you eat, you will eat less if you stay seated while you eat, eat as you would normally at the regular times, post a note asking am I really hungry, know your weakest times and don't go there, and remove any tempting foods. Be prepared with some non-food tactics that work for you as well. These tactics may include meditation, message, physical activities, just to name a few.
- Skipping breakfast. By skipping breakfast your body will be missing the nutrients it needs to speed up its metabolism and mental alertness. While cutting out breakfast may appear to cut daily caloric intake, research indicates missing breakfast may also increase your hunger throughout the rest of the day. Solution: Eat a breakfast that will increase your metabolism and mental alertness with the proper percentage of protein and carbohydrates which will also delay stomach emptying to increase satiety and control calorie consumption.
- Mindless eating. Mindless eating can pack on the pounds! If you are like many Americans who sit down to eat and your mind is out to lunch, you will pack on the pounds! Whether it's the newspaper on the kitchen table, the morning news on TV, your co-workers you're dining with, or simply the world passing you by, food is the only thing you're not thinking about when you eat. Your absent-minded way of eating is starting to make a difference when you step on the scale -- and not in a good way. Solution: Separate eating from all the other activities or demands in your life. While eating slow down, the faster you eat less likely you're paying attention to your food. Savor the food by building the habit of taking very small bites and paying attention to all the details of the food. Watch for the "eating pause" during a meal, most people unknowingly take a break and stop eating for a few minutes. What usually happens next is mindless eating. Separate food from technology, don't watch TV, surf the Internet, or read the paper when you eat because it's too easy to become distracted and forget about the food you're eating.
- Grazing. Grazing is the act of eating of food in small portions throughout the day without any regularity. Grazing can contribute to mindless eating; a known source of weight gain and risk factor for obesity, according to a 2005 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. Solution: Your goal should be to establish regularly scheduled meal times, eating approximately every three hours, and stick to it. Eating regularly scheduled meals keeps hormone levels (e.g., ghrelin, leptin, enterostatin, insulin and cholecystokinin) steady and quashes hunger pangs.
- Eating when not truly hungry. If you are an emotional eater and are not truly hungry when eating, or a specific time of day triggers a meal, you will be adding unwanted and unneeded calories to your diet. Eating when you're not truly hungry will add additional calories that eventually turns to weight gain and other associated health problems. Hunger is your body's way of telling you that you need fuel, so when a craving doesn't come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it. Solution: Whenever you feel like eating, look for physical signs of hunger, rather than just eat to eat. Stick with eating just six small meals a day and you should never feel hungry or have the need to additionally eat.
- Making the wrong food choices. Many people make the wrong food choices without even thinking. They grab fast food, or grab a caloric drink full of simple sugars. Fast foods are loaded with fat which add unwanted and unneeded calories to your diet. Drinks full of simple sugars are also not diet friendly. They are not filling, cause energy crashes and cause you to further chase more simple sugars. These types of foods also spike insulin levels which detour weight loss. Solution: be educated with your food and beverage choices.
- Eating too fast. When eating too fast your brain doesn't have time to realize that the stomach is stretching and allowing the body time for the development of satiety [fullness]. A 2006 study reported at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity proved that it takes time for the brain to know that the stomach is full. Solution: Eat slower, give the brain time to catch on. Studies have proved that it does takes longer for satiety signals to reach the brain letting the brain know the stomach is full, it is recommended that you should eat slowly, pausing between bites and chewing each mouthful 15-20 times. Not only you will take in fewer calories you will have a greater feeling of satiety at meal completion and 60 minutes afterward.
- Overeating. Overeating causes many undesirable actions. Overeating causes fluctuations in hormones that make the burning or utilization of fats more difficult. For example, eating a meal high in carbohydrates will cause the release of insulin (a hormone that allows cells to uptake glucose). However, insulin also acts on adipose tissue to inhibit the release of fatty acids and will actually promote their synthesis. Additionally overeating causes the body to store excess calories as fat. Solution: Do not overeat. One way to reduce the chances of overeating is to eat slowly and completely chew your food. Another way is eating five to six small meals a day so that you do not get extremely hungry. When people get very hungry they tend to overeat.
- Eating one large meal and not eating frequent meals. Eating one large meal instead of smaller more frequent meals your metabolic rate will slow down between meals. Eating one large meal also requires a lot of digestive activity, which means your heart has to work harder and your blood sugar and insulin output will go up, this may cause blood pressure to rise . Solution: Eat smaller and more frequent meals every three hours, this will help you to sustain an anabolic metabolim in order to promote weight loss and muscle growth. Eating smaller and more frequent meals, your body will be in a fat burning mode instead of a fat storing mode and increase your metabolism which gives you more energy and helps to promote weight loss.
- Eating in ways that promote fat gain and/or hinder fat loss. In addition to certain individual foods being more "fattening," certain food combinations are twice as disastrous when you're trying to lose body fat. The worst of all possible food combinations is fat combined with sugar, because it elevates your blood levels of fat, and sugar and insulin simultaneously. When you eat fat and simple carbohydrates at the same time, the simple carbs are processed quickly (high glycemic), this promotes an environment where both the fat and the carbohydrates are pushed into fat storage that can slow down your metabolism and causes you to gain weight. Solution: Eat only good fats and complex carbohydrates. Stay away from eating fat and simple carbohydrates altogether and especially when eaten together. A few obvious examples of the fat and processed carb combination to stay clear of include ice cream, doughnuts, peanut butter cups, and fettuccini Alfredo.
- Not adding fiber to your daily diet. If you're not adding fiber to your diet you are missing one of the critical factors in weight loss and general well-being. By not adding fiber to your daily diet you will be missing out on numerous health benefits, including protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, obesity and promoting healthy digestion and bowel regularity. Solution: Add fiber to your diet by eating fiber from good food sources which include beans, lentils, bran, whole-grain cereals, pears, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Another factor, especially when dieting, fiber increases satiety (the feeling of fullness) by adding bulk to foods without additional calories. Most people get only about half of the fiber they need! By increasing your fiber intake, you would see your health improve and also reduce your risk of colon cancer.
- Eating too many high glycemic foods. If you're consuming high Glycemic carbohydrates you will have surges of blood glucose and insulin which create a hormonal environment that is not conducive to weight loss. Foods with a high Glycemic Index can often leave you feeling fatigued and hungry within a short time, which could lead to overeating. Solution: Eat foods with a low Glycemic Index value which slowly releases sugar into the blood, providing you with a steady supply of energy, and leaving you feeling satisfied longer so that you're less likely to snack. Good examples of these types of foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans/legumes.
- Eating too much processed foods. Eating too much processed food will have a devastating effect on our health. Processed food is made from real food that has been put through devitalizing chemical processes and is infused with chemicals and preservatives. Beef jerky, canned tea, jam, hot dogs, and low-fat yogurt with sugar or aspartame are a few examples of processed food. Solution: Eliminate most processed food from your diet, and start to enjoy eating real food. By eliminating most processed foods from your diet, you will be on your way to better health with making an investment in your body's future and ultimately feeling better.
- Eating too much fat free foods and not enough good fats. Eating too much fat free foods and not enough good fats, unless you have been prescribed a therapeutic diet, isn't the way to go. Fat is an important and necessary part of a healthy diet. One of the most important functions of fat is its role in aiding the absorption of fat-soluble Vitamins A, E, D, and K. Eating too much fat free foods your body can't use these vitamins to unlock their health benefits. Not eating enough good fats will leave you lacking in nutrient absorption, nerve transmission and not be able to maintain cell membrane integrity. Solution: Eating small amounts of foods or oils rich in the healthy"good fats" and protein will help you feel full and take your mind off food, ultimately giving you greater control over the amount of calories you eat. Choose the fats you eat wisely, you need 30% of your calories to be from good fat sources to get the benefits of a healthy diet. Fat is critical for body functions, and has an important place in your diet, even when you're watching your weight.
- Not eating enough protein. Not eating enough protein your body will be missing the nutrients needed for muscles, skin, hair and internal organs. Protein travels around the body in blood as hormones, red blood cells and enzymes. Protein is the only food source of nitrogen and is made up of 22 amino acids. Eight of these amino acids are called the essential amino acids, our bodies cannot make them we must get them from our diet. Solution: Eat lean complete or incomplete protein foods that are lower in calories and will help you maintain your weight loss. Complete proteins come from animal products such as chicken, fish and dairy products and they contain all the essential amino acids which are needed to help keep our body fit and healthy. Incomplete proteins are found in plant foods such as grains, nuts, beans and vegetables and provide a limited array of amino acids. Both complete and incomplete proteins are good protein sources, but when eating incomplete proteins you must eat a vast amount to enable you to receive all the protein nutrients that your body requires.
- Not drinking enough water. By not drinking enough water you are missing the single most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development. Not drinking enough water you will not be able to balance of all the body's vital systems, which includes the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and muscles. Water is also the medium for various enzymatic & chemical reactions in the body. Water moves nutrients, hormones, antibodies, and oxygen through the blood stream and lymphatic system. Solution: Drink plenty of water, at least 8 eight once glasses a day (1.9 liters), more if you're active or exercising. Here are just some of the benefits you'll receive by drinking plenty of water: healthier skin, increase in energy, healthier digestive system, reduces fatigue, weight loss, healthier teeth and bones, healthier joints, reduces joint pain, reduces fluid retention, helps build muscle, increases muscle tone, reduces the risk of disease, aids circulation and helps regulate the body's cooling system.
- Not choosing foods that are filling and low calories. By not choosing foods that are filling and low in calories, you will be making the mistake! Eliminating fibrous carbohydrates and other filling low calorie foods from your diet will leave you with an unsatisfied feeling from your meals, which could have devastating effect on your diet. In addition, you will not be meeting all your daily fiber and other nutritional requirements. Solution: Include meals and snacks that are made with whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, fibrous vegetables and oatmeal, as well as legumes, such as lentils and other beans. By adding these fibrous carbohydrates to your diet you will be meeting your daily fiber nutritional needs, feel more satisfied from your meals which in turn will help you increase your dieting success.
- Eating carbohydrates without protein. Eating carbohydrates without protein you will be missing the correct balance of a hormonally balanced diet. You need maintain a steady blood sugar level by eating at the right times and consuming the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat with each meal and snack. Solution: Eat some high-quality protein at every meal/snack and your blood glucose and insulin levels will be more stable and your appetite is minimized compared to a carbohydrates only meals. Adding proteinalong with carbohydrates to meals delays the stomach from emptying and creates a longer-lasting feeling of fullness which is a powerful weapon in weight control. Also eating protein along with carbohydrates will help to preserve muscle mass while encouraging fat burning .
- Reaching for the wrong afternoon snacks. If you're reaching for the wrong afternoon snacks that are not full of complex carbohydrates and protein, and instead reaching for a Red Bull, a soda, or a candy bar for an instant energy rush, you're in for a big let down! Sugary snacks do produce an instant rush and increase in blood sugar, supplying you with more energy. However, this affect is short lived and as your blood sugar levels come back down. The rapid fluctuations in blood sugar will leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic, or even downright irritable and hungry again a mere hour after eating. Solution: Stay away from known tiredness inducers. Try replacing these afternoon snacks with a complex carbohydrate snack or more protein. Taking the time to plan for a healthy afternoon snack is key to your success. Deciding what to eat for your afternoon snack before you feel the need to eat will help keep you on track with choosing healthy foods.
- Reaching for health food that is not "healthy food". Eating health food that you think or have been told is healthy may not be so, and sabotaging your diet. It's easy to believe the printing on the packages, but I'm sorry to tell you that food companies are using all their marketing resources to sway you to buy their product. Solution: Read the label and look for hidden ingredients. Look for hidden fats, sugars, sodium, processed ingredients and processed carbs. Also look at the number of servings and caloric content per serving.
- Eating more food because you are exercising daily. When exercising daily your appetite increases. Rather than take advantage of the calorie deficit to lose weight many people add more calories to their day and justify this because they may have started an exercise routine. Another common mistake related to this blunder is they over estimate the calories they are burning from the exercising and actually ad more calories to their daily diet. Solution: If you are trying to lose weight, maintain a slight calorie deficit and ensure that your calories are coming from the right foods. This would include high quality low fat proteins, low glycemic fibrous carbohydrates, and a small amount of healthy fats. So ditch the extra plate of pasta and go for low fat protein, high fibrous low glycemic carbohydrates like healthy vegetables.
- Reaching for juices and electrolyte replacement drinks. Reaching for sugary juices and electrolyte replacement drinks can completely sabotage your weight loss. Electrolyte replacing drinks such as Gatorade during a workout are only needed when exercising for an hour or more. Solution: Water is the best way to stay hydrated while exercising. For people who need a sugary drink to stay motivated and hydrated during a workout, they are better off reaching for a bottle of flavored water packed with all the flavor and none of the calories.
- Eating protein bars and protein shakes. Many protein bars and protein shakes have too many simple sugars and are packed with too much fat and too many calories. While these may be okay for some people who are into heavy weight lifting and body building, they can be disastrous for the average person's workout. Solution: You can get most of your protein needed from your regular diet of foods such as chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, beans or tofu.
- Restricting carbohydrates to dramatically lose weight. Restricting your carbohydrates to dramatically lose weight, there are several reasons why this is wrong. Carbohydrates are needed as energy sources for the brain and the kidneys. If the body is deprived of carbohydrates, then it will break down the amino acids from protein in order to make glucose for these functions. In addition, some amino acids are only suitable for making ketone bodies and the body will use them accordingly to supplement energy demands in order to free up more glucose molecules for use where they are needed. Alsowith very low carbohydrate diets your body will burn protein for energy, converting muscle tissue into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. Carbohydrates have a protein-sparing effect - they help ensure that you don't burn up muscle for energy. Extremely strict very low carbohydrate diets invariably cause muscle to be lost along with the fat. Additionally if carbohydrates are deprived your energy is limited. If energy is too low adding new muscle becomes limited and ultimately less muscle means less calories burned and a slower metabolism which in the long run will derail a successful weight loss plan. Very low carbohydrate diets can cause your energy levels to crash. Very low carbohydrate diets can cause your energy levels to crash if you cut them too much. You can increase fat loss by restricting carbohydrates, but your energy levels and performance are going to drop. That's why virtually 100% of elite athletes follow moderately high carbohydrate diets (with exception of most bodybuilders). The solution to low carbohydrate diets: The solution to low carbohydrate diets is to have a moderate reduction in carbohydrates instead, this is often all it takes to help to control blood sugar and insulin. It's really just a matter of balancing carbohydrates with protein instead of eating mostly carbohydrates and small amounts of protein. There are three secrets to getting all the benefits of low carbohydrate dieting without all the side effects. The first is carbohydrate tapering, which is the practice of eating more carbohydrates early in the day and fewer later in the day. The second secret is using moderate carbohydrate reductions, not the removal of all carbohydrates. The third is carbohydrate cycling. When combined, the results of these three techniques can increase fat loss beyond your wildest dreams and expectations!
- Having the wrong attitude about exercise. The wrong attitude about exercise is when it's viewed as a punishment, something that cancels out your previous days of over eating. Solution: Exercise should be viewed as a reward not a punishment. Being active is the reward your body deserves for working so hard each day, something that will make you feel good now and will add to your quality of life for years to come.
- Having unrealistic expectations. Having expectations of the perfect set of abs, thin thighs and a perfect sculpted body, for most of us, is unrealistic and just not going to happen. This could be due to genetics, body type or some other factor we can't control. Solution: Have realistic expectations that mean something--losing weight to be healthier and stronger so you can play with your kids, or strengthening your back so you can have a strong core and good posture. Give up on the unrealistic idea of trying to look like someone else. Not everyone can have six-pack abs, and honestly, visible abs have no function other than to look great in bathing suits.
- Expecting immediate weight loss. You are expecting immediate weight loss after a few days of exercise and healthy eating ,but when the scale doesn't move frustration often sets in. Solution: Focus on the immediate benefits of exercise and how you feel while you're working out, instead of focusing on weight loss. Some of these benefits will include feeling more energetic, alert, sleeping better, your body feels stronger and you're less stressed out.
- Not setting realistic deadlines. By not setting realistic deadlines you will not have any measurable time frame in order to measure your weight loss progress. If you don't set realistic deadlines you will have no way to hold yourself accountable and will be doomed to failure. Solution: Set a few realistic deadlines to measure your weight loss progress, but make sure the time line is realistic, as this is critical to achievement. By setting dates in which to measure your weight loss progress, you are making a way to hold yourself accountable. Most people hate deadlines, you may start to dread this one as well, however you will be doing yourself a favor in the long run. Setting deadlines will make sure that you don't start to get lazy and push your weight loss off until 'tomorrow,' but instead make you more likely to keep persisting and going after your dreams.
- Not setting measurable weight loss goals. Not setting reasonable measurable weight loss goals you will fail to lose the weight or get in the shape that you desire. If you don't have a definitive weight loss plan or a way to objectively measure your progress you'll never know whether you've actually reached your goals or not. Solution: Find useful tools that you can use to measure your gains towards your set weight loss goals. The mirror is definitely a useful tool, you can monitor the changes and ultimately see the end result. See how your clothes fit, if your dresses are loose fitting or you have more room around the waste band of your pants, you are making measurable gains. A scale can be a useful tool except if you gain muscle while losing fat the scale may show zero progress, when in fact you are making great progress. The ideal method to measure your progress is body composition testing which can determine how much lean muscle mass you have and your ratio of fat gained and lost.
- Not setting new goals continually. Not setting new goals continually, you will never be able to reach your ultimate weight loss goal. Success is traveling towards set of weight loss goals, not the ultimate goal itself. Solution: As you begin to think about what you want specifically, set small weight loss goals. Write down how much weight you would like to lose the first month and work towards that goal. After reaching that goal write down what you would lose the next month and so on, until you reach your ultimate weight loss goal.
Other Key Weight Loss Blunders
- Not being active and exercising daily. By not being active and exercising daily, you will not be able to burn the enough calories you need to have the weight loss you desire. It takes a deficit or surplus of 3,500 calories to lose or gain a single pound of body fat. By not being active and exercising daily these extra calories will turn into unwanted fat and add on additional body weight (not to mention potential health problems). Solution: Be more active and exercising daily, it helps rev up your metabolism and burn calories. The more calories you burn the more fat you will lose which equals weight loss. Becoming more active also creates a fat burning environment, improves mobility and reduces risk for chronic diseases.
- Not weight training to add muscle. If you're not weight training to add muscle but instead worshiping the almighty scale, this is a huge mistake! The problem with the scale is that it doesn't tell you how much of your weight is fat and how much is muscle. Another problem is that scale weight can fluctuate wildly on a daily basis based on your water levels. This can blur the real weight loss picture. Solution: One key to optimal calorie burn and fat lose is strength training. Muscle tissue requires more energy, otherwise known as calories, than any other tissue in your body. Muscle is active tissue - it is the catalyst for a fast metabolism. By adding muscle to your body your body will burn more calories 24/7; even as you sleep and watch TV. Muscle is your secret weapon in your war against fat!
Bottom Line on Weight Loss
You must give up the entire concept of dieting on very low calories to lose weight. You'll never lose weight permanently with low calorie diets - it's physiologically impossible. Temporary dieting can only produce temporary results. Your first step towards losing fat permanently has more to do with your mindset than it does with nutrition or exercise. You have to change your entire attitude about nutrition and exercise. Instead of adopting the mindset of short-term "diets," you must adopt the mindset of lifelong "habits."
A permanent habit of fat loss can only be achieved by adopting new exercise and nutrition habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life. You may need to make your diet more or less restrictive at certain times, but you always must maintain a baseline of healthy eating habits that never change. Then when you want to lose body fat, all you need to do is simply eat a little bit less of the same foods as you normally would and exercise a lot more. Good nutrition and exercise habits are not easy to form, but once you've formed them, they're just as hard to break as the bad ones and become as effortless and natural as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.