Are you dieting and exercising, but not losing weight? In all probability, it could be due to some common diet mistakes that are sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
For one, it’s more likely that even when you’re “on a diet,” in reality you may be eating much more calories than what you have in mind or planned for. Number 2, many times there is a disconnect between what we know we should eat to lose weight, and what we actually do while trying to diet.
If you are just embarking on your weight loss journey, to start with don’t jump upon dieting immediately. Instead, review those of your everyday habits that could be causing weight gain. Chasing fad diets or rigorous diet plans can lead to an obsession with food, jack-up cravings, and result in to a “throw-in-the-towel-because-diets-don’t-work” state of mind.
Most people fail to comprehend just how fast calories can accumulate. Just an extra tablespoon of salad dressing can increase your calories intake by 75-100, an extra tablespoon of butter by 102 calories, and that innocent looking 1-ounce bag of chips by 150 calories.
Eating while you are cooking, starting each day with a high-calorie coffee drink, finishing off the kids’ plates at dinner, or having too many glasses of after-work wine — these are just a few of the sneaky diet mistakes that can subvert weight loss efforts.
As fast as the calories can add up, so they can be trimmed too. Become conscious of the common dieting pitfalls – that is the unassuming ways via which the calories creep into your diet defeating your weight loss endeavor.
Time to get some down-to-earth advice from people who committed these mistakes, but were wise enough to learn soon the tricks to get rid of them!
We spent our days sifting through the latest research and asking the people who have done it – all about their diet experiences. At the end of the day, though, peeling off the pounds is just as challenging for you as it is for anyone else.
These 6 diet mistakes aren’t always easy to shake off, but they must be dislodged if you want to succeed!
Diet Mistake No. 1: Hurrying to the Finish
You are not going to get any reward for finishing your meal in record time. Because of these days hectic schedules we tend to get into the unhealthy habit of hasty eating.
To quote Tara Gidus, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association:
“We need to adopt more of the leisurely, European-style eating so that we can savor our food, taste every bite, and get the signal of fullness before overeating.”
Diet Mistake No. 2: Skipping Meals
Studies have found that people who skip breakfast tend to gain weight rather than losing weight. It’s a myth that skipping breakfast — or for that matter any meal – cut down your calories intake. On the other hand, reality is the people who eat fewer than three meals generally tend to eat more calories during the course of the day, so end up gaining weight.
Aim for three meals a day. Always begin your day with a healthy breakfast (http://justfitnesshub.com/list-of-healthy-breakfast-foods-on-the-go/), but take care to choose wisely. A healthy breakfast should include both protein and fiber. A breakfast comprising of an egg, a piece of whole-wheat toast, and half a grapefruit contains only 250 calories, and moreover will keep you feeling full until lunch.
To quote Joanne Lichten, PhD, RD, a nutrition consultant and the author of Dining Lean: “Even a low-fat muffin can have as many as 400 calories and 5 grams fat.”
Diet Mistake No. 3: Not Watching Liquid Calories
Liquid calories from alcohol, smoothies, coffee with cream and sugar, sweetened juices, teas, and sodas can really jeopardize your weight loss aim. One recent study found that Americans get as much as approximately 20% of their calories from beverages.
According to Gidus, when you drink beverages, you don’t take care to counterbalance by eating less as most beverages quench thirst and don’t reduce hunger.
Instead of having calorie-packed beverages, consider having water, club soda, skim milk, vegetable juices, and small portions of 100% fruit juice. For those who drink alcohol, they should do so in moderation, and select lighter drink options.
When you’re on a weight loss journey, remember to watch your drink and its serving size. Here are some calorie counts for common beverages. The exact numbers may vary between brands.
(i) Soda: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 124-189
(ii) Diet soda: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 0-7
(iii) Bottled sweet tea: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 129-143
(ii) Unsweetened tea: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 4
(iii) Orange juice, unsweetened: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 157-168
(iv) Apple juice, unsweetened: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 169-175
(v) Tomato/vegetable juice: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 80
(vi) Whole milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 220
(vii) 2% low-fat milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 183
1% low-fat milk
(viii) Nonfat (skim) milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 125
(ix) Coffee, black: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 0-4
(x) Coffee with cream (2 tablespoons half-and-half): Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 39-43
(xi) Coffee with heavy whipping cream (2 tablespoons): Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 104-108
(xii) Latte (espresso coffee) with whole milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 122
(xiii) Latte (espresso coffee) with 2% milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 101
(xiv) Latte (espresso coffee) with skim (fat-free) milk: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 69
(xv) Sports drink: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 94
(xvi) Energy drink: Serving: 1 can (8.3 ounces) = Calories: 105-112
(xvii) Beer, regular: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 155
(xviii) Beer, light: Serving: 12 ounces = Calories: 104
(xix) Red wine: Serving: 5 ounces = Calories: 125
(xx) White wine: Serving: 5 ounces = Calories: 122
(xxi) Hard liquor (vodka, rum, whiskey, gin; 80 proof): Serving: 1.5 ounces = Calories: 96
Diet Mistake No. 4: Oversized Portions
Are you used to fill your plate with large portions? People tend to eat more than what they actually need. The nature has provided us with an accurate healthy portion measure: our hands! Proteins, such as meat or fish, should be the size of your palm, a single serving of carbohydrates is one handful, and vegetables and salads should fit into two closely cupped hands. If these portions look small, try chewing your food slower – you might be surprised at what amount actually fills you up when you give your brain and stomach enough time to sync up and register that you’re full.
Here are few tricks to help you control your portions:
(i) Leave a few bites on your plate.
(ii) Use smaller plates and bowls.
Diet Mistake No. 5: Choosing Unhealthy Add-Ons
Sometimes it’s not what we eat that causes weight gain – but what we add to our food. We have a tendency to top off our “diet” salads and other favorite foods with high-fat toppings, like bacon, cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings. For example, no one will argue that a bowl of spinach is healthy, low calorie side dish that’s loaded with antioxidants. On the other hand, spinach morphs into a diet-unfriendly dish when we douse it in butter, serve it on creamed or add unhealthy sauces. And then the samples we munch on at the grocery store, it’s easy to forget these are not “free” calories. They add up! These add-ons in fact sabotage your weight loss endeavor.
To quote Lichten: “ At fast-food restaurants, grilled chicken and salads are not always better than a burger. It all depends on the size and the toppings.”
For example, the Burger King Tendergrill sandwich with honey mustard dressing has 470 calories while their Whopper Jr., with mustard instead of mayo, has only 290 calories. At McDonald’s, the Caesar salad with crispy chicken and creamy dressing totals 520 calories, while a Quarter Pounder weighs in at 410 calories.
Diet Mistake No. 6: Mindless Eating
Ever eat a whole bag of chips when you’re not even hungry? If so, count yourself among the millions who are victims of “Mindless eating (Eating amnesia)”. That’s the phrase coined by Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, PhD, to describe subconscious eating habits that can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
“Eating amnesia” is the act of unknowingly putting hand to mouth, usually from a bag or box in front of the television, while reading a book. It can also happen at happy hour, or when you finish the last few bites on your child’s plate.
To quote Gidus: “Resist the temptation to clean yours or anyone else’s plate. Think about your waistline instead of the food waste.”
Just think about the calories in small portions of some of your favorite snacks, and imagine how rapidly they can add up when portions are repeated:
(i) 12 peanut M&Ms: 125 calories
(ii) 1 ounce of French fries: 88 calories
(iii) 15 tortilla chips: 142 calories
(iv) 20 potato chips: 162 calories
(v) 1.5 donut holes: 100 calories
(vi) 3 Oreo cookies: 160 calories
(vii) 3 Hershey kisses: 75 calories
To combat mindless eating, here are some effective tips:
(i) Since people eat more off of large plates, serve meals on salad plates rather than large dinner plates.
(ii) Keep counters clear of all foods but the healthy ones.
(iii) Don’t eat in front of the TV, where you’re likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
(iv) Never eat directly from a package – always portion food out onto a dish. If you want a snack, portion it out of the bag or container.
(v) Avoid the habit of always eating something while you are sitting and relaxing. Try a cup of tea, glass of water, or chew a piece of sugarless gum.
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