You pinch your belly as you look in the mirror. You’ve been putting on quite a few pounds lately. Time to hit the gym and go on a diet.
Making little lifestyle choices to better yourself is good as long as you don’t make any mistakes with dieting. Believe it or not, it’s easy to hurt yourself if you fall into the common dieting beliefs that have been around for years.
You may not even see the proper results if you’re not careful, which can be discouraging, to say the least. We can help you stay on track with your diet. Check out this guide for a list of traps that you should avoid.
1. Setting Yourself Up for Failure
Many people set themselves up for failure before even starting a diet. The first trap that’s easy to fall into is setting unrealistic goals. If you try to lose 20 pounds a few weeks into your diet, you’ll be disappointed when you look at the scale.
Disappointment leads to giving up and falling back into your old eating habits. Set realistic goals and if you don’t know what those goals are, an experienced dietitian can help you.
Another trap you may fall into is negative thinking. There will come a time when you’re craving your favorite dessert. Instead of hating your diet because it won’t allow you to have it, let your mind wander to all the new, tasty meals you get to try.
2. Paying Too Much Attention to the Scale
The thing about weight is it fluctuates. If you spend all your time checking the scale, it will drive you insane. If you have any food in your system, that will reflect on the scale.
If you’re on your menstrual cycle, that will cause you to retain water, which will also show up on the scale. If you’ve been losing fat but gaining muscle through exercise, you won’t see the scale budge that much. You know you’ve been losing your tummy because your clothes feel looser but the scale says otherwise.
Instead of going by what the scale tells you, use a measuring tape to record your progress. Take pictures with your phone so you can see how far you come as the months go on.
3. Cutting Fats Out of Your Life
Back in the ’80s, everyone was told that fat equals bad when it comes to dieting. This mindset has continued on with many diet fads today. The thing is, fat has never been the culprit.
It’s sugar. If you pour white sugar in your coffee and drink a bunch of sodas, you will gain weight at an alarming rate. Healthy fats can actually help you keep the weight off.
The monosaturated fats that are found in things such as peanut butter do a great job of making you feel full. This will keep cravings at bay so you don’t consume as much at one time.
Monosaturated fats can also lower your cholesterol and give you a boost of nutrients that you need to function. So, don’t be afraid of fats.
4. Telling Yourself That You’re Dieting
You never want to slip into the dieting mindset. What we mean by that is, you don’t want to ever tell yourself that you’re dieting. It sets a goal in mind.
“Once you finish your diet, you’ll be able to eat whatever you want again”. It won’t take long for you to gain back the weight that you lost and then some. It’s better to just make a few little lifestyle changes and keep up with them for the long haul.
5. Going Light on Breakfast
Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason. You should avoid eating a light meal and heading off to work.
For one, you won’t have the energy to make till lunch. For two, skipping or going light on breakfast won’t do your diet any favors. It slows down your metabolism and causes hormonal changes that will put a plug on weight loss.
You’ll also be more likely to overeat during lunch because your body is going to be craving food. Besides, the oats and nuts found in most breakfast foods contain valuable nutrients for your body.
So, to keep your metabolism in good working order, go big on breakfast. Cannabis can also stimulate your metabolism and aid in weight loss. You’ll need to use a decarb machine to get the most out of it though.
6. Exercising Too Much or Not Enough
Changing your diet and coming up with a healthy daily meal plan will help you shed pounds but you need to exercise too. You see, as you lose weight, you’ll drop muscle mass as well. To stop that from happening, you’ll need to incorporate some aerobic activity.
Working on your muscles will prevent you from losing too much lean mass and increase the amount of fat that you lose. It will also keep your metabolism going strong. You can have too much of a good thing though.
If you try to force yourself to lose too many calories through exercise, you’ll only end up hurting yourself. All you need to do is go for a run or lift weights a couple of times a week to see the results you’re looking for.
7. Cutting Out Carbs Completely
Another common diet misconception is that all carbs are evil and should be avoided at all costs. It is true that white bread, pasta, and sugars will cause you to put on weight but not all carbs are bad.
Complex carbs can actually help you lose weight. If you don’t have enough of them, you won’t have the energy to hit the gym or even get through your day.
There are many types of diets that call for you to cut out almost all carbs but if you do that, you’re only going to crave them more. Carbs also contain fiber, which is good for your body.
8. Dieting by Yourself
Most people find a workout buddy before committing to going to the gym on a normal basis. It gives you someone that can keep you on track. They’ll call you out if you miss a day and motivate you to go on days when you would rather not.
This same concept can be applied to dieting. Try to find a friend who is also trying to lose weight and go on a diet together. They can stop you from having cheat days and vice versa. Everything feels less daunting when you have another person to tackle it with you.
If you can’t find an irl friend who is willing to diet with you, head online. You can meet people who have the same weight loss goals as you and help each other out.
9. You Don’t Practice Proper Portion Control
Fruits and vegetables are good for you but you’ll be defeating the purpose if you eat a whole container of strawberries in a single sitting. No matter how healthy a food is, overeating is still overeating.
You’ve got to practice proper portion control. For the most part, you can eat whatever you want when you’re on a diet. As long as you don’t get the biggest serving available, it won’t hurt you too much.
There are tons of little tricks that can help you with this. For example, use smaller plates and bowls when you eat.
The way your brain sees it, you ate an entire plate of food. Even if the plate is small, you’ll trick your body into thinking you’ve had a large meal.
When you’re snacking, always pour it into a bowl. Don’t eat straight out of the container or you’ll lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
10. Eating Foods with “Low Fat” or “Diet” On the Label
Just because something says “low fat” on the label, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. In fact, many of these foods are pumped full of processed ingredients and sugars to make them taste good. This makes them much worse for you than their counterparts.
Eating “low-fat” foods will actually make you crave their counterparts more. This means you’ll stuff yourself with the low-fat versions to compensate and at that point, you’re overeating. You might as well get regular old Greek yogurt instead of reaching for the non-fat.
Don’t Make These Common Mistakes with Dieting
Going on a diet is a great way to better yourself and increase your self-esteem. It can also hurt you if you make some of these common mistakes with dieting.
If you’re not careful, you’ll end up feeling like you’re going nowhere and stop your diet before you even begin. You need a little bit of all food groups coupled with regular exercise to see results. Check out the health section of our blog to learn how you can have a perfect balance.