Diets, diets, diets. There are so many of them circulating the internet, fitness magazines and social media, and yet most of them only end in absolute frustration and sincere bewilderment as to why the diet isn’t working. After the frustration and bewilderment comes the heartbreaking sense of failure and the mindset that since diets don’t work, there’s no point in trying. If this is you, we want you to stop right there and hold on a second so you can ask yourself this: have you been dieting or have you been trying to change your lifestyle?
A lot of the times, the way you’re looking or viewing your “diet” or weight loss journey has a lot to do with your success or your failure. It could be as simple as focusing on a fad diet instead of actually analyzing the habits in your life that is causing the weight gain. It may even be that you’ve become so obsessed with your diet plan that you’re putting up your own road blocks to success. Or maybe it’s that you’ve deprived yourself so much that the cravings are spiraling out of control. Whatever it is, there are tons of mistakes that we make that not only delay us from reaching our goals, but sabotage it all together. Wondering what these pitfalls are? Read on to find out and see if you’re making any of these common mistakes.
Skipping on a Meal
Are you the type of person that skips a meal? Whether you’re skipping a meal because you think it will reduce your caloric intake for the day or because you simply don’t have time for the meal, it’s time to stop. Skipping a meal (or meals) is a sure-fire way to derail your fitness journey. There’s a scientific and a simple explanation to this. If you want to take the scientific approach to it, an empty stomach releases a hormone called ghrelin, which actually triggers cravings. It’s basically your stomach sending out an SOS to your brain that it’s empty and in need of refueling. If you want the simple explanation, it’s this: skipping a meal will make you so hungry that when you finally have a meal, you’re almost guaranteed to over eat. This is especially true for people who skip breakfast. A study conducted in the past shows that those who skip breakfast are more likely to be more overweight than people who eat breakfast regularly.
Drinking Your Calories Away
Liquids aren’t just sneaky, they’re down right traitors. Liquids like smoothies, milky coffee, alcohol, juices and sodas can tack on quite the calorie count for the unsuspecting dieter. By the time we step back on the scale, we’re hit with a freight train of bewilderment at either losing no weight or gaining even more weight. Since liquids satisfy thirst rather than hunger, we don’t really think of having to compensate for that bottle of orange juice we had for breakfast or that soda we drank during our afternoon break. When you’re trying to lose weight, the best way to avoid the trap of hidden calories is to stick to water. Not only is water completely free of calories, it also helps us feel fuller longer. If you’re the type of person that simply can’t live without a beverage other than water, try drinking your coffee black, drinking club soda instead of sugar-laden colas or vegetable juice instead of fruit juices.
Going Crazy with Add-Ons and Condiments
Allow us to set up a scene for you. You’re in the kitchen, preparing your lunch for the day and have decided on a menu of salad and grilled chicken. You’ve got a container full of leafy green veg, then top it off with bacon, croutons, cheese, and pack a few tablespoons of your favorite ranch or thousand island dressing. You grill up two chicken breasts and bring along some honey mustard and ketchup for extra while you’re at it. At first glance, this might be the perfect healthy lunch to keep you on track for your desired weight loss, but at the end of the day, you’re consuming way more calories than you intended due to all the unnecessary add-ons and condiments you’ve added to your meal. For example, a tablespoon of ketchup has 19 calories while a tablespoon of mustard has only 3. Similarly, ranch dressing packs a whopping 145 calories per 30 grams while a simple balsamic vinaigrette will usually have less than half that as long as it’s low in oil.
Eating Large Portions
Just because you’re eating “healthier” food doesn’t mean that you can go crazy with your portions. Regardless of what kind of food you’re eating, portions will always matter. As the saying goes, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”, and this certainly applies to food as well. When on a diet, it’s still necessary to portion out your food into appropriate serving sizes. One of the best ways to eat small servings while still making yourself feel like you’re eating a lot is to use smaller plates. The visual of a full plate does wonders and many have reported feeling fuller than they usually do when using larger plates. Don’t forget to check your portions with measuring cups and reviewing how much a serving of a particular food actually is.
Rushing the Process
We’re not sure where this whole concept of setting a deadline for weight loss came from, but if there’s one thing that we can tell you with certainty, it’s that rushing your weight loss process is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. When you’re racing to the finish line of a diet, you might be successful, but you also run a high risk of two different results. The first is that you could be under nourishing yourself, which will lead to other health complications, or you could reach a point where you are depriving yourself so much that you end up binge eating or falling off the program all together. Don’t be foolish enough to assume that you’re the person that will succeed even when you’re rushing. It’s this type of pride that has spelled disaster for many individuals.