These will prevent you from losing weight and maintaining your weight
#1 Externally cued eating. Eating lunch because it is noon versus listening to your internal hunger cues can lead to over eating. Focus on learning your individual hunger scale. “0” = starving to the point of low blood sugar symptoms. “10” = painfully full. Focus on trying to start a meal or snack at “3” = physically hungry and finishing a meal or snack at “7” physically satisfied.
#2 Meal skipping. Research shows skipping meals (even meals that are too low in calories at the beginning of the day) promotes overeating at the next meal and increases the likelihood of choosing more unhealthy options. If your energy intake is mismatched to your overall energy expenditure, particularly matching the highest intake around when you are most active, it prevents weight loss. You do not “save” calories by skipping meals. Usually you just end up eating more than you normally would at the next meal.
#3 Focusing on the number alone. Just focusing on counting calories, fat grams, or grams of sugar will not teach you how to eat for lifelong success. Eventually the number becomes too important. Without learning how to eat healthy you will return to old habits and most likely to regain the weight that was lost. In addition, using the scale as your sole focus for improvement will destroy your diet. If you feel better, do not step on the scale and have just a number destroy all your efforts that have made you feel better!
#4 Elimination of a whole food group or specific food avoidance. I don’t eat _______. If avoiding foods or food groups is not for a medical reason then typically it becomes too difficult to maintain. It usually results in a binge on the foods you have been avoiding. The other concern in elimination diets is overcompensating for total calories in other ways.
#5 All or nothing approach to eating (exercising, etc). Sticking to a meal plan that doesn’t adapt and fit to your lifestyle typically results in guilt if you consume a food that you have deemed “bad”. Stress is a major contributor to prevention of weight loss. If you are consistently guilty because you consumed “bad” foods, then it can cause disordered eating patterns. There are no bad foods! Everything in moderation.
#6 Lack of satiating foods (protein, fiber, and fat). When changing your eating patterns you want to be successful and not starve all the time. Protein, fiber, and fat are your 3 key nutrients to help keep you satisfied. Include a lean protein, fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and/or heart healthy fats in your meals and snacks.
#7 Under consuming. For the amount of exercise/activity. What? You mean that eating less and exercising more isn’t the whole answer? Correct! Be sure to time your fuel around when you are most active. And, reverse do not head for a protein shake, sports drink, or nutrition bar if you had a 30 minute moderate workout.
#8 Too much of a good thing. Nuts, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, dark chocolate, etc. are all healthy foods but pack a good nutrient and caloric density for their serving. Even “healthy” food needs portion awareness.
#9 Following the diet trend du jour. Avoid trying the next fad that comes across your path. There may be a few good tips to incorporate from the trend but make sure it fits into your schedule, food preferences, and has long-term success. Trying to fit yourself into someone else’s idea of eating most likely will not work for you. Avoid feeling like a failure by not starting and learn how to eat for you!
#10 Diets with an expiration date. Just sticking to a plan for a couple days, weeks or months will only result in short-term results. Small steps that can build on each other and learning how to eat, is the recipe for not only losing weight but maintaining your weight.
Avoiding these diet destroyers may allow you to
- Lose weight
- Sleep better
- Build lean muscle
- Increase metabolism
- Increase energy
- Prevent chronic disease
- Boost your mood
- Increase effectiveness of workout