Whether you are a young athlete or a mom it is easy to get caught up in all of the diet myths that travel the internet. Changing your lifestyle, or dietary habits, can be very difficult even when you know that what you are doing isn’t going to help you reach your goals. The following are nine common mistakes that I see when people come to me claiming they can’t lose weight or drop body fat.
- Following fad “diets” – People have become great at marketing diet products that cost a lot of money but do not do anything. Companies have convinced people that you have to buy their shakes and supplements in order to be healthy. This is not true. No matter what these companies promise, it is not safe to lose 20 pounds in a week. Go back to the basics, think logically, don’t overeat and make sure to incorporate training.
- Panicking over less-than-perfect meals – It is okay to go out to eat with your friends/family. It is ok to eat a snack. It is okay to overindulge every now and then. Let it go and get back on track. Follow the 80/20 rule and you will get great results. 80% of the time eat clean, healthy, proper portions and 20% of the time eat whatever you want. You will find you get better results this way than stressing out trying to be perfect all the time.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is filled with empty calories that don’t do anything good for us. Not only are you consuming pointless calories through your beverage but alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes it more likely you will eat poorly. Even something as simple as a glass of wine at dinner will increase your caloric intake, disrupt sleep and make you dehydrated. If you are serious about your health than consider substituting the booze.
- Skipping meals – Eating less does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. Starving yourself will trigger a physiological response in your body to slow down your metabolism and hold on to whatever nutrients are available. Make sure you are eating consistently throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if you are eating three or six meals as long as you are getting the proper nutrients at each meal so that your body can function at optimum levels.
- Forgetting to train – Dieting alone will not help you reach your goals and will not make you the healthiest you can be. A proper training plan incorporating a combination of cardiovascular and strength training will help you achieve maximal results.
- Not eating enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains – If you are trying to lose weight you should be eating lots of fruits and vegetables because they are low in calories and high in nutrients such as fiber. Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains more often will help you feel fuller, lower cholesterol and keep your digestion on track.
- Cutting out food groups – I hear people all the time saying that they aren’t eating carbohydrates or they aren’t eating dairy products. Cutting out food groups will only hurt you. Balance every meal with healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein and water for a healthy, effective weight loss program. Cutting foods will only lead to non-stop cravings and eventual overeating.
- Not getting enough sleep – People who sleep an average of 8 hours or more a night are thinner and healthier than those who get less than 8 hours of sleep. People who are sleep deprived tend to have less control over their appetite. Sleep deprivation also causes the body to lose the ability to control glucose levels. Higher glucose levels lead to an increase in insulin production, which can lead to weight gain. Allow your body to recover and rejuvenate through sleep.
- Traveling without a plan – Traveling can derail a healthy diet. Restaurants, fast food, snacks and airports can all be detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. When you travel make sure to pack healthy snacks so you won’t get caught eating high calorie alternatives.