You've started a diet and you are determined to shed those 2020 quarantine pounds.
The pantry has been cleared out of empty calories, your fridge is stocked with leafy greens, and you've broken out the running shoes. Your motivation is high and you're ticking off the days on your dieting journey.
Monday morning rolls around and you hop on the scale to see this week's results and…
What?! You gained half a pound! How could this be?
If this sounds like your weekly routine, you may have stumbled down the path of common diet mistakes. Don't worry, you're not alone.
We're here to unpack five of the most common mistakes dieters encounter and get you back on track to your weight-loss goals.
1. You're Too Focused on the Scale
When starting a diet the best measure of success is the weight on the scale, right? Well, perhaps not.
When it comes to small changes on the scale, there are many manipulating factors beyond actual fat loss. In fact, throughout the day, your weight can fluctuate as much as four pounds.
Now obviously, you aren't actually gaining and losing four pounds of fat per day. Things like hormonal changes, water retention, and even having to go to the bathroom can tip the scale with ease.
We aren't suggesting that you stop weighing yourself altogether, but try not to obsess over this measurement or use it several times a day. Instead, weigh yourself once a week at the same time of the day, wearing the same clothing each time.
Another important factor to consider went the scale isn't moving is the composition of the weight. If you're hitting the gym during your dieting journey, you could be building muscle and shedding fat without seeing the numbers move a whole lot.
Don't forget to pay attention to how your clothes are fitting and your energy levels as these are also great measures of dieting success.
2. You're Looking for a Quick Solution
Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to weight loss.
With so many new publications and ideas to drop weight quickly, the temptation to join the crash dieting crew is increasingly present. The problem with diets like these is that they aren't maintainable.
Shrinking your calorie intake to a less than adequate amount may help you see movement on the scale initially, but before long, hunger sets in, and sticking to these low-calorie trends just isn't realistic.
You may have lost a few pounds while sticking to the plan but after a while, your metabolism will adjust to the lower intake and slow down to conserve energy. Once you increase your consumption again, your metabolism won't be able to keep up and will often see you regaining the weight you lost and then some while your metabolism readjusts.
When it comes to dieting, slow and steady wins the race. Rather than a quick fix, adopt healthy habits that facilitate a lifestyle change. Allow your body to shed fat at a realistic pace and focus on long-term health to keep the weight off.
3. You're Buying Low-Fat or ‘Diet Foods'
Food companies are smart when it comes to marketing. They know just what to put on the wrapper of a processed bar to lead consumers to believe it will help them lose weight. The problem with these weight-loss snacks is that they are designed to make you come back for more.
Packed with sugar and low on fiber, these diet toting foods will actually make you more hungry and feed your body with empty calories.
The same principle applies to low-fat alternatives. When companies remove fat from products like yogurt or milk, they replace the fat with sugar to improve the taste. Once again, you will experience a surge of hunger due to the inevitable sugar crash and end up consuming more calories than the full-fat versions.
It's important to consider the make-up of our foods and balance filling foods like protein and healthy fats with fruits and vegetables and hearty whole grains.
When in doubt, opt for whole foods in their original state over packaged, buzzword filled products.
4. You Aren't Keeping Track
In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. This is not a new concept by any measure. The body needs a source of energy to function and if the source isn't food, it will tap into the glycogen stores for fuel and burn away fat cells.
In order to establish a calorie deficit, you need to measure how many calories you are putting in. Luckily there are a variety of helpful apps to make this process easier.
Tracking food can seem like a huge chore at first but it's often a wake-up call to hidden calories you didn't know you were stacking up your intake with. Items like sauces and condiments are filled with sugar and drive up your calorie count real quick.
You may be surprised to find out just how much your specialty coffee or superfoods juice is packing in the sugar and calories department, Once you start keeping track of these items, you'll likely find that drinking your calories just isn't worth the meal.
Measure out your serving sizes. It's common to over-predict suggested serving sizes and scaling these back to the measured amount could be your solution for kicking those last few pounds to the door.
5. You're Being Too Restrictive
Popular diet trends encourage us to cut out fats, carbs, or dairy when trying to shed weight but eliminating entire food groups will leave you with holes in your nutrition.
It's one thing to ditch foods that you are intolerant to, but living a life without carbs or fats is not only boring, but it's also unhealthy.
Your body needs a range of nutrients to maintain its functions. Cutting out basics like healthy fats can leave you with brittle hair and nails, not to mention, fats can actually help you feel full for longer.
When it comes to carb-free solutions, you miss out on the vital elements that are found in carbs, including fiber and vitamins. The fact is, we need all of these macronutrients to play a part in our diets. Not only do they keep us healthy and well, but they also make diets more manageable and maintainable in the long term.
We all have holes in our nutrition already, we shouldn't be intentionally making them larger. Consider introducing a vitamin supplement into your daily routine to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals you are missing out on in your day to day food choices.
Skip the drastic cuts and develop a balanced diet in a slight calorie deficit to fuel your body with what it needs, and tap into a fat-burning state. Oh, and don't forget the most valuable substance—water!
Break The Common Diet Mistakes Cycle
Now that you know five of the most common diet mistakes and how to avoid them, we are confident that you will be smashing your weight loss goals and developing healthy, maintainable lifestyles to boot.
Ready to develop a healthy routine and start seeing results? Contact us today to discover what's missing from your diet and get on your way to a happier, healthier you!