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Top 10 biggest mistakes dieters make

If you want to change the way you look and feel, here are 10 things not to do.

1. Eat too little or infrequently. Keep moods and energy up, hunger satisfied and metabolism in high gear by eating three meals and two to three snacks a day. Don’t skip breakfast!

2. Eliminate all fruits. Extremely low-carb diets that forbid fruit are punishing and invite cheating. Eat moderate portions of fiber — and nutrient-rich strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, grapefruit or peaches.

3. Eliminate fats. The 12-week Harvard School of Public Health study and others prove that low-fat diets result in weight gain. To lose weight, you need to increase your consumption of good fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats).

4. Get snacks out of your kitchen. Wrong! Replace commercial baked goods, candy, chips, crackers, cookies and pretzels with healthy snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, cheese, celery, nuts, sugar-free gum, homemade “slow-carb” bars and muffins, protein shakes, cucumbers, yogurt and sugar-free Jell-O.

5. Splurge away from home. Your healthy eating program is a way of life. Try to stick to your new behaviors and habits everywhere you eat — at restaurants, friends’ homes and while traveling.

6. Consume lots of artificially-sweetened foods and beverages. Artificial sweeteners can trigger cravings for additional sweets in some people. Others gain “false fat” or bloating caused by the body’s inability to digest sugar substitutes.

7. Count calories. Hormone (insulin) levels, not calories, are what determine your metabolism, or rate at which you burn fat. Eat balanced meals to keep your insulin balanced and your metabolism working efficiently.

8. Eat lots of commercial low-carb products. Buyer beware! Many companies have jumped on the “low-carb” bandwagon with high-calorie, low-nutrition snack foods that will not help you change your eating habits or lose weight.

9. Adopt a rigorous exercise routine. Exercise is important, but daily activity that you enjoy and can sustain over a lifetime is more important. The name of the weight-loss game is adopting habits that become second nature.

10. Load up on protein, eliminate carbs. Protein-loading has high health risks, and radical high protein, low-carb diets can’t be sustained long term. Switch to a balanced diet that features healthy amounts of protein balanced with high-quality carbs.

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