Are You Making These Diet Mistakes?
With the New Year quickly approaching most of us are starting to think of how we want to improve our lives for 2020 and weight loss is typically high on the list. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves back to our same old diet and exercise habits by March. This can be largely blamed on a few common diet mistakes we are making.
Extremely Low Calories
This approach is very common among dieters and will inevitably fail and may lead to regaining the weight lost because of its unsustainability. The reason this diet isn’t sustainable is obvious, we need calories, but the reason for gaining the weight back is a little more complex; metabolism.
Every person has a unique metabolism, referring to the number of calories their individual’s bodies burn at rest. If you drop significantly below this number, you will lose weight temporarily but will incidentally retrain your body to require less calories. For example, a person who burns 2000 calories a day at rest lowers their calorie intake to 1200 a day will lose weight initially. When they begin eating the 2000+ calories a day once the diet fails their body will be more apt to store the excess 800+ calories as fat. This is a result of inadvertently lowering their metabolism.
Non-Sustainable Fad Diets
Without naming specific diets there might be red flags to look out for when choosing a diet for your weight loss goals. We’ve discussed in detail why extremely low-calorie diets may be labeled as red flag, but there are a few others to note.
- Reduced Food Groups – These are typically extremely low carbohydrate diets.
- Significant Weight Loss Promises – A diet that promises that you will lose more than 2-3 pounds a week, like claiming to drop 10+ pounds within days, should raise a red flag. These diets may be likely based on significant calorie and food group reduction or non-sustainable supplements.
- Substitutes Meals for Liquid – This approach may be effective for some, but it may not be sustainable for everyone. Complete nutrition is important and you run the risk of missing some essential nutrients with shakes or liquid diets.
- No Exercise Required – Any diet that promises weight loss without exercise is not sustainable and doesn’t have your overall health in mind.
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Lack of Nutrition Knowledge
With the growth of resources available at our fingertips it is common to get bad information, especially in the nutrition realm. Educating yourself with false information is a major diet mistake. This bad information circulating often leads to a lack of adequate knowledge to make healthy choices.
Something like reading a nutrition label and knowing what to look for seems minor, but it makes a big difference in achieving your weight loss goals. With the food industry becoming increasingly more marketed the information provided by manufacturers cannot always be trusted. A food that states it is low in fat or organic doesn’t mean it is necessarily healthy.* A few things to look for on nutrition labels include:
- Sugar Content – Added sugar can sneak in to healthy foods as a way of improving taste when fat has been removed. It is preferable to not eat foods with any added sugar.* This may be especially true with foods like flavored yogurt.
- Enriched Flour – This form of flour has been processed in such a way that it might be highly inflammatory in the body and quickly becomes sugar and inevitably stored as fat.* Even breads or carb-based foods like pasta that claim to be whole wheat may be made from enriched flour. If this word is listed in the ingredients list it is best to put it back on the shelf.
If You Insist
Not all Fad Diets are unhealthy or unsustainable. Some people will use a Fad Diet to help jump start their health or weight loss goals. If Fad Diets are your preference and you insist on following one it is best to research and find one that is healthy and won’t lead to weight gain the moment you stop the diet.
Some of the better Fad Diets to follow include:
- Intermittent Fasting – This approach to dieting has become more well-known over the past few years. Intermittent Fasting has the science and proof of effectiveness to back it up. There are four primary forms of intermittent fasting to choose from; fasting alternate days, 16 hour fasts, 24 hour fasts, and fasting just a couple of days a week. This approach may have benefits beyond weight loss.
- Mediterranean Diet – This is more of an eating pattern than a diet. It is highly sustainable and focuses on healthy fats, whole grains, reduced red meat, and heavy fruits and vegetable consumption. This eating pattern may be a great option for improved overall health.*
- Candida Diet – This diet is designed to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates, sugar, and inflammatory foods you consume to increase gut health and may reduce Candida overgrowth. While this diet isn’t necessarily for weight loss, it has some principles that can lead to weight loss along with other areas of improved health.*
- Whole 30 – This is an elimination diet that requires dieters to remove all allergens or potential food allergens from their diet for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce. Again, this diet isn’t designed for weight loss, but to determine any food sensitivities. However, food sensitivities that go unaddressed can lead to inflammation and weight gain in the body, along with other health concerns.*
Foods that provide vitamin D include: fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon.
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It is best to follow a balanced diet that focuses on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean and plant-based proteins, and low-fat dairy if necessary.* Diets don’t have to be difficult as long as you are educating yourself through reputable sources. Remember, weight loss isn’t the overall goal, your lasting health is what should be most important.