Roughly 70% of us could stand to lose some weight. Some people need to only lose a few kilos, others may have years of work to do in order to get into a range of healthy weight. But as we all know, the chances of long-term success aren’t very good. With some help from Web MD and Dr. Michael W. Smith, let’s take a look at 10 things NOT to do in order to better your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.
1. Relying on Crash Diets: Determined to lose 7 kilos fast, you turn to a crash diet. Perhaps your plan calls for nothing but grapefruit or cabbage soup each day. You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you will regain the weight.
2. Skipping breakfast: It seems like a simple way to cut calories, but it can make you hungry the rest of the day. This may lead to unplanned snacking at work and eating a supersized portion at lunch, making calorie counts soar. But breakfasts that are high in protein and fiber can curb hunger throughout the day. In fact, studies show people who eat breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
3. Losing Track of Your Snacks: Maybe you count calories at every meal, but what about all those nibbles in between? There’s the bag of pretzels at your desk, the little slice of cake at a party, the taste of your son’s ice cream cone. All of this mindless munching adds up and could sabotage an otherwise well-planned diet. If you’re serious about counting calories, you may want to use a notebook or food tracker to record each bite.
4. Not Snacking at All: While mindless snacking can pad your waistline, thoughtful snacking may do just the opposite. People who eat several small meals and snacks a day are more likely to control hunger and lose weight. Snacking helps keep your metabolism in high gear, especially if the snacks are protein-rich. Having a few nuts is a good, high-protein choice, and research suggests people who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those who don’t. Just keep it to a few.
5. Loading Up on Low-Fat: Low-fat products can play an important role in your diet. Just remember that low-fat isn’t the same as low-calorie, and it’s not a license to take second and third helpings. If you pile your plate with low-fat cake, you may end up eating more calories than if you had a smaller slice of regular cake. The best way to know how much fat, sugar, and calories you’re getting is to check the nutritional label.
6. Sipping Too Many Calories: When counting calories, many of us tend to overlook what’s in our drinks. This is a big mistake when you consider that some fancy coffees and alcoholic beverages have more than 500 calories. Even the calories in fruit juice and soda can add up quickly. What’s worse is that liquid calories don’t curb hunger. You’re not going to eat any less after a high-calorie drink.
7. Drinking Too Little Water: This is one of the simplest diet mistakes to fix. Water is essential for burning calories. If you let yourself get dehydrated, your metabolism drags, and that means slower weight loss. So try adding a glass of water to every meal and snack.
8. Ditching Dairy: Full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream are taboo for many dieters, but ditching dairy foods may be counterproductive. Some research suggests the body burns more fat when it gets enough calcium and produces more fat when it’s calcium-deprived. Calcium supplements do not appear to yield the same benefits, so dairy may have other things going for it, too. Stick to low-fat dairy options.
9. Going Fast-Food Too Often: The fast food restaurant is convenient after a hectic day, and you can always order the salad or other healthier option. But once you’re there, can you resist that milkshake or other treat? And if you allow yourself the ease of fast food once, it could become a habit. According to one long-term study, people who ate fast-food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had it less than once a week.
10. Setting Unrealistic Goals: Telling yourself you’ll lose 9 kilograms your first week is probably setting yourself up for failure. If you know you won’t be able to do it, you may never start your diet in the first place. If you diet and lose 5 pounds in a week, instead of celebrating, you may feel discouraged that you didn’t reach your goal. A realistic goal is vital to successful dieting. If you’re not sure what your goal should be, talk to a dietitian.
This all reminds me of a weight loss client a few years ago, Netanel. He was an avid exerciser and was trying to lose weight but no matter what he tried, he was unsuccessful. He tried eating healthy salads as much as possible, but somehow he just couldn’t lose weight and keep it off. He came to us and then after sitting with our dietician a few times, the weight began coming off steadily. He lost 15 kilo in about 4.5 months and he kept telling me that he couldn’t believe that he was never hungry during that period of time. We implemented new behaviors to counteract a lot of the poor habits that fit into these 10 no-no’s that we have mentioned. And that’s all it took for success.
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how to eat in order to lose weight and try many things that are guaranteed to fail. The most important aspect is understanding portion sizes and not to try diets! The failure rate on the long-term? 97%! Avoid the 10 most common mistakes dieters make and see a good dietician in order to learn how to eat right because eating right will lead to weight loss and that will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”