People take the first step of vowing to eat well, but the problem after that is that they don’t learn from their mistakes and within a month or so, they return to their poor eating habits. Here are seven of the most common diet mistakes…
1. Not eating enough protein during breakfast
You decide to eat healthy and choose a bowl of cereal with non-fat milk and a banana. An hour later, you start complaining of hunger pangs. The protein from milk is not going to keep you full until lunchtime. So, add a healthy fat to the cereal mix, like slivered almonds, or consume a little extra protein — like a hard-boiled egg. It can make a big difference in your satiety level.
2. Having a snack
Most nutritionists recommend a mid-morning snack if it’s going to be more than four hours between breakfast and lunch. But often, people misjudge the size of their snack and create another meal. Remember, a snack is a mini-meal, and it ought to be less than 200 calories. Plus, it should contain protein, healthy fat or both. If you aren’t really hungry, there’s probably no need for a snack at all.
3. Eating a salad for lunch
Dieters often boast of eating salads for lunch, assuming that they are following the number one weight-loss rule. But some salads are healthy, and some are not-so-healthy. Croutons, bacon bits, lots of cheese and a creamy dressing could lead to a diet disaster. And too much chicken, avocado and olive oil can push it over the edge.
4. Keeping carb off your dinner plate
Believe it or not, you can lose weight and enjoy carbs at dinner. Many people think that adding protein is better than adding carbs. However, this doesn’t always work out well. For example, a plain 225-gm chicken breast has around 375 calories, but if you were to eat a 113-gms serving and add a half cup of brown rice, you would save about 78 calories. Besides saving calories, you’ll also be getting fibre, which overall aids weight loss.
5. Avoiding ‘bad’ foods
Ask yourself: What do you love to eat? It’s important to continue to eat what you really love. Whenever someone completely avoids the foods they love, they inevitably feel deprived and give up on healthy eating. The key is to find a way to keep favourites in the mix without sabotaging weight-loss goals. For example, occasionally have a slice of pizza for lunch with a side salad, so that you don’t wind up wanting to sit down for an entire pie.
6. Not counting calories from alcohol
You would think this would be a no-brainer, but a lot of people sabotage their weight-loss efforts by consuming cocktails. You don’t have to completely avoid them, but you certainly need to watch the size of your weekday pour. For example, a 118 ml glass of wine has fewer calories than a 355 ml glass.
7. Trying the next fad diet
If you hear about a diet that promises you quick weight loss, run. If you hear about a diet that eliminates food groups, run faster. And if you think trying yet another diet instead of attempting to make lifestyle changes is the answer, think again.