When it comes to following a healthy diet plan, pitfalls are waiting for the newbie and the experienced healthy eater alike, especially if you don’t have the time to research what you hear on the news. Eating right is a lifelong commitment.
Here are eight diet missteps anyone can make…
- One food solves all – a promise that eating a single food (watermelon, cabbage soup, grapefruit) can help you drop weight. Not so. Extreme short-term diets set you up to fail… to be super hungry and then binge. Cutting out entire food groups also leaves you open to nutritional shortfalls, unpleasant side effects, not to mention boredom. You’re going to start craving the foods you’re leaving out. If it sounds too good to become true, it truly is. Weight loss of a half to a pound a week, by eating a well-rounded diet, is what you’re after.
- Misguided vegetarianism – more than 7 million people in the U.S. follow a diet that can be considered vegetarian. Some love animals too much, others are seeking a healthier lifestyle, and a balanced vegetarian diet has been associated with lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. But vegetarian isn’t always low fat or low calorie and you could end up taking in more calories if you’re eating carbs or starch-rich foods like cheese, pasta, and smoothies. You want to make veggies the centerpiece of each meal, add whole grains, fruit, and other non-meat foods like beans, nuts, and tofu as side dishes.
- Too Much Of A Superfood – things that the latest research touts as beneficial like chocolate, red wine, olive oil, avocados, and nuts need to be added to your diet with care and moderation. While these foods or others to be named later, do have health benefits, they generally have a downside too. Add the latest new “superfood” to your diet in moderation… as a single part of your overall healthy eating strategy.
- Snubbing Bad Foods – carbs are just one of the foods that have been demonized, but if you take them out of your diet, you could pay a nutritional price. The U.S. government’s food pyramid calls for half of your grains being whole grain. You don’t want to cut carbs or other such foods entirely from your diet. Remember, balance is key.
- Staying Fat-Free – we’ve all seen the labels with “low fat” and “fat-free”, but fat is no longer considered a dietary bad guy. Experts tell us that fats are good for us, and are needed by the body, a component of every cell we have. Fat helps you stay full, and too little has your blood sugar fluctuating and hunger returning sooner. Healthy fats are the key, unsaturated fats from plants are best and remember, not too much.
- Diet As Punishment – how often do you punish yourself for putting on a few pounds after a vacation or the holidays by denying ourselves sweets, fats, and just about any food or drink you, love. Trouble is, cutting out these favorites just sets you up to fail… if you’re hungry and deprived all the time, you’re more likely to binge. Your best bet is not to give up your favorite foods in a fit of self-denial, but eat them in moderation and controlled portions. Try to combine treats with healthy foods – chocolate and fruits for instance.
- Grazing – another new diet trend is eating six small snacks instead of the traditional three meals a day. While grazing does have advantages in terms of keeping blood sugar stable and your appetite under control, you make it much more likely that you’ll consume too many calories for the day. To avoid this, eat the mini-meals on at least a two to three-hour schedule, and limit them to 200-300 calories each.
- Unsustainable Approach To Weight Loss – your approach to eating healthy has to be done in a way that’s going to last… that you can do over the long haul, or the pounds are going to keep coming back. Find a way of eating that suits the way you live… and ask yourself when you consider a diet if you can eat this way for the rest of your life. If you can’t, look for another diet.
Your best bet when it comes to following a healthy diet plan is to make small changes… add fresh fruits and veggies to meals for a while. Also, be sure you start your day by eating a healthy breakfast. Once you’re eating better you’ll have the energy (and desire) to get more active – aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day – and then you’ll drop the pounds and keep them off!