In Common Diet Mistakes – Part 2, we covered the problem with setting unrealistic weight loss expectations; overestimating the calories burned when you exercise; the importance of eating enough protein; that making one bad eating decision doesn’t mean abandoning all efforts; and finally, watching out for saboteurs – those well meaning people who talk you out of your efforts to change.
This is the third, and last post in this series of common diet mistakes.
As much as I’m a proponent of incorporating more plant based foods into your diet, I will caution you on salads, or eating only raw vegetables like carrots sticks and celery.
Lettuce based, tossed green salads with vinaigrette or carrots and celery are chock full of nutrients and fiber, but not much carbohydrates. In order to feel full longer, you’ll need to eat a MASSIVE portion. Don’t despair, there’s an easy fix. Add some lentils, or chickpeas, or some rice. Essentially, you’re adding some carbohydrates. This small addition will nourish you AND keep you going.
A word of caution for the toss everything into a salad. It will also be full of nutrients but will likely be high in calories and salt. Be careful when selecting a salad that it’s not overloaded with the extras.
For example, if you ordered McDonald’s Greek-ing Out Salad With Crispy Chicken the nutrient breakdown in the 294 g serving is:
21 g Fat
39 g Carbohydrates
27 g Protein
790 mg Salt
Compare this to a Quarter Pounder without cheese.
20 g Fat
39 g Carbohydrates
24 g Protein
680 mg Salt
I’m not in any way bashing McDonald’s. I simply use this example because they are very helpful in listing the nutritional information on their website. A green salad is fantastic – as long as you pair it with enough carbohydrates to keep you going.
Ah! What hasn’t been said about stress? Up until fairly recently, stress was a good thing. You got a sudden dose of adrenaline when faced with danger. It was designed to keep us from harm. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “fight or flight”. Unfortunately, our bodies simply don’t understand constant low level stress. This is why many people “stress eat” energy dense, salty or sweet foods. They don’t realize that their bodies are expecting to have to either fight off a threat or run away from it and are loading on the extra calories as needed fuel. When neither actually happens, the extra energy isn’t used but gets stored as fat.
It’s critical to find a few minutes to decompress in whatever manner works best for you. This may be as simple as a taking a few deep breaths, going for a five minute walk, attending a yoga session, or meditating. Do whatever is necessary to take your body out of stress mode.
Have you noticed that some people actually brag about how little sleep they’re getting? It’s worn like a badge of honour. Then they shame people who actually get a full night’s sleep.
Put all that to rest (pun intended). Lack of sleep directly impacts your health by slowing down your metabolism and causing hormonal changes. Feeling tired is a cue to the brain that either sustenance or rest is needed. When you feel tired early in the day, your body thinks you need food. This means that you’re likely to overeat resulting in weight gain.
Allow yourself the 6 to 8 hours of sleep needed to rest and recover.
Low Fat Products
What has the manufacturer done TO the food that you’re eating in order to make it “low fat” and for you to actually want to eat it? The problem with most of these is the trade-off of fat versus taste. To make these products taste better, sugar is added. Unfortunately, a lot of these low fat products may not satisfy you leaving you hungry and searching for more food. Less fat does NOT guarantee fewer calories.
Have you noticed that before low fat products came onto the market, the bulk of the population was thin? Enough said.
Going It Alone
Here’s the biggest diet mistake; trying to do it alone. Without any accountability, it’s easy to fall for all the hype and the next shiny new diet, to talk yourself out of the lifestyle changes you’re trying to make.
First, pick a diet that’s right for you. Then, enlist a buddy or join a group with the same goal as yours. It’s been proven time and again that when there’s someone else involved, you’re likelier to succeed because you have support and you’re accountable. There’s someone to keep you on track; who will encourage you in good times and bad.
There you have it. Five common diet mistakes were covered here and in If your diets fail, you’re probably making these common mistakes and in Common Diet Mistakes – Part 2. Have you made any of these? Perhaps you’ve made other diet mistakes. I’d love for you to share so please leave a comment.
If you decide to make a lifestyle change that leads to greater health, you may want to join my 6-week program Ditch THAT Diet. It’s brand new and different from anything you may have tried before. My approach not only addresses food and exercise but incorporates stress relief techniques and brain reboot exercises to get you through the daily grind.
Click here to find out more.
I’d love to hear about your experiences and how you handled them. Please feel free to comment below or to send your story to [email protected] .
All the best,