Running a weight loss clinic has taught us much about the way people diet. We know what works and what doesn’t. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see and the first habits that we encourage people to change.
1. Counting calories – Much more importat than the amount of calories you eat is the type of calories. Calories are used to measure how much energy a serving of food will provide, but it is important to remember that not all calories are equal. For example, you may find that the calorie content of your chicken salad is equal to the amount in the small chocolate bar in your pocket – but it goes without saying that the first meal is the healthier! Think quality, not quantity.
2. Eating too much fruit – Fruit is lovely! It’s a really easy, tasty way of getting nutrition into our bodies. Unfortunately, it’s also full of natural sugars that while tasty, can be detrimental to weight loss if eaten in excess. When getting rid of unhealthy snacks, don’t replace them all with fruit. Dieters who do may find themselves bloated, windy and prone to IBS type symptoms. Look to vegetables for your 5 a day and choose protein based snacks, nuts and raw veggies.
3. Going hungry – Eating less does not mean you will lose more weight. What is does mean is that your blood sugar levels will drop each time you deny yourself a meal. Blood sugar drops will have you searching for sugary snacks or refined carbohydrates because these foods provide your body with quick release energy. Going hungry will make you miserable, your diet hard to stick to and your body very confused. Eat regulary, but eat healthy.
4. Buying low fat ready meals – Fat constitutes much of the flavour within our food and when companies remove it, they also remove the taste! Since nobody wants to buy tasteless food, common practice is to put the flavour back in using sugar. Sugar is the dieters enemy – providing a quick fix to cravings but resulting in more hunger, craving cycles and weight gain. Enjoy fresh foods and consume fats in their natural state but in moderation.
5. Fad diets – If the latest diet you are looking at involves complex regimes, forbidden foods, calculating points, or anything else that sounds like hard work – don’t do it. Even if you stick to it and you reach your target weight, it is unlikely you will maintain that kind of regime for the rest of your life. Dieting is not a temporary thing, it is exactly what it says it is – Your diet. It is the food you eat every day and it should make you happy. Choosing a long term healthy living plan that suits your needs is the best way to ensure that you will lose weight, keep the weight off and stay healthy.