by Elizabeth Walker
In the last forty years, America’s obesity rate has almost doubled. Calories are starting to kill more people than cigarettes. And for many, they’re just as difficult to cut back on.
The good news is that if you’re worried about your weight, dieting doesn’t need to be torture. It is possible to lose weight and still have a life. It’s all about knowing what not to do.
Here are eight of the most common dieting mistakes. Avoid them and you might just find that dropping a few pounds isn’t as difficult as it seems.
Cutting out Meals
Weight loss depends upon the number of calories that you consume, not how many meals you eat. And skipping meals has two major disadvantages. First off, your metabolism will slow down and secondly you’ll be unnecessarily hungry throughout the day.
The smart way to diet is to eat more meals, not less. Divide your daily calorie intake into six small portions. Doing so will boost your metabolism and allow you to fight hunger more effectively.
Trying to Eliminate Fat
Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t the enemy when it comes to weight loss. In fact, including some fats in your diet can actually help you to lose weight.
When deciding what to buy at the supermarket ignore the “low fat” labels and focus exclusively on the nutritional information. The only thing that you should be worrying about is calorie content.
Worrying About Carbohydrates
Thanks to the popularity of low carb dieting, quite a few people have gotten it into their heads that carbohydrates can make them fat. This is actually completely untrue. Low carb diets work by draining the water from your body. Low calorie diets work by burning fat.
If you’re on one diet, you don’t need to worry about the other. In other words, if you’re watching your calorie consumption, eat as many carbohydrates as you want.
Drinking Too Much
Dieting doesn’t just mean that you watch what you eat, it also means that you watch what you drink. A calorie is a calorie regardless of where it comes from. And three beers has almost as many calories as a Big Mac.
While you certainly don’t need to go tea total to lose weight, you can’t start throwing back drinks with immunity either. When calculating your daily calorie intake, don’t forget to include the calories that you drink.
Eating too Much Health Food
Another source of calories that many dieters don’t worry about is health food. Just because something is healthy, that doesn’t mean that you can eat an endless supply of it.
Calories in health food are just as fattening as calories found anywhere else. And you might be surprised to learn just how many calories can be found in apparently “healthy” choices.
Giving Up Your Favourite Foods
If you want to lose weight in the long term, giving up your favourite foods is not the way to go. Eventually, you’re going to give into the craving. The smart way to diet is to allow all foods in moderation.
Don’t be afraid to eat a fattening meal once or twice per week. You might find that allowing yourself the odd indulgence is the very thing that helps you to stick to your diet in the long term.
Forgetting to Exercise
The weight loss equation of a low calorie diet is incredibly simple; burn more calories than you consume. Unfortunately, if you’re not exercising on a regular basis, balancing that equation in your favour can become incredibly difficult.
Exercise comes in a wide variety of shapes and forms. If you don’t want to join a gym, alternatives include walking, cycling, swimming and organized sports.
Expecting too Much
Finally, there’s the small matter of your expectations. There’s no faster way to lose motivation for a diet than to set your goals too high. Be realistic, aim to lose approximately two pounds per week.
Try to lose more than that and you’re more likely to end up disappointed than skinny. The more realistic your goals, the more likely you are to stick to your diet in the long term. And it’s long term dieting that leads to long term weight loss.