Those who know me know that I’m not a fan of fad diets for the simple fact that they aren’t sustainable.
They usually require very low calorie consumption and exclude one or more macro-nutrients, which offer incomplete nutrition and temporary results.
While not everyone follows these fad diets, there are other common “diet” mistakes that aren’t as obvious that can also ruin your efforts.
Diet Mistake #1: Not enough sleep
If you’re ravenous all day and can’t seem to control your hunger cravings, then tiredness could be the reason.
Research shows that lack of sleep raises the levels of ghrelin, an appetite-boosting hormone that increases your cravings especially for sweet and salty foods.
Regain control by getting to bed on time (i.e. between 10pm & 10:30pm) and sleeping at least seven to nine hours per night.
Diet Mistake #2: Eating the WRONG Breakfast
For years, breakfast has been touted as the most important meal of the day – unless of course you’re eating the wrong foods!
If breakfast includes a bowl of cereal or a croissant or some choice of bread with jam and juice, then you’re better off without it.
Many well-known cereal brands including those marketed as “healthy” are refined and processed, and have almost as much sugar as a can of soda.
If you insist on having cereal and you’re not gluten intolerant, then make your own muesli mix with loose oat flakes, nuts, raisins or fresh berries, and some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
The best option is to eat “living” foods – things that don’t come from a package or have labels.
Include some protein, fresh fruit and veggies which offer much more nutrition and can help with weight loss like eggs, green vegetables juices, smoothies, avocadoes, and fresh fruit.
You can also turn conventional thinking on its head by having your lunch and dinner leftovers for breakfast instead – one of my personal favorites.
Diet Mistake #3: Drinking Diet Drinks
Diet drinks might seem like the perfect solution for eliminating liquid calories from your diet but when you look at the literature, diet drinks have been repeatedly shown to correlate with weight gain and increased incidence of metabolic syndrome – a combination of high triglycerides, belly fat, insulin resistance, and obesity.
Putting aside weight for a second, safety is my biggest concern.
Although studies and reviews are mixed, no one can argue with the fact that artificial sweeteners are essentially fake and un-natural synthetic chemicals that are foreign to our bodies.
It just makes sense not to drink it – scientifically proven or not.
And if it’s too plain for your taste, then add a few slices of fresh fruit, veggies or lemon and mint to add a bit flavor without the added chemicals and sugar.
If the fizz is what you’re after, then soda water can help wean yourself off of diet drinks. Just beware of the high sodium content.
Diet Mistake #4: Low Fat Snacks
For the most part, the low-fat diet craze of the eighties and nineties is over, but there are still many people who fear fat and choose fat-free or low-fat snack options.
Rice cakes, low fat chips, pretzels, low fat ice cream, light cookies etc., might seem like suitable snack option for dieters, but they are refined and void of nutrients which will spike your blood sugar levels, leave you unsatisfied and full of cravings.
Read my “5 Healthy Foods that Make you Fat” for more examples.
Forget the low-fat mantra and grab a handful of raw nuts instead.
These are loaded with healthy fats, protein, fiber, and a ton of nutrients. Whole food snacks like fruits and veggies are naturally low in fat and are also much better alternatives to low fat man-made products.
The same goes for dairy.
Choose full fat dairy (non-homogenized & non-pasteurized is best) instead of low fat or fat free varieties because we need the fat to absorb the calcium and fat-soluble vitamins A and D.
Diet Mistake #5: Too Much Dairy
I’ve come across this problem time and time again with clients and also with myself at one point.
While dairy is a good source of protein, it may restrict fat loss in some people.
The reasons are unclear, but one theory is that the lactose sugar present in dairy can have the same effect as any other simple sugar on your insulin levels thereby placing your body into a “fat storage” mode.
If you rely on dairy products as your main source of protein throughout the day and are finding it difficult to shed body fat despite your best efforts, then eating too much dairy could be the reason.
Reduce your dairy intake to one serving per day and replace your other meals with animal and vegetarian protein sources instead.
B’s Bottom Line:
Dieters typically concern themselves with calories but that thinking needs to change.
The focus needs to be on real foods made in nature; foods that you can pick from a tree, pull from the ground, fish from the sea and raise on green land.
These are the foods that will free you from the diet enigma once and for all.
What diet struggles are you facing and what else would you add to this list? Leave me a comment below.
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