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10 Common Mistakes People Make When Dieting

Updated 4 months ago on April 3, 2020
By Lifehack Lane
Shutterstock/margouillat photo

Dieting is a subject that has long been debated, with many experts keen to adopt their new-found studies into practice and proclaim their effectiveness when in reality losing weight comes down to two simple lifestyle changes: burn more calories than you take in, and eat less and exercise more. 

But as with anything in life, people often get even the simplest of tasks wrong, so to help you on your way to the figure you've always wanted we've compiled 10 common mistakes every dieter makes.

Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

1. Showing too much love for protein

Eating lean proteins, whether it be grilled fish or lean beef often leads dieters to believe they can eat as much as they like as they have substituted carbs when in reality eating too much of it can result in weight gain due to the high amount of excess fats being stored in the body.

Registered dietitian and nutritionist Felicia D.Stoler confirmed this and stated that even "high-protein shakes and bars tend to be sugary and fatty." 

2. Not including vegetables with meals

"Never skip your vegetables" are probably words your mother told you nearly every day of your childhood yet even when we morph into adults, it appears such dietary guidances are lost on most dieters.

So it's simple: incorporate veggies into your diet, no matter what kind of foods your diet is telling you to stick to. Add them to all meals. Even a sliced tomato on a whole grain piece of toast can make a difference. After all, they're rich in protein, contain a multitude of healthy fats, and fill you up without containing a ton of calories.

3. Drinking too much juice

While fresh fruit juices are rich in vitamin C, there is little else going for them, with the natural sugars alone enough to cause significant damage to your weight goals, as well as your teeth. 

What's more, American physician and obesity specialist Louis Aronne says, "Most juice raises blood sugar, so your body produces more insulin. You'll get hungry and overeat later."

4. Exercising loads and then binging after

While many people might tell you this has worked for them, there are those who believe such extremes don't work, especially if one's metabolism is quite slow.

For instance, a study in Marketing Letters found that participants who were informed that the study's 1-mile walk was for exercise ate twice as much after as those who were told it was for leisure, meaning that dieters who exercise can often pile on more pounds because of the belief that exercise alone is enough to kerb their weight when in reality, it takes work at both ends to succeed.

5. Consuming low-fat and “diet” foods

Contrary to popular belief, diet foods are packed full of artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and flavors.

What's more, by consuming foods for dietary purposes, you are putting stuff that has been heavily tampered with into your system because such foods are often loaded with sugar to improve their taste. 

Worst of all, the foods rarely keep you full, meaning you are more likely to cheat and end up eating more than you should when in reality, all that's needed is a well-balanced diet rich in proteins and vegetables.

6. Not eating enough fiber

There's a reason many runway models eat loads of apples: they're packed full of fiber, all kinds of which speed up the metabolism because the body cannot digest fiber. And even though the body tries to, by eating a variety of fruit and vegetables your body expends more calories than it would on any dieting foods and those low in carbs.

One type of fiber, however, that seems to be most effective is one known as viscous fiber which according to one study, helps reduce appetites by creating a gel that holds water before circulating your body to trick it into thinking it's full.

7. Giving up early because of unrealistic expectations

Like with any goal in life, seeing it come to fruition takes time and thus a lot of self-discipline and patience, which isn't something many people have in a modern-day world that has become accustomed to most forms of instant gratification.

Take dieting as an example. After a few weeks, or perhaps even a month of sticking to a plan, most won't have seen the desired results and will instead shower themselves in self-pity before reverting to their old ways not because they haven't tried hard enough but because their expectations going into the diet were unrealistic. 

To make sure this doesn't happen to you, set a realistic and modest target for weight loss and build on it gradually. That way, you won't be continually disappointed.

8. Not reading labels properly

Everyone is privy to this, even people with halos hovering above their heads (Gwyneth *cough* Paltrow) because dieting isn't fun, and it takes a lot of extra time spent analysing every ingredient to get it rightfully which is why many people who diet don't actually do it right as they buy foods that proclaim to be healthy without checking the nutritional labels on the back.

After all, there's a reason many are hidden away in small print at the back: few people notice. So make sure you don't fall privy to sneaking marketing ploys.

9. Not keeping records of your food intake

It may sound somewhat obvious, but those who don't maintain a register of their dietary intake typically go wayward- even if they think they are abiding by dieting practices readily synonymous with weight loss.

However, you may still not be getting the right amount of fibers, carbs, and fats to support a healthy weight loss.

One study even went as far to suggest that those who kept a record of their diets were more likely to lose weight as it increased their accountability and thereby made them more determined.

10. Always opting for salads 

It is widely known that the salad dressing in a McDonald's dressing is just as rich in calories as a Big Mac, and that fact alone is just one of the many reasons why salads aren't always the slim-fasting foods they claim they are.

Of course, a McDonald's salad isn't the best example, but most, no matter how top-of-the-range they are, fail to contain enough carbohydrates to control those all-important hunger hormones which is why it's often better to opt for a bowl of soup or a lightly filled sandwich instead.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to be a substitute or replacement for any medical treatment. Please seek the advice of a healthcare professional for your specific health concerns. Individual results may vary.

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