Starting a diet can be an extremely daunting task, and many people never figure out where to start. However, even those who deem themselves dieting experts often make some common mistakes that will prevent weight loss, muscle gain and reduce the health benefits of a diet.
- Crash dieting
This new diet trend is not only dangerous, but also incredibly ineffective. For those unfamiliar with a crash diet, it is essentially a diet that involves slashing one's daily calorie intake below 1000 calories (this is less than half of an average person's recommended calorie intake). This may seem like a good idea at first. If you take in less calories, you will probably lose weight. Most crash diets do lead to significant weight loss initially, but that weight loss won't last for long.
Crash diets lead to the body burning calories at a much slower rate than normal since there are so many less calories being taken in. This slower metabolism means that once you start eating normally again, you will gain weight even faster and end up heavier in the long run. Instead of slashing your calorie intake, you can try counting your calories and lowering your daily intake by 100 or 200 calories from your normal recommended intake. Keep in mind that dieting involves much more than pure calorie intake. It's better to eat more healthier foods than to just eat less unhealthy foods.
- Skipping Meals
When someone is trying to cut calories, they often think it is a good idea to eat two meals instead of three. Unfortunately this never really works and can actually lead to weight gain. Say for example you choose to skip lunch every day in order to reduce your calorie intake. That means you will be going close to 7 or 8 hours every day without eating anything substantial. Just because you skip a meal doesn't mean you won't get hungry. In fact, it will likely cause you to become hungrier than normal. This will either cause you to snack more often during the day or consume even more calories during your two meals. The best strategy for reducing calories is not to skip meals, but to eat even more of them! The idea is that by eating 5 or 6 small meals a day, you will eat less because you won't be tempted to snack or supersize your meals.
- Ignoring your Water Consumption
One of the biggest mistakes when creating a diet is to ignore what you are drinking. Many people will count calories and weigh the pros and cons of every food they put in their body, but think nothing of the coffee, soda, and juice they are drinking every day. In many cases, these persons will drink almost anything but water. This is a huge mistake! Consuming water is extremely important for those on a diet who are looking to lose weight. Water is essential in maintaining a quick metabolism and burning calories fast. Getting dehydrated can have the opposite effect, as the metabolism will begin to slow and burn calories much slower. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water every time you eat. You also shouldn't get crazy with your caffeine intake, as caffeine will often lead to a greater chance of dehydration.
- Eating Processed and Pre-Packaged Foods
One of the biggest obstacles in maintaining a proper diet is avoiding processed and pre-packaged food. Processing different types of foods will just sap all the nutrients and other important vitamins from it and replace those with preservatives that have little to no nutritional value. Some companies will tell you that there packaged foods are low fat, low carb, or free of preservatives. However, assuming that the packaged food isn’t filled with unhealthy preservatives, these types of "healthy" processed foods will never satisfy your hunger and leave you wanting more. Instead of snacking on processed and package foods, take a peek at some of our healthy snack ideas on our site that you can make from the comfort of your own home!
- Overdoing the Condiments and Dressings
One of the biggest rookie mistakes when dieting is to drown healthy foods in different types of fatty dressings and condiments. It should come as no surprise that doing this will not result in any sort of weight loss. So often dieters complain that they are eating nothing but salads and still gaining weight. Many of them are shocked to learn that the ranch and thousand island dressing they've been eating makes the salad have more calories than a regular restaurant meal. The same can be said for putting ketchup, mustard, and mayo on different types of meats and sandwiches. Foregoing condiments and dressings is normally the way to go, but it is understandable to not find the taste of raw lettuce appealing. Balsamic vinaigrettes, "light" dressings, and fat free dressings are your best bet of reducing the calories coming from your dressing. You can even make your own healthy dressing by mixing some olive oil, lemon juice, and honey.
Following a proper diet can be hard enough as it is. Don't waste all of that progress by falling into one of these bad habits. There are no shortcuts in dieting. Just make sure to keep track of what you are putting in your body and you should be well on your way to maintaining your health goals. If starting a diet seems too overwhelming, or if you find yourself falling into one of the mistakes above all too often, try ordering something from our menu. Our dishes are healthy affordable, and will help you keep your hunger under control. Be sure to check out the rest of our site to see some healthy recipe ideas, dieting tips, and of course some delectable dishes for you to try.