If your favorite pair of
jeans won't fit, the scale seems stuck, or your weight drops off only to
bounce back up, there's a chance you could be making one of these 11
weight loss blunders.
Relying on Crash Diets
Determined to lose 10 pounds fast, you
turn to a crash diet. Perhaps your plan calls for nothing but
grapefruit or cabbage soup each day. You slash your daily calories to
fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you
eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the
diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you
usually regain the weight.
Skipping breakfast seems like a simple way
to cut calories, but it can make you hungry the rest of the day. This
may lead to unplanned snacking at work and eating a supersized portion
at lunch, making calorie counts soar. But breakfasts that are high in
protein and fiber can curb hunger throughout the day. In fact, studies
show people who eat breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain a
Losing Track of Your Snacks
Maybe you count calories at every
meal, but what about all those nibbles in between? There's the bag of
pretzels at your desk, the little slice of cake at a party, the taste of
your son's ice cream cone. All of this mindless munching adds up and
could sabotage an otherwise well-planned diet. If you're serious about
counting calories, you may want to use your smartphone or a notebook to
keep track of each bite.
Not Snacking at All
While mindless snacking can pad your waistline, thoughtful
snacking may do just the opposite. People who eat several small meals
and snacks a day are more likely to control hunger and lose weight.
Snacking helps keep your metabolism in high gear, especially if the
snacks are protein-rich. Having a few nuts is a good, high-protein
choice, and research suggests people who snack on nuts tend to be
slimmer than those who don't.
Loading Up on Low-Fat
Low-fat products can play an important
role in your diet. Just remember that low-fat isn't the same as
low-calorie, and it's not a license to take second and third helpings.
If you pile your plate with low-fat cake, you may end up eating more
calories than if you had a smaller slice of regular cake. The best way
to know how much fat, sugar, and calories you're getting is to check the
Sipping Too Many Calories
When counting calories, many of us
tend to overlook what's in our drinks. This is a big mistake when you
consider that some fancy coffees and alcoholic beverages have more than
500 calories. Even the calories in fruit juice and soda can add up
quickly. What's worse is that liquid calories don't curb hunger. You're
not going to eat any less after a high-calorie drink.
Drinking Too Little Water
This is one of the simplest diet
blunders to fix. Water is essential for burning calories. If you let
yourself get dehydrated, your metabolism drags, and that means slower
weight loss. Research suggests adults who drink eight or more glasses of
water per day burn more calories than those who drink less. So try
adding a glass of water to every meal and snack.
Full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream are taboo
for many dieters, but ditching dairy foods may be counterproductive.
Some research suggests the body burns more fat when it gets enough
calcium and produces more fat when it's calcium-deprived. Calcium
supplements do not appear to yield the same benefits, so dairy may have
other things going for it, too. Stick to nonfat or low-fat dairy
Taking the Drive-Thru Bait
The drive-thru is convenient after
a hectic day, and you can always order the salad or other healthier
option. But once you're there, can you resist that milkshake or other
treat? And if you allow yourself the ease of fast food once, it could
become a habit. According to one long-term study, people who ate fast
food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who had it
less than once a week.