Summer is sneaking up on us quickly, but if you have struggled to shed those last few pounds from the holidays, it may be time to consider dieting. If you have come to the conclusion that it's time to hit the gym and clean up your diet, it can often be a challenge to decipher between all the choices out there to help get you on track. Beginners and uneducated dieters are more susceptible to extreme diets that are dangerous and detrimental to their health. If you are looking to avoid common pitfalls, then take a look below to learn about the most common nutrition mistakes out there!
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You aren't eating enough. Contrary to popular belief, dieting is all about eating! Trying to starve yourself may result in some short-term weight loss, but it's terrible for you if you are looking to keep off those extra pounds. Make sure that you are eating every three to four hours, even if it's only a small snack. Your metabolism is going to crash if you don't give it enough fuel, which will do nothing for you in terms of weight loss. Instead of eating three large meals a day, try keeping your main meals smaller and insert more snacks throughout your day! At a loss for what to snack on? Check out our 30 favorite healthy snacks by clicking here.
You are eating fake food. We know how tempting a diet soda might sound, but it's time to own up to your decisions! Lots of diets out there are loaded with processed foods like meal replacement shakes or bars, which might be great if you are short on time, but not a solid option if you are trying to eat clean. Next time you reach for a snack, don't rely solely on the calorie count. Try to supplement your diet with nutritious foods like fruit if you're craving something sweet, our Skinny Baked Zucchini Chips to munch on during your favorite show, or a salad loaded with your favorite toppings if you need to stock up on protein for your next workout. Most of the healthier options are just as low calorie, but much more beneficial overall! (via WebMD)
You eat too much of the good stuff. Yes, overeating is still quite possible, even when you are consuming foods that are good for you! Remember that even if you make the healthy swaps like whole wheat bread instead of white, or nuts instead of m&m®s, gorging yourself will still ultimately lead to weight gain! Portion control is everything, so make sure that you are checking out those nutrition labels! Too much of a good thing is still, well, too much!
You don't drink enough water. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Water is absolutely essential to weight loss! Staying hydrated is a key element to any diet, so make sure you get in the habit of drinking at least 64 fluid ounces of water every day. Even though water might not be the most tasty choice, there's a lot of ways you can add a little flavor to your drink!
You aren't getting enough sleep. Believe it or not, the amount of sleep you get every night is incredibly important if you are trying out a new diet. Sleeping less than six hours a night can actually slow your metabolism, which may result in a change in your hormones, and ultimately endanger your attempts at weight loss. Also, studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep eat more than they should: about 500 more calories, in fact! So do yourself a favor and get a restful night's sleep. If you are having trouble falling asleep, check out these 18 things you can do to sleep better at night. (via Health.com)
You can't get enough salad. Supplementing your daily menu with a salad is a great way to keep the calorie count down and pack in some extra veggies, but beware of those constant trips to the salad bar! Salads are generally low in carbohydrates, which serve as the body's energy source. Sure, your dinner might be under 300 calories, but there's a good chance you are going to crash pretty hard. In order to load up your body with the fuel it needs to get you through the day, try adding a hearty dose of protein or healthy carbohydrates like garbanzo beans, quinoa, or chicken to your salad. (via Health.com)
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You don't keep track of what you eat. We're not saying that you need to write down everything you eat, but being aware of how much you eat every day will help you regulate your caloric intake and help you stay on track. Calories accumulate surprisingly quickly, especially when you are snacking at your desk at work, or nibbling on a small treat while you catch up on your favorite show. Make sure you are only eating when you are hungry, and not whenever you get some downtime. You might also try keeping a food diary for the first couple weeks, just so you become accustomed to what your daily needs look like! (via WebMD)
You eat out... a lot. Sure, restaurants are now cranking out their new "healthy" menus left and right, but when you're on a diet it is time to hit the kitchen! Restaurants rely heavily on creating succulent, mouthwatering meals to impress their customer, and healthy living is rarely their ultimate goal. Cooking clean in your own home is the only way to really know what goes into your food, so try to stay in whenever you can! If you do go out, try to split a meal with a family member, or snag a to-go box for half of your meal. (via Health.com)
Maneuvering through the obstacles of dieting can be difficult, especially for inexperienced or first-time dieters. Remember to take it one day at a time, and cut yourself some slack! You're not just getting used to a new hairstyle; this is a completely different lifestyle that you are learning to embrace! Make sure to check out our sources for more helpful tips: WebMD, Health.com, Prevention.com