This week's post come from Heather Mason, MS, RDN. Check out her blog The Nutty Nutritionist where she posts healthy and delicious recipes and clears up food and nutrition questions.
Whether your goal is weight loss, weight maintenance or preventing disease, you may fall victim to one of these common dieting mistakes.
1. You eat (too) perfect before 6 PM. You had your protein shake at breakfast and your green salad for lunch. Now it’s dinner time, you’re starving, and you want to eat everything in sight. Of course you are starving, the day is almost over and you have only consumed 500 calories. Ideally, you want to spread out your calories evenly throughout the day. People that eat lightly during the day tend to go crazy in the evening. Aim for balance in your meals. A healthy breakfast and lunch should include foods from at least 3 different food groups. Instead of just oatmeal (1 food group) try oatmeal with berries, walnuts, and milk (4 food groups – much more balanced). Some research even suggests that making lunch the largest meal of the day, instead of dinner, may aid weight loss.
2. The “organic” halo. If something is labeled organic it is automatically good for you, right Food Babe? Wrong. Organic packaged snack foods might be better for the environment, but in most cases they are not better for your waistline. Did you know that organic Oreos were a real thing? Due to the low demand, they didn’t last very long. If you prefer to buy organic food you definitely should, but don’t blindly consume large amounts of cookies or other “snacks” just because they are organic.
3. Not eating enough fruits and veggies. Diet fads come and go, but one recommendation that is here to stay is fruits and vegetables. They offer fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals which can not be replaced with a vitamin, supplement or veggie powder. You can call powders “whole foods” but they are not the same thing as eating fruits or vegetables. What happens if you take a carrot and blend it. Does it turn into powder? Nope. To find out how many fruits and veggies you should be eating check out this CDC calculator.
4. Taking the weekends off. You should take the weekends off from your job, not your diet. Sure you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends. But make an effort to not stuff yourself to the brim (with food or drinks). Simply eating mindfully when you are enjoying good food can be enough to not wreck your hard work during the week. If the weekends are a problem for you, consider weighing yourself Friday mornings and Monday mornings. If you see that number routinely creeping up on Monday try changing your weekend routine to include more exercise and healthier food choices. A great resource for finding healthy restaurant food is Healthy Dining Finder.
5. Fearing fat. Eating a lot of fat doesn’t make us fat. Eating too many calories does – whether it comes from protein, carbohydrates or fat. Fat has a satiating effect that carbohydrates don’t provide, therefore eating a small amount of fat with most meals is a good idea. Fat also helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Many times fat-free or reduced fat products will have added sugar, sodium or thickening agents to try and replace what is lost when the fat is removed. If the calories are significantly reduced and you genuinely enjoy the taste of the product, the reduced fat version might be a good choice. If the calories are similar and the ingredient list is much longer, just go for the original full-fat version.
Have you fallen for any of these dieting mistakes?
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She works as an outpatient dietitian where she counsels adults and children with diabetes and chronic health problems. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, The Nutty Nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter @NuttyDietitian.