Top 10 Diet Disasters and How to Avoid Them. The last thing any of us wants is a diet “do-over.” Yet there are diet mistakes that can send you back to your starting point, wrecking all your hard work and success at losing weight. Don’t let these diet mistakes happen to you.
10 Ways to Ruin Your Diet
Do you know the number one way to derail your diet? You may be surprised. Here is the top 10 countdown of diet disasters.
10. Overeating away from home. Eating out poses a special challenge when calorie counting because restaurant portions are overgenerous; your best bet is to ask for a to-go box and put half your order away before you start eating.
9. Not reading labels. The most important number you need to pay attention to is the serving size. It’s easy to eat too much if you aren’t aware of how many servings are in a bottle or box and you consume the whole package, thinking it’s a single serving.
8. Eating too fast. If you eat quickly, your brain won’t get the message that you are full in time, says Kathy Hubbert, MS, RD, of EatRight Weight Management Services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Put the fork down between each bite,” she advises.
7. Denying yourself your favorite foods. Be it chocolate or bacon, totally banning a favorite “unhealthy” food from your diet sets you up for temptation. Instead, use your calorie-counting skills to build in a small indulgence now and again.
6. Guilt over mistakes. If you are out with friends and get talked into dessert, don’t beat yourself up. “Guilt can set in and, for some people, that gets them moving in a backwards direction,” says Hubbert. Even if you did enjoy your indulgence, put it in perspective — it’s just one mistake compared to all your good diet choices yesterday, today, and the ones you’ll make tomorrow.
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5. Putting too much “weight” on the scale. Hanging all your feelings of success on the numbers on the scale can be a diet disaster. You should only weigh yourself once a week, says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at the Wake Forest University Health Sciences department of physician assistant studies in Winston-Salem, N.C. Curtis recommends tracking other short-term health goals, such as eating more veggies, walking daily, or drinking water instead of soda, that will give you a sense of accomplishment.
4. Not exercising enough. Even if you could achieve your diet goals by calorie counting alone, you would be more successful (and healthier) if you were physically active. “The number one barrier to exercise that I hear is time,” says Hubbert. National recommendations are at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. You can break this up into three 10-minute segments per day, says Hubbert.
3. Emotional eating. Eating in response to sadness, boredom, or stress wrecks your calorie counting for at least one day. “We learn to associate food with feeling better,” says Hubbert, a self-confessed boredom eater. When you become aware of your urge to eat in response to emotions instead of hunger pains, find something else to do that will distract you for 10 or 15 minutes, such as taking a walk, says Hubbert.
2. Thinking of your diet as a diet. “There is diet fatigue if you go on a diet,” says Curtis. “Most people can stay on a diet about three months and then they are done with it because they can’t stand it.” Instead, focus on making healthy lifestyle and diet choices that you can live with for a long time.
And the biggest mistake of all:
1. Letting one mistake start you on a downward spiral. “I’ve seen people completely go back to square one,” says Hubbert. “They make one mistake and it starts a whole cycle.” The remedy? If you make a mistake, admit it, forgive yourself, and get back on track right away.
So now that you know the top 10 diet mistakes, you should be able to avoid them — and know you aren’t alone if you make one yourself!