Don’t Make These Foolish Mistakes If You’re on a Diet

It’s no secret dieting is hard. One day you’re strict with yourself and you go to bed feeling light and clean and the next day you wake up and eat two cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The ups and downs of dieting are natural, but if you’re serious about losing weight you’ll need to be consistent. Be ready for these nutrition saboteurs.

1. Your portions are off

Man struggling with portion sizes

Control your portion size to lose weight. | iStock.com

You may be eating all the good stuff, but you’re eating too much of it. Take the time to read the serving size indications and stick to it by measuring out your portions or using an at-home food scale. Don’t trust yourself to guess what a cup of spaghetti looks like or you’ll be putting in all the effort of dieting without reaping any benefits. A study of overweight people found that 38% of those who practiced only portion control lost weight.

2. You give up too easily

a man holding a yoga mat

Don’t give up your routine once you’ve started. | iStock.com

It can be tempting to throw in the towel when you slip up. You may be thinking if you’ve already ruined your diet you might as well stuff your face and start fresh tomorrow. This way of thinking will get you nowhere fast. It’s natural to overeat once in a while or indulge in that chocolate cake you know you should skip, but don’t let one mistake throw you off balance.

3. You’re exercising less

Fit women doing exercises stretching hamstrings lifting legs

Make sure you’re exercising regularly. | iStock.com/undrey

If you want to lose weight quickly and efficiently, it is best to pair your diet with a regular exercise routine. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. Whether that is a long morning walk, a bike ride, a yoga class, or an evening at the gym, make sure you don’t leave out the fitness component to your new healthy lifestyle.

4. You skip breakfast

a breakfast of oatmeal

Always eat a healthy breakfast. | iStock.com

You may think if you skip breakfast you can save those calories for lunch, a snack, or dinner time, but by the time you get to lunch you’ll be starving and will have a tendency to overeat. Those “saved” morning calories won’t last long. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a good breakfast helps keep you on track for healthy eating the rest of the day and refuels your body with energy to start the day.

5. You’re not getting enough protein

protein sources including meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and nuts

Make sure you’re eating enough protein. | iStock.com

If you’re focusing on eating smaller portions and fewer snacks but aren’t consuming enough protein, you’ll constantly be hungry. Protein keeps your metabolism running, your energy up, and keeps you full longer as it is harder to digest than most carbohydrates. Include a lean protein in every meal and snack on items that are high in both fiber and protein like nuts, dried fruit, or hummus and veggies.

6. You’re drinking your calories

man drinking beer at a bar

Beer contains a hefty number of calories. | iStock.com

When you’re trying to lose weight, you should be focused on drinking water. Not only does water make you feel full, but it is a pure, calorie-free drink that is great for your skin and digestion. If you regularly consume a morning cappuccino, a soda with lunch, and a few beers with dinner, you’re consuming a few extra hundred liquid calories a day.

7. You use food as a reward

girl eating dessert in bed

Be careful to not use food as a reward. | iStock.com

Many people reward themselves with something delicious for completing a long day at work or a rigorous workout, but using food as a reward can be a dangerous pitfall when dieting. Emotional eating will sabotage your diet and leave you feeling worse off in the end. Studies show 78% of American consumers are more likely to eat dessert as a treat to reward themselves. Rather than using food as a reward, give yourself an evening in with your favorite show or a new pair of running shoes.