You may think your diet is making the marks when it comes to clean eating when in reality you’re probably making the same common diet mistakes everyone else is. That’s why you’re not seeing the results you want. Take a moment to be honest with yourself. Are you eating too much? How about not enough? Maybe your weekends are filled with alcohol induced comas and skinny iced-vanilla lattes. Or how about those salads everyone loves oh-so-much. Ever take the time to measure out the calorie-ridden salad dressing you dress it with? You’re in luck! Here are 5 Quick Fixes for the Most Common Diet Mistakes:
1. Oversized Portions: It’s pretty self-explanatory. You’re just eating way too freaking much! No, you do not need to eat a 12-ounce steak in one sitting. Steak is healthy, yes. But 12-ounces is not. A calorie is a calorie no matter how you look at it, and eating too much of anything is not good for you. Restaurants are the biggest villains. They serve double, even triple the portion size necessary for any one person’s body. How is your metabolism supposed to keep up with 2 or more cups of cooked pasta doused in cream-based sauce. You know what, don’t order that meal to begin with and you’ll be better off.
Fix: A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables, ¼ with protein and the rest with complex carbs. This can be true for a salad or sandwich too. If you’re really good, get yourself a food scale and weigh/measure your food components before serving. If you’re dining out, order the smaller steak and ask for steamed veggies on the side. Eat half of the baked potato and instead of ordering Sushi, opt for Sashimi with a bowl of steamed white or brown rice, that way you can choose how much rice you want to eat. It’s easy to fix a portion size problem; it’s a matter of putting it into practice.
2. Liquid Calories: It’s easy to consume excess calories when you’re drinking them. The amount of people that have no idea alcohol and coffee drinks are high in calories is crazy. You may think your skinny latte is healthy, but if you sweeten it with sugar and throw in a squirt of vanilla syrup you’re sorely mistaken. One of the worst things you can do is drink your calories. For the most part liquid calories are far from nutritious and most definitely do not fill you up. Personally, I’d rather eat a cookie than have a cocktail so I don’t even understand the whole mindset behind it in the first place. Wouldn’t you rather eat your calories than drink them? On top of that, they add up much more quickly. Probably because they go down smoother too, lol.
Fix: Opt for calorie-free and sugar-free beverages like black coffee with artificial sweetener or sugar-free juice drink mixes like Crystal Light. How about having unsweetened iced tea with a splash of lemon or a diet soda. Or maybe you really want to enjoy a cocktail, choose something with far fewer calories like Rum and Diet Coke. Stray from cocktails made with fruit juice or cream liquors. And of course, choose light beer over the regular stuff.
3. Skipping Meals: The misconception that skipping meals or only eating 1 meal per day causes weight loss is alive and rampant. This kind of thinking has been debunked over and over with scientific data stating that if we do not eat for extending periods of time, our bodies will store what food we do feed ourselves. It’s the conservation effect. In preparation for famine or starvation the body stores food as fat. If we eat throughout the day our body recognizes that it’s being fed regularly therefore it uses the food we eat as energy for things like daily living and exercise. Skipping meals (including breakfast – the most important meal of the day) puts our bodies in a state of starvation. Your energy levels will suffer, stress levels will skyrocket and your body fat will increase.
Fix: Eat 4-5 meals per day including breakfast. Start the day off with a well-rounded breakfast of lean proteins, complex carbs and fruit, and healthy fats. Don’t go more than 3.5 hours before having another meal or snack. That way you keep your metabolism revving and you’re fueling your body throughout the day. Try it this way for just 1 week and then tell me how you feel.
4. Not Eating Enough: A huge culprit in the nutrition community is people who don’t eat enough. They’ll come to me with the complaint that they don’t know why they’re not losing weight and that they barely eat anything all day. Therein lies the problem right there. Not eating enough food can do damage to your metabolism just like skipping meals can. Consuming fewer calories than your body needs in fact does lower your metabolic rate. This means that you eat less food and burn fewer calories. That’s right, you can put on body fat this way too.
Fix: Eat lots of healthy foods! It’s pretty simple – fuel your body with the appropriate amount of healthy calories for your resting metabolic rate (RMR) or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). You can use either BMR or RMR; a simple calculation to find RMR is below. Use this calculation to determine the amount of calories your body needs for daily function. For weight loss, subtract 500 calories. For weight gain, add 500 calories. For maintenance, keep it the same.
• For men: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) + 5 • For women: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) – 161 w = weight in kg; h = height in cm; a = age
5. Condiments and Toppings Get the Best of You: You think you’re doing a good job by ordering the grilled chicken salad at Chili’s instead of the chicken tacos. But what you didn’t take in to account is that all of the toppings loaded on to that salad make it just as bad as the tacos. Salad dressings, condiments, croutons, tortilla strips, dried fruits, it all adds up. Great job at serving yourself a snack of fresh veggies, but you screwed it up by coating your carrot sticks with high-calorie, high-fat ranch dressing.
Fix: There’s no reason why you couldn’t use any of your favorite condiments and toppings – just pay attention to how much you’re using. Go back to mistake #1: Oversized Portions – make sure you’re not over-serving yourself with calories that don’t fill you up. If you want nuts on your salad, measure out 2 tablespoons full; if you want olive oil on your salad, measure out 1 or 2 tablespoons. You hopefully get the point. Another great option is to find healthier alternatives. Maybe you could find a fat-free Ranch dressing or reduced sugar ketchup. Swap-outs like that can cut calories in half!
We’re all human and no one’s diet is perfect. Pay more attention to what you eat and your progress will move that much faster.