11 Mistakes Everyone Make When Trying to Eat Healthy
7 Diet Mistakes You're Definitely Making
Eating healthier and dropping excess weight is supposed to make you feel better — so why do you feel sluggish, pissed off, and like you would kill to add a single French fry a week into your diet? You may be following some oft-repeated diet advice that's more likely to make you lose your mind than a pant size. And not only do these tips often make you feel miserable, they often sabotage your efforts in the first place. The "rules" that experts wish you'd break:
1. Switching to Diet Drinks
Making the switch from regular Coke to diet seems like a no-brainer if you're trying to lose weight, but, while you will save calories this way, you may be setting yourself up for some serious cravings.Researchshows that artificial sweeteners encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence and might contribute to increased appetite, making it harder for you to resist the real sweet stuff. Instead of relying on sugar replacements, opt for water or unsweetened drinks like tea.
2. Cleansing In Order to Detox
Not all cleanses are created equally — and some can even do more harm than good. "A true detox program removes accumulated toxins from your liver, gets it working efficiently again, and prepares you for long-term weight control from a better diet," explainsRobert Silverman, M.D., a certified nutrition specialist in White Plains, New York. "But most cleanse programs don't detoxify you — all they do is clear out your colon while putting a strain on your liver."
Also, ditch the DIY concoctions, Silverman says. "Don't detox on your own. Work with a trained professional who can help you through a 10-day program with support from medical foods."
Thinking about a juice cleanse to shed some pounds quickly? While juice cleanses may get your fruit intake up, all that fruit comes with a lot of sugar — and not much protein or healthy fat. Juice also elevates blood sugar than whole fruit. And if losing water weight is your goal, there are easier fixes, like cutting back on sodium and drinking more water, that involve solid food.
3. Hitting the Gym Hard, ASAP
You've replaced the sheet cake in your vegetable crisper with actual vegetables and your jeans are starting to feel a little looser — so adding workouts to the mix can only help, right? Not always. "I actually recommend against starting an exercise program if you're also working on weight loss," says Silverman. "All those changes at once are often too daunting and lead you to give up on getting healthier." Instead, give yourself some time to get in a healthy-eating groove before you dust off your sports bra. "Once eating a better diet is firmly a part of your regular routine, add in some exercise," Silverman advises.
4. Avoiding So-Called "Forbidden" Foods
No, this isn't permission to live off of Double Stuf Oreos alone, but thinking of foods as "bad" and "good" can actually undermine your healthy eating efforts. Don't swear off dessert for the rest of your life — instead, ditch the deprivation mindset and you may find that you drop a few extra pounds. Researchers have found that when dieters feel a loss of control because they've indulged in a food they associate with guilt, they're more likely to drop their weight loss goals and are less successful at maintaining their weight. "Enjoyment of food is essential to people's well-being," the researchersconcluded. (Why do you think Oprah's Weight Watchers ad was about celebrating eating bread?)
5. Never Eating Before Bed
That age-old advice to avoid late-night snackingdoeshave some scientific backup — studies have showna linkbetween evening noshing and weight gain. But never say never. Going to bed on a rumbling stomach is also bad for you, resulting insleep loss… whichstimulates appetitein the morning... which makes it harder to keep your portions under control (hello bacon, egg, and cheese with a side of pancakes). So stop playing by the rules — listen to your body, and snack (or not) accordingly.
6. Rewarding Yourself With Cheat Days
If you find yourself looking forward to a "cheat day" every week, it may be a sign that your new diet isn't a sustainable way of eating for you. It can even trigger overeating or bingeing by creating a "better eat it while I can" mentality, warnsNina Savelle-Rocklin, a psychoanalyst specializing in eating disorders. "After that, post cheat-day remorse may lead to restriction, followed by overeating, and the cycle perpetuates itself. In fact, dieting itself leads to a binge-starve cycle." Instead of focusing on "what" you're eating, focus on "why" you're eating, Savelle-Rocklin advises. "Ultimately, diets fail because they only deal with food. Diets do not address the underlying conflicts that make you turn to food in the first place."
7. Counting Every Calorie — And Keeping Your Intake As Low As Possible
Yes, knowing how many calories you're eating and how many you should be eating is an important part of dropping weight (and lying to your MyFitnessPal about the cookies you drunkenly ate is most likely going to undermine your weight loss efforts). But it can lead to an obsession with numbers rather than a focus on healthy habits, warns Laura Cipullo, R.D., author ofWomen's Health Body Clock Diet. It can also inspire drastic — and dangerous — calorie cutting…which is bad news no matter what. "You either binge and feel like a failure for not being able to refrain from eating or you become an emotional mess as your cognitive function becomes delayed and your body physically feels weak," says Cipullo.
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