Anyone working on losing weight and creating healthy eating habits can tell you it takes time, dedication and patience. It also takes knowledge about what does and doesn’t work for you individually, which is often discovered through a process of trial and error.
However, registered nutritionists and dietitians, like myself, often see their clients making some of the same mistakes when it comes to shedding kilos healthfully. Here, I share 10 common ones to avoid:
- Choosing juiced or dried fruits over fresh
Many people find it easier to create a calorie deficit when they ensure their meals contain plenty of lean protein, fibre, and water. Though both fruit juice and dried fruits contain some of the antioxidants you’d find in whole fruits, the former doesn’t contain as much fibre and the latter has less water content. Thus, you get the most filling volume for the calories with whole fruits. For example, per cup, whole grapes have roughly 100 calories while grape juice has 160 and raisins clock in around 500. “when it comes to fruit, always opt for fresh (or frozen),” says yule.
- Only tracking calories
Calories alone do not indicate good health or nutrition. See https://sheenahendonhealth.co.nz/are-all-calories-equal/.Having health and wellness goals and checking out your other nutritional data can make your weight-loss journey easier. For example, aiming to slowly increase fibre – apart from playing a role in satiety, fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are beneficial for gut health, reduced risk of heart disease and provide essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Copying the weight-loss strategy of a celebrity, friend or Dr Google!
It can be tempting to try certain fad diets simply because you know someone else had success with them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for you as an individual. We each have different food preferences, activity levels, energy needs and medical conditions, meaning there’s no one generic weight-loss strategy that will be an optimal fit for everyone. That is why checking in with a Registered Nutritionist, Naturopath or Dietitian can be vital to check out any underlying metabolic issues and to develop a personalised nutrition plan that is supportive for weight loss and in a way that aligns with your life style.
I would also like to add that following a fad diet developed by someone with no training is like having your favourite film start saw off your leg rather than a trained surgeon. Both may be extremely detrimental to your long term health!!!
- Giving up meat to lose weight
Somewhere along the way, people started to think vegans and vegetarians were healthier and thinner. While this may be true in some cases, it’s not a great weight-loss strategy on its own. Meat gives us the protein we need to build muscles and burn fat. If meat is cut out of the diet, it is usually replaced with high-starch foods that will not help you build muscle. I recommend a good protein intake with lean meats, seafood and plant-based proteins such as beans, legumes, and whole grains. A Registered nutritionist/dietitian can help you put together a great weight-loss vegan and vegetarian diet if this is what you want
- Going too big out of the gate
If someone is currently sedentary and makes a goal of working out seven days a week, it’s unlikely to be successful. Time and time again I have clients coming to me after embarking on a Hight intensity or F45 regime and have injured or become bigger than they were.
It’s important to set yourself up for success by taking small achievable steps. Start with one or two days a week or eating a good breakfast or drinking more water etc and work up from there. Similarly, people may decide they are never eating junk food or sugary drinmks again, which is also unrealistic. Instead, consider reducing your soda intake from a few times a week to once a week or occasionally swapping a calorie-dense dessert for fruit.
- Forgetting about water
Some of my clients get so caught up in eating healthy foods that water becomes a side note. But there are some major benefits to making sure you get enough H20: Staying hydrated reduces hunger, increases the number of calories you burn and improves your body’s ability to burn body fat for energy. Herbal tea and bone brothbone broth count toward fluid intake, too.
- Cutting out all carbs
I am all for reducing simple or refined carbohydrates like baked goods, lollies and white breads, but these are not to be confused with complex carbohydrates such as quinoa and whole-wheat products. When it comes to energy, your body prefers to break down carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates also offer fibre, protein and other nutrients that stabilise your blood sugars during this ‘breaking down’ process. Plus, it’s pretty hard to cut out all carbs long term and maintain a healthy diet since carbs are also found in several main food groups including vegetables, fruit and dairy. Cutting them out “makes for an insufficient diet that is not sustainable. Additionally, cutting carbs can wipe out your gut microbiome which only makes long term weight loss even harder!
- Not counting bites, licks and tastes
“it is easy for calories to creep up without noticing when you are mindlessly munching on food throughout the day. This tends to happen when you are cooking or when there are treats and easy-to-grab snacks around you all the time. That’s why a food diary or app can help you keep accountable as well as planning meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Judging calories based off an activity tracker
I don’t recommend using your activity tracker as a guide for determining your calorie needs. Fitness trackers are often inaccurate, and people tend to overestimate how many calories they’ve burned and underestimate how many calories they eat. This may lead people to think they’ve ‘earned’ that big piece of chocolate cake at 600 calories when their workout only burned 400. That 200-calorie excess can build up quickly and lead to weight gain. Instead, tap into your satiety levels (book in with me to learn about Mindful eating and how to ensure your physical body is registering satiety correctly) and keep track of weight and body measurements to find a calorie amount that works for your activity level.
- Having cheat days
A balanced diet needs to incorporate your favourite foods. Regularly eliminating them may result in cravings and overindulgent cheat days that may counter your weight-loss goals. Alternatively, I suggest you go by the 80/20 rule where 80% of your intake consists of your favourite whole grains, high-quality proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and 20% is for the cookie or side
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