Saturday, February 28, 2009

7 Diet Mistakes You Can Avoid

No matter if you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight, or just eat healthier this year, the concept of diet will emerge at some point.

New diets are coming out all the time and some are better than others, but too often we sabotage a new eating plan or healthy eating choice. This year, be aware of these seven common diet mistakes and steer clear of them.

Setting unrealistic goals. When you set goals for a diet, make sure those goals are achievable. Don't try to do everything at once and then expect to suddenly weigh what you did in high school. An example of an attainable goal might be to eat two snacks of fresh fruit every day and three servings of vegetables between lunch and dinner.

Eating only one time each day. I often hear that people, in order to "save" calories, are skipping breakfast and lunch and only eating dinner. Let me tell you: This plan will save you no calories and can squelch your metabolism in the bargain. Eating three meals a day is important to your general health.

Thinking short-term only. This is why people lose and then regain weight so quickly. A change in diet isn't meant to be just for a few months; it should become a lifelong habit. Think long-term changes.

Underestimating your food portions. We are all guilty of this. Research shows that, when recalling foods consumed, most people under-report the amounts they ate. You may think that you only are having one cup of cereal — but use a measuring cup just to be sure.

Making your diet plan too restrictive. When starting a diet, people usually err on the side of caution and eat too little — a practice they aren't able to maintain long-term. Also, a diet never means excluding major food groups like whole grains, fruits, or dairy.

Not having a support system. When working on eating healthier, the more support you have the better. Tell others around you about your goals and let them know how they can best help you.

Forgetting about exercise. People often ask me, "Which one is more important, diet or exercise?" I reply, "Do you want your airplane to have one wing or two?" Diet and exercise need to be done together — don't forget to exercise regularly.

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