Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Top 5 Diet Mistakes

How many times have you given yourself a pep talk after, for one reason or another, straying too far from your weight-loss routine? Don't worry, the problem is not a lack of willpower or motivation. Maybe there are just a few flaws in your approach. To stop yourself from slipping again, here are some of the most common mistakes and a few good tips for avoiding them.
1. Skipping Breakfast

Running late for work again? Before you bolt out the door on nothing but a cup of coffee, beware that skipping breakfast can be bad news for weight loss. "The problem is that you will feel hungry later when you are busy and have less access to healthy food," warns Dr. Sharon Marks. "So you are more likely to reach for a donut."
Antidote: Keep something on hand that you can eat on the run, such as fruit or yogurt, or fat free cereal bars - our Food & Recipes section has lots of on-the-go options for morning meals.
2. Feasting on Family Favorites
When your kids or husband have a favorite family meal, it's hard to ban it from your menu list. "The problem is that family favorites, such as lasagna, are often high in fat and calories," says Marks.
Antidote: Treat yourself to a smaller serving of the main meal and a large serving of vegetables or salad. "It's also a good idea to try to opt for a lower fat version of the family favorite," says Marks.
3. Social Over-Eating
"Eating whatever you want at a restaurant was okay in the days when people ate out only a few times a year," says nutritionist Rosemary Stanton. But the average person now eats one out of every four meals outside of the home. "In light of this," says Stanton, "you need to have some strategies for coping with eating out. Adopt them religiously so they become habits."
Antidote: Search the menu for meals cooked using low-fat methods, such as grilling or stir-frying, and ask for sauces and dressings on the side, so you can control how much you have.
4. Not Counting Nibbles
A few potato chips while you clean the house. Just a sliver of cake while you cook dinner. "When we snack between meals we often do it standing up or while our attention is focused on something else, such as folding the laundry or reading the paper," warns Marks. "Then you feel that it doesn't really count."
Antidote: Set ground rules, such as "I don't eat in the car or while I'm watching television." And always, always record the POINTS you've consumed in your Journal. Knowing you'll have to write it down will make you think twice about having that one bite.
5. Expecting Too Much Too Soon
After several months of dedication you're down in the dumps - you feel the scale has barely moved. "Expecting too much weight loss too soon is the biggest diet blunder that people make," says Stanton. If it's going to be maintained, then the ideal weekly weight loss should be between 1/2 a pound and two pounds a week. "But most people aim for more than that, then feel like a failure and give up when they don't reach that unrealistically high goal."
Antidote: Make "slow and steady" your diet mantra. Says Stanton: "If you really don't believe that one to two pounds amounts to much weight loss, go empty out two tubs of margarine onto a plate. You'll realize how well you're doing."

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