It’s certainly possible to lose weight and keep healthy by following a diet, but on the flip side, this can also all go horribly wrong if you don't do it properly. Here are five mistakes you might be making with your diet:
Mistake #1: Cutting Too Many Calories
Consuming fewer calories will lead to weight loss, but cutting them drastically at once isn't going to speed up this process. Instead, your body will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism to deal with the lack of calories. As a general ballpark figure, never go below 1,200 calories a day, especially if you want to keep the pounds off for good. Our advice? Seek expert help from a nutritionist or your family doctor before embarking on any diet.
Mistake #2: Falling For Low-Fat Foods
Processed products flaunting 'low-fat' or 'fat-free' labels aren't as healthy as you think. Food companies typically add more sugar into said foods to make up for the lack of taste. Translation: What you're consuming might do your waistline more damage that a similar item that's full-fat (fat is absolutely necessary in our diets, don't be afraid of it!). There's also the psychological aspect associated with low-fat foods, as you may end up eating more of it and paradoxically gain weight as a result.
Mistake #3: Thinking Carbs Are Evil
Cutting out an entire food group isn't the way to go. Even though carbs have a bad rep, they serve a good purpose in your diet too, such as helping to balance out blood sugar levels. And whole-grain products, for example, give you energy and fibre as well as protein and anti-oxidants. So don't think of them as the enemy; instead, concentrate on savouring every bite and consuming a healthy portion size.
Mistake #4: Skipping Meals
Surely if you eat less you won't put on weight, right? Well, wrong. Skipping breakfast is a no-no as your morning meal helps to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, which in turn means you won't be reaching for unhealthy foods when the hunger pangs hit. And if you're home from work late and are afraid to eat because you've been told you shouldn't eat after 8 or 9pm, toss this thinking out the window and get some food into you. Eat if you have to, no matter what time it is, because you'll wake up starving and probably binge eat the next day.
Mistake #5: Giving Up Too Easily
It's easy to come up with excuses – I’m too busy, too stressed, too tired...you get the picture. If you fall off the diet wagon, get back on it as soon as possible. It's okay to falter – don't be so hard on yourself – but don't be discouraged just because you aren't losing weight as quickly as you had hoped to. The best way to diet is to get a friend or professional to help you through it, so you have someone to motivate you and cheer you on. Good luck.