Tuesday, December 10, 2013

7 Reasons Why Your Diet Isn't Working

7 Reasons Why Your Diet Isn't Working

1. You Don’t Count All Calories
You track all the calories you take in during breakfast, lunch and dinner. But you conveniently forget to count the little stuff between meals—like the free supermarket samples you noshed on or the handful of candy you grabbed from a coworker’s desk. “These tiny servings can add up to hundreds of extra calories and thwart weight loss,” says McDaniel.

2. You Skip Breakfast
Cutting out an entire meal can fast-track weight loss, right? Nope. When your body is low on fuel, your metabolism grinds to a halt, so you burn calories at a slower rate than if you’d consumed a decent-size healthy a.m. meal. And don’t forget the killer cravings that set in when you deprive yourself—they can compel you to overeat all afternoon and evening. Within an hour of waking up, eat a morning meal high in low-fat protein, such as an egg white tortilla wrap, oatmeal and milk, or yogurt and nuts. The protein helps fill you up while fueling your energy.

As an experiment, McDaniel urges dieters to write down every single morsel eaten each day for a full week, no matter how small. Then, look over your list and see if you’re taking in more calories than you realized. Thought so. From now on, try to fight the urge for these little splurges, and your total daily calories will go down.

3. You Don’t Weigh In Often Enough
Of course you want to keep your scale time to a minimum—the big reveal can be stressful! But also, hormone swings, stress, and other factors can cause your weight to fluctuate from day to day, so sporadic scale readings aren’t an accurate measure and can deflate your spirits if the number isn’t much different from the last time you weighed in.

McDaniel recommends weighing yourself first thing in the morning every day, so you can see fluctuations as they come and go and know that they’re normal. Then, evaluate your progress by calculating your average weight loss per day over the course of one week. This number is a more accurate reflection of your progress, she says.

4. You Eat Off Oversize Dishes
On a platter-size plate, four ounces of chicken looks like nothing. By the time you wolf it down, you’re already thinking about seconds—even though you’ve actually consumed a normal single-size portion. “It’s all about perception; your brain sees a big surface and what appears to be a small amount of food and decides it’s not enough,” says McDaniel.

Switch to eating off regular dinner plates or even appetizer plates, which will make that same serving feel more satisfying, since it gives the illusion of a fuller portion.

5. You Always Order Salads
Thanks to creamy dressings, croutons, and high-fat cheeses and nuts, the typical salad you order at a restaurant is a minefield of hidden calories, sometimes clocking it at several hundred per innocent-looking bowl, says McDaniel.

Salads contain so many good greens, so you don’t want to stop eating them. Just trim them down like this: Slather on only a few drops of dressing, go easy on cheese and nuts, and dodge those high-fat croutons or fried noodles. You’ll have slashed the calorie count by half without sacrificing taste.

6. You Cut Out an Entire Food Group
Ever notice that a lot of fad diets rely on eliminating one category of food, such as carbs or fruit or dairy? You might shed pounds at first this one, but ultimately, demonizing one food type almost always backfires. First, you’ll not only feel deprived, but you’ll also get bored pretty quickly . . . and then overindulge.

A balanced, moderate diet that incorporates a little bit of lots of foods (even products on your “bad” list, like fats and desserts) will be more satisfying as well as more sustainable for the long-term.

7. You Expect Instant Results
When you’re trying to reach a goal weight, you’re eager to be there ASAP. And since so many diets promise rapid weight loss, you almost expect to go down a dress size in days . . . then feel frustrated when it doesn’t happen. “Unfortunately, weight loss isn’t instant; losing anywhere from a half pound to a pound per week is in the normal
range,” says McDaniel.

It’s easy to get fed up when you’re certain you should have made more progress. But keep this fact in mind: the slower and steadier you drop pounds, the more likely you are to keep them off for good.

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