Starting a new diet plan is a commendable decision to make, but many new dieters fail to reach the weight loss or fitness goals they set for themselves. Sometimes it’s a matter of time management or a temporary lack of commitment, while other times it could be a medical condition or food allergies that prevent success. There are also a number of common mistakes many first time dieters make while adjusting to the new diet and exercise routines. Here are a few common dieting mistakes, and what a beginning dieter should do to correct them.
Increasing quality, but not reducing quantity
Replacing fatty and saltier cuts of meat with leaner, lower sodium alternatives such as fish and chicken is a great starting point, but along with the healthier quality should also come smaller portion sizes. Some people who claim to be dieting will put two pounds of grilled chicken and a pound of baked salmon on their buffet plates instead of their usual 3 pounds of red meat and fried cheesesticks. While the food itself may be healthier, to the body 3 pounds of food still weighs 3 pounds, regardless how it is cooked or how lean it is. Eating a dozen sugar-free chocolate bars is still not a good idea, even if one unhealthy element is removed. Beginning dieters should pay strict attention to the recommended portion sizes listed in the official diet plan, and also learn to read the nutrition labels on foods not necessarily associated with a diet. Successful weight loss depends on calorie reduction as much as the healthiness of the food itself.
Turning a cheat day into a cheat week.
Very few dieters can maintain a restrictive diet plan seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is why many mainstream diet plans make room for an occasional “cheat day”. Eating an occasional oversized hamburger or an ice cream sundae from time to time was probably not the problem even before implementing a strict diet plan. The real problem was keeping those indulgences to a minimum. Perfectly healthy people at their ideal weight can still enjoy a favorite snack food or return for seconds at a family picnic. The trick for beginning dieters is to limit that off-diet time to one day, not a week filled with rationalizations. It may be best to hold off on the first cheat day until your body has had some time to detox, usually two or three weeks from the starting day. A good cheat day allows dieters the opportunity to feel like they’re indulging a craving, but should end with a renewed desire to complete the new diet plan.
Modifying the diet plan too much
Many mainstream diet plans rely on complex chemistry to be effective. A high-protein diet, for example, assumes the dieter will deprive his or her body of processed foods and carbohydrates, creating a new body chemistry capable of shedding excess fat. If the dieter fails to restrict his or her intake of cakes or donuts or other high-carb snacks, however, then this change in body chemistry and metabolism simply won’t happen. Virtually every diet plan asks participants to either increase their intake of certain foods (proteins, good fats, grains, etc) or deny themselves unhealthy foods (fatty snacks, saturated fats, complex carbohydrates). There are established reasons for these modifications, so beginning dieters should strive to follow the regimen as faithfully as possible to get better results.
Losing interest after a few weeks
Some diet plans are designed to be short term detoxifications or quick weight loss plans, while others are meant to be followed for a lifetime. Beginning dieters should know the difference, because a cleansing or detox diet was never intended to become a long-term weight maintenance plan and a long-term diet plan won’t produce miraculous results in only a few weeks. If a diet plan seems far too restrictive, it may be a cleanse or detox program instead. If the food choices feel limited or repetitive, a beginning dieter may feel like dropping it completely after a few weeks. The solution may be to seek out specialized cookbooks geared towards a particular diet plan and use those recipes for variety. A diabetic diet may restrict the use of sugar and refined carbs, for example, but there are thousands of recipes available that accommodate these restrictions and still provide excellent meals. Before abandoning a new diet, it pays to do some additional research and find ways to make it more appealing and easier to maintain for the long haul.