5 of the Most Common Dieting Mistakes

It’s no secret that Americans have trouble with their weight. Obesity is becoming an epidemic, and even children are not immune. With a huge leap in cases of heart disease, stroke, early onset childhood diabetes and dementia there’s little doubt that physical fitness and a healthy weight need to be priorities if you want to enjoy your life. After all, the state of the insurance industry in this country isn’t all that rosy either! Many people have taken things into their own hands by mounting ambitious diet regimens, with seriously mixed results. Dieting is a billion dollar industry, thanks in large part to the fact that they usually don’t work that well. Weight can be a lifelong struggle, causing depression and anxiety along with all of the real physical problems. Here are five of the most common dieting mistakes to avoid if you are committed to success.

First of all, any diet you attempt will fail if you don’t pair it with regular exercise. You can cut calories all you want, but the pace of your metabolism will always tie into a rigorous workout regimen. Start slowly if you aren’t confident, but try to at least get thirty minutes of moderate physical activity in every day. It will help lighten your calorie restrictions, while boosting your fat burning. You’ll see the results you want faster, which in turn will help motivate you to stick to your diet.

Regardless, try to avoid hopping on the scale every single day. Your weight fluctuates regularly. In fact, you could weigh a different amount in the morning and the evening of the same day. So checking your weight when you get out of bed could end up doing more harm than good. If you don’t see the results you want you’ll be demoralized, making your efforts that day more difficult. Most experts would recommend you weigh yourself no more than once a week. Some people even recommend you don’t weight yourself at all, and take pictures of your body during the process instead. Visible results are what everyone wants anyway, and since muscle weighs more than fat the numbers on the scale could be deceiving.

When picking out a diet, don’t massively reduce your calories all at once. When people decide to go on a diet they generally start out with a fierce commitment and no desire to break. But if you are too aggressive with your trajectory you could end up hurting your long term efforts. When the body cuts calories significantly it prepares for ‘starvation’. That means it actually holds on to stores of fat. You’ll even burn muscle mass first, meaning less definition without any reduction in those problem areas you most want to target. Instead, gradually reduce your daily caloric intake. Your body will be better prepared for the changes, and you’ll be happier with the results.

Another common mistake is to take on a fad diet with the goal of short term results. For a diet to work, it actually has to be a lifestyle change. There are tons of programs out there that promise you can lose fifteen pounds in two weeks, or something similar. But what about when those two weeks are up? Chances are you’ll put the weight right back on. Look for reasonable strategies that address the way you eat. That way you will hopefully keep up the good behavior and maintain your weight loss.

Finally, never choose a diet with a plan that doesn’t fit your life. The results may sound enticing, but if you can’t match the plan to your schedule you will quickly fall off the wagon. It’s better to embrace your limits, even if it means you can’t do things ‘perfectly’. For example, cooking fresh food for every meal is preferable, but if you don’t have time to do anything but follow weekly emeals plans that provide healthy, packaged foods, go that route. It’s better to move incrementally in the right direction than to do nothing at all.