Skip to content

Common Diet Mistakes I Used To Make

Before and After BMI

May 14, 2010

Common Diet Mistakes I Used To Make

I Really Simplified Healthy

Back in college, when I was heading toward gaining the freshman 15, I decided I needed to do something about it. At the time, the big thing was going as fat-free as possible to lose weight; a gram of fat was considered the enemy. I ate a ton of fat free cereal, pretzels, and candy. I existed on a virtually fat free diet and the weight didn’t come off, what was up with that?! Then I started taking nutrition classes and realized that I may not have had any fat in my diet, but I was still getting plenty of sugar and calories. Not to mention, missing out on most of my food groups and vital nutrients. Nutrition is like a puzzle with many pieces and they are all equally important. If you zero in on one nutrient like sugar, fat, or carbohydrates, it causes you to lose sight of the big picture and you will lose the good balance your diet needs and miss out on key nutrients. Another trap along these lines that I fell into is an overemphasis on calories. It is a fact that ultimately calories are what controls body weight, but it is more complicated than that. If you are just focused on calories, it is possible to eat a low calorie diet that is full of empty calorie foods (the pretzels and jelly beans I loved in college). This will cause you to miss out on key nutrients that play a part in weight loss, like protein, fiber, and calcium. I have seen a number of people get over a weight loss plateau by changing the quality of their diet while staying at the same calorie level, including myself.

I Ate at the Wrong Times

One of the main goals of a meal is to fuel you for the hours to come, and this is probably one of the biggest mistakes I make and most of my patients make. You get so busy, that you delay eating most of the day and then when you finally get home and are able to wind down, you really chow down. It is easy to think, I haven’t eaten anything so I have earned the right to eat a couple meals worth of food at one sitting. In fact, this type of thinking is setting you up for diet sabotage because our bodies can’t burn calories retroactively. After you eat a meal, the fate of the meal is based on what your body is doing in the hours after you digest and absorb the food, not what took place earlier in the day. This is why meal planning is so important and you need to keep snacks with you so that if you don’t have time to stop and eat a meal, you will have something small to help keep your blood sugar stable and tide you over until you can have a meal.  Try not to go longer than 4 hours between meals or at least have something that is a good source of protein and fiber. This way, when you get home and are able to relax you will not overindulge and exceed your daily calorie allotment.

I Overestimated my Calorie Needs

This is a very common mistake almost everyone I talk to makes. We are a very busy society. Most of us have so many obligations between work and family and oftentimes, continuing our education, that it feels like we are always on the go and can barely get enough sleep. When you feel so worn out from all of this, we tend to count running from one sitting task to another as exercise, and therefore assume we need more food than we really do. Our mind is actually doing a lot more work than our bodies. To rev your metabolism and require more food for energy, you have to get your body physically moving everyday as much as possible.

I Trusted the Wrong Sources

Before I started taking nutrition classes, I used to listen to dietary advice from just about anyone that remotely made sense without questioning their information. After getting my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, I can tell you that nutrition is very complicated and there is so much to know. I am still constantly learning. Nutrition is a specialty, much like engineering and it is very important to get your nutrition advice from someone who has had a lot of education and training in Dietetics. Speaking with a Dietitian will give you the tools you need to meet your weight loss goals and keep you from making the same diet mistakes so many others, including myself, have made.

You might also be interested in: Holiday Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Weight Loss Efforts