5 Diet Mistakes You Might Be Making

Feb 13 2019
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I’m kind of new to the diet world. I’ve recently lost 10 lbs., and have 40 to go. Are there any common diet pitfalls I should be aware of?

Motivated Marilyn
Answer@2x Hi MM,


Congrats on your weight loss so far! Great question. The answer is YES. Here are some all-too-common approaches to dieting that can actually set you up for failure...

Salad Worship

I'm gonna say this loud for the people in the back: Not all salads are healthy and good for weight loss! There are the obvious calorie catastrophes like overdressed Caesar salads and taco salads with big fried shells. But that's not all. Even seemingly virtuous salads are often overloaded with calorie-dense extras: croutons, dried fruit, candied nuts, cheese, dressing, and more. Always check restaurant websites for calorie counts, and don't be afraid to make special requests. Leave off some toppings, see if you can get your protein grilled instead of fried, and request light dressing on the side. More advice here.

The All-or-Nothing Approach

I'm a big supporter of taking care of yourself, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn't have the foods you crave every now and then. Don't fully eliminate your favorite foods from your life. Follow the 80/20 rule -- eat well 80 percent of the time, and loosen up the other 20 percent. And skipping meals is just plain OUT. You need to keep your body fueled with healthy food in order to burn calories efficiently. Plus, meal skipping will only set you up for a cranky crash-and-burn binge later. Curious about the 80/20 rule? Here are six ways to make it a reality.

Portion Obliviousness

Restaurant portions in the US are generally pretty massive. Sure, we want to get our money's worth... but you're better off taking home leftovers than cleaning your plate in one sitting. Even if you're eating healthy food at home, this could still affect you. After all, we get accustomed to oversized servings at restaurants, and that can skew our perception of what a proper portion is. Take a few minutes to review the serving size info on some foods in your kitchen right now. Are you surprised? Next time you cook, bust out a food scale and measuring cups; really absorb what those portions look like. That way, you'll have a better idea of what portions should look like the next time you grab food while you're out and about! More portion-control tips here.

"But, It's Organic!"

Claims like all-natural, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, free-range, and Paleo can be enticing. But they could torpedo your weight-loss efforts if you aren't careful! Food can be wholesome and healthy yet high in calories. So if you're just eating anything from Whole Foods that strikes your fancy, don't be surprised if the pounds don't come a'falling off. Read the nutrition panels on the average bag of store-bought kale chips... Yikes, right? Bottom line: Calories count and should be counted! Here’s more need-to-know info.

If It Worked for Her, It'll Work for Me

What works for your neighbor might not work at all for you, and vice versa. For example, some people get great results when they cut out wheat or dairy, while others don't see any change. Similarly, some foods trigger certain people to eat more rather than simply satisfying a craving. If a handful of baked chips only makes you want ALL THE CHIPS, maybe that snack isn't worth it. Pay attention to your body's cues! Keep a food journal, and track how certain foods make you feel. Eventually, you can look back and spot patterns. You have to stay in tune with your body, and work to figure out what makes you feel best.

Chew on this:

February is National Hot Breakfast Month! Don’t miss tomorrow’s email for FIVE ways to celebrate. (Here's one to get you started in the meantime!)

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