IF you are a serious dieter who has been sticking to the game plan, but you're still not getting the required results, you might want to consider going back to the drawing board and developing a new strategy.
Part of that strategy will no doubt need to take into consideration what you have been eating.
"You can actually lose most of your weight just through your diet if you get it right," said nutritionist Patricia Fletcher.
A careful analysis of your plan might possibly highlight some of the following diet mistakes which Fletcher agrees people make in trying to lose weight.
1. Cutting calories too drastically. One of the biggest mistakes dieters make is to drastically cut back on eating to the point where they have only one meal per day. "When you don't eat breakfast, you are seriously setting yourself up for weight gain," Fletcher noted. This is often done in the hope of losing weight but often backfires. It's best to consult with a nutritionist prior to starting your weight-loss journey, so you can be given a daily caloric range which will help to guide how you eat.
2. Waiting too long between meals. Nutritionists advise eating three meals and two healthy snacks per day to keep your blood sugar level stable and your metabolic rate high, so you can burn more calories throughout the week.
Although life gets busy sometimes, you can still meet your required daily caloric intake by prepackaging your meals before leaving home. "Some sort of adjustment would need to be done," Fletcher warned.
3. Drinking your calories. So much attention is paid to what we should not eat that at times dieters often make the mistake of drinking their calories instead. However, guzzling down a bottle of soda or a milkshake is just as bad as having a large slice of cheesecake. If you must drink, go for water, coconut water or unsweetened fruit juices instead, although the nutritionist noted that it's always better to eat rather than drink your food.
4. Bingeing after the diet. It makes no sense to eat clean between Monday to Friday and then pig out on unhealthy meals for the weekend. However, some dieters are guilty of this offence because they restrict themselves too much in the week and then feel too deprived after a few days of giving up their favourite foods. It is okay to have most foods in moderation.
5. Having insufficient carbs. While refined carbs such as sugar, flour, and pastries should be avoided, you will be sabotaging your diet if you try to cut out carbs all together. That's because carbs found in starchy foods and fruits and vegetables will help to give you the energy you need and provide you with fibre to help you feel full for longer.
"When you have more fibre in your diet, you will find that you will lose weight more naturally," said Fletcher. Not all carbs are bad!
6. Ditching fats. If you have been smitten by the promise that avoiding fats completely could result in a slimmer you, then you have obviously been fooled. While some forms of fats are definitely unhealthy for you, there are those fats that you would need to consume, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are good for you.
7. You eat fake foods. Step into any local supermarket and you are bound to find items that manufacturers have declared to be fat-free, carb-free and low in sodium. But before you reach for these items thinking that they are your ticket to weight loss, you need to check out the nutritional labels to see that they will not take you over your calorie limit. So don't fall prey to the gimmicks. Calories do add up.
8. Overindulging on healthy foods. Snacking on nuts instead of pastries is good, so too is switching from white bread to brown bread, but this does not mean that you should be dipping in the cashew jar right around the clock. A crucial part of weight loss success is portion control. No matter how healthy a food might be, if not consumed in the right portion, it can easily derail your efforts to lose weight.
9. Substituting vitamins for foods. While it's good to take your vitamins daily, supplements are only expected to be a useful element that enhances the benefits of an already healthy diet. They are not to be used as substitutes for eating right. You can't make up for eating crap all day by popping a vitamin tablet and then think you will magically slim down.
10. Relying on stimulants for energy. Caffeine does have its place, but one of the things you might not want to do is rely on it to provide you with nutrients while on your diet. The energy boost in your caffeinated drinks will no doubt help to get you through a challenging workout, but it cannot be substituted for the energy you will get from having a healthy diet. Hydrate with water instead during your workouts.