4 Diet Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez | Last Updated : September 20, 2022

Getting your weight in check is top-of-mind for many. Just last year, up to 60% of Americans reported wanting to lose weight within the year. For 51% of these respondents, diet was considered the primary means of shedding excess pounds. Unfortunately, while it may seem easy enough to start a diet, there’s no guarantee it’ll work. In fact, surveys have stated that up to 95% of diets will fail. More often than not, these are because people make common diet mistakes that are way too easy to make. To ensure your diet journey is successful and healthy, here are some of the top diet mistakes you should avoid making.

Following a restrictive approach

People often think that an effective diet is simply one that reduces calories. To do this, many diets (especially fad diets) rely on restricting entire food groups. While this may result in quick fixes due to the significant caloric deficit, it comes at the cost of nutritional deficiency. On the flip side, WeightWatchers notes that balanced weight loss plans make for much more sustainable diets. Since these are designed to include healthy servings of each food group, dieters can receive the appropriate vitamins and nutrients they need while still losing weight. Since these balanced diet plans are also customized, they are easier to follow for more long-term results.

Forgetting to stay hydrated

In terms of weight loss, staying hydrated can improve fat loss via lipolysis. Comparatively, evidence suggests that being even mildly (but consistently) under-hydrated can lead to increased body weight. That said, it’s necessary to be mindful of the fluids you drink. For instance, alcoholic or carbonated drinks are very high in sugar. As such, though you may feel refreshed, you’re also consuming a lot of calories. Instead, choose drinks like water, tea, or fresh fruit drinks instead. A guide to the benefits of cold water by VeryWellFit even states that drinking lower-temperature water can encourage more weight loss. Per half a liter of cold water, an estimated 17 extra calories can be burned.

Not getting enough sleep

Recently, research on The Conversation about sleep patterns revealed that a lack of sleep can play a factor in body fat and the risk of obesity. When the body lacks sleep, hormones like leptin and ghrelin are affected. This results in an increase in feelings of hunger and food dissatisfaction. This can lead to increased food intake aside from a slower metabolism. Since playing catch up with your sleep has been found to be ineffective at countering the weight-related effects of poor sleep, it’s better to practice better sleep from the start. If you have a hard time getting your necessary 7-8 hours a night, try to introduce relaxing habits into your evening. These can include listening to music, dimming the lights, and avoiding gadgets. This can fix your circadian rhythm which can positively boost your diet.

Leaving out regular exercise

In order for the body to truly become more receptive to your diet, it’s important to complement this with exercise. This is because exercising can improve the body’s metabolism and fat-burning ability. Consider the fact that even relatively relaxed low-impact workouts like yoga can burn up to 300 calories an hour. This means that any benefits your diet has can be further maximized. Additionally, as we shared in our post about “Exercise And A Healthy Diet Can Prevent Heart Disease”, the combination of these efforts together hugely strengthens the body. Consequently, you’ll find that you can better follow your diet and exercise for as long as you need to reach your goals.

Dieting can get confusing and a few setbacks are inevitable. But dieting should be a pleasant and well-rounded experience. When your diet is well-planned and executed, you’re more likely to feel satisfied and see the results you want.

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez

Dr. Ricardo Alvarez was a former Medical professor and faculty at Harvard Medical school. After resigning, now he is practicing as a general physician who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of general health problems and disorders. He earned his MS and PhD from Columbia University. Ricardo Alvarez completed his undergraduate education from an accredited medical college under the University of London and completed his training from AMCAS and is a doctor with earned board certification.

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