From not eating often enough to relying too much on exercise, there are tons of diet misconceptions that can wreak havoc on your weight management efforts. Here are four common missteps, plus tips for avoiding them.
1. EXPECTING EXERCISE ALONE TO DO THE TRICK
To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Simple math. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’re working out once—or even twice—a day. If you’re eating large portions of high-calorie foods, you may be exceeding your daily budget. You can hold yourself accountable by keeping a food and activity log to give you a sense of how many calories you’re burning and consuming.
2. NEVER SWITCHING UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
Not only is it boring, but it’s not particularly effective. If the only workout you know is 30 minutes on the elliptical, you may not get the results you want. Surprise your muscles by varying the frequency and intensity of your exercise. Aim for aerobic activity two to three times a week and muscle-strengthening activities two times a week for maximum health and weight management benefits. Crunched for time? You can break up the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week into small chunks throughout the day. Studies show that short, 10-minute bursts of activity throughout the day can boost your fitness and health. Consuming lean protein, either via food or a protein supplement, after working out can help maximize your muscle building results.
3. LETTING A DIET SLIP-UP TURN INTO A DIET SPIRAL
We all succumb to the occasional unhealthy craving. The trick is to immediately address any feelings of guilt. Don’t berate yourself when you fall off the wagon—just acknowledge your mistake and get back on track. Try to make it a learning experience. Think about what led you astray and make a mental note of it. Remind yourself that one mistake doesn’t undo all the work you’ve done.
4. SKIMPING ON THE GOOD STUFF
You may think you’re getting all your required fruits and veggies in daily, but are you really? You need about 2.5 cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit. Aim to include both in all your meals. Variety in your diet helps you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need. Try different ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into the food you eat—like making noodles from spiralized zucchini or pizza crust from blended cauliflower. You also may want to supplement with a multivitamin for added nutrient support.