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Nine ways to screw up your diet

Posted on: Feb 8, 2012 5:27 PM

Featured story February 8, 2012



9 Ways to Screw Up your Diet

You bought the diet book. You read it from cover to cover. You threw out all of the bad foods. You went to the supermarket and loaded up on the good foodsAnd for x weeks, you did everything Mr. or Mrs. Diet Guru told you to do. And it worked…until it stopped working.

So, what went wrong?

And how do we get your weight loss back on track?

Let’s begin by taking a look at my top 9 ways to screw up your diet.

1.   Trust

  • Trust that a one size fits all diet is going to fit you
  • Trust that the calories burned estimates on the treadmill are accurate
  • Trust that those food labels are correct

By 2012, the weight loss industry is projected to swell to $2 trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money. Isn’t it possible, that in their quest for an even larger share of that low-fat pie, weight loss companies might be tempted to over-exaggerate their claims?

Trust me, they are.

  • Food manufacturers manipulate food labels. Choose real food over processed meals.
  • Based upon my own unofficial experiments, your cardio machine is overestimating your calories burned by about 50%. Adjust your workout.
  • For a diet book to be successful, it needs to guarantee success and be easy to understand. Impossible. You are an individual. The general public is made up of individuals. We wear different clothes. We drive different cars. We have different metabolisms, different dietary preferences, different families, different jobs, etc… Don’t expect a diet book written for the general public to fit seamlessly into your life. Like a piece of “off the rack” clothing, you will need to make some alterations for it to fit perfectly.

2.   Don’t keep a food log

There is a big difference between what you think you eat and what you actually shove down your pie-hole.

Keep a food log.

The action of putting pen to paper and recording your food intake has a powerful effect on your actions. Without the food log, it’s way too easy to forget those little diet cheats.

3.   Focus only on calories

1500 calories of junk food is not the same as 1500 calories of healthy food. It’s not.

4.   Live and die by your bathroom scale

Weight loss is not linear. there are going to be ups and downs. The level of fluid in your body is different from one day to the next. Your weight is going to be different from one day to the next. It might shift a  little and it might shift more than a little. When it comes to the scale, ignore the day to day. Or at least don’t get freaked out by the little ups and downs.

5.   Turn a cheat meal into an All You Can Eat buffet

Some diets use a cheat meal / cheat day / cheat weekend as a tool to re-set your fat burning hormones. The idea is that by temporarily increasing calories or carbs, your body won’t shift into starvation mode and cause a decrease in metabolism and fat loss.

Personally, I think it’s a useful dieting strategy. The problem is that dieters sometimes lose control and their cheat meal ends up becoming an excuse to pig out. Treat the cheat meal with respect.

6.   Skip breakfast

There is just way too much scientific proof to ignore this diet killer. Eat your Wheaties

7.   Dehydration

Q:   Why do people break their diets?

A:   They get hungry…duh

Did you know that hunger is a symptom of dehydration? Stay hydrated. Drink water.

8.   Your lazy lifestyle

30 minutes on the treadmill isn’t going to make up for a lifestyle of sitting on your butt. Back in the olden days, your ancestors worked hard…hunting, gathering, pillaging, etc… The least you could do is take the stairs.

9.   Too few meals / Too many meals

This is a two-part screw up. The first part of this screw up applies to those people who starve themselves while they are busy during the day and then chow down when they get home at night.

Big mistake.

By running on fumes all day, you are telling your body that food is scarce. As a result, your body increases the production of various fat storage brain chemicals and hormones.

And when you get home with that tofu bean sprout delight (or double cheese pizza), they spring into action and slam those calories right into those love handles and saddle bags.

Part two of this screw up is for those people who are trying to eat between 4 and 8 small meals a day instead of 3 larger meals. While I believe that this can be a very effective strategy, be aware that it can backfire. Tiny meals don’t satisfy. You will be hungry. All the time. Never full. Never satisfied. If you are going to use this weight loss technique, you need to find your personal comfort zone between insulin control and never ending hunger caused by tiny little Smurf meals.






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