The most common diet mistakes made by women

During my years of being a nutritionist I have had the opportunity to not only find out what people motivated to search professional advice but also where their earlier attempts to reach their target weight went wrong. And here I started to notice large differences between men and women. In this article I will list some of the most common mistakes especially made by women, and how you can avoid falling in these traps.

Mistake 1: Picking a popular diet where you hear so much about

Almost every year there is a new diet being introduced that becomes immensely popular and is mentioned in every magazine and website you regularly visit. And all these diets have one thing in common: you should stop eating one particular food or type of food. One year it is carbohydrates that you should leave out, and the next year you should stop eating foods that start with the letter “R”. A critical mind would wonder why there is a new diet every year; did the diet of last year not work as they need to introduce a new one again? The idea behind these diets is that when you leave out something you will reach a caloric deficiency. This simple means that you were eating about as much calories as you are burning leaving you at a stable weight, but once you drop one food or food type you will eat less calories while burning the same amount resulting in a drop of weight.

While this works fine for some time you will soon notice that you start replacing the calories you lack by not eating one type of food by eating more of the other types of food. And then you are back to a stable weight again. Or worse, your metabolism slows down meaning you burn less calories. Again your weight loss will stop or even worse: once you go back to your previous diet you will even gain more weight than that you lost.

Solution: Educate yourself

Instead of looking for an instant solution promoted by a famous television star you should start educating yourself about how to build a healthy diet that you can follow for years. Do not blindly follow a diet because it claims to let you lose 5 kilo’s in a week, but construct a diet that results in slowly losing your excess pounds over a longer period of time. It will be some extra work as you have to read about the nutritional values of food and start keeping track of what you eat, but at least it will be a method that actually works.

Mistake 2: Picking food items in the supermarket for the wrong reason

When you walk around in the supermarket you will notice the many claims made on the packaging. There will be cornflakes that help you get in shape, or you will see light variations of food products you like so much. Some candies even have large claims printed on the packaging that they do not contain any fats. When you think about it you will see how these claims are often absurd. Candies are detrimental for your health because of the sugar content, so why would you point out that they do not contain any fats? And the light products are not as healthy as you had hoped as they often replace one ingredient for the other: the fat content is lowered but at the same time the carbohydrates content has been increased.

Solution: Educate yourself

Stop following the ridiculous claims made by people who only try to sell you their products. Instead of reading the “light” or “healthy” part of the packaging you should turn the packaging around to check the actual nutritional values. Is this product acceptable because it is a “light” product, or should you actually leave it out of your diet completely? In most cases it is the second.

Mistake 3: Focus too much on losing fat instead of shaping your body

Most women assume that their body composition will look much better once their fat percentage drops a little. These women are often disappointed as the fat disappears equally from every part of their body resulting in a very similar body shape as they already had. Instead of focusing on losing fat it is often easier to focus on building some muscle. By increasing the muscle density the actual shape of your body will improve more visibly then when you just lose some fat. Besides, increased muscle density also results in your body using more calories which makes losing fat easier.

Solution: start shaping your body by building muscle

Instead of doing hours of cardio you should start lifting weights; heavy weights. Don’t be afraid that you will become more manly in shape; it will mostly be the muscle density increasing. Once your muscles increase you will not only have a nicer body shape, your body will also burn more calories making losing fat even easier.

Mistake 4: Go overboard with limiting the intake of fats or carbohydrates

Some people stop eating fats as much as possible, while others drop carbohydrates completely. Either strategy can have serious consequences for your body. When you go too low on fats your body will have trouble keeping up cell reproduction, keeping hormone levels stable, and keeping your brains in good working order. And dropping carbohydrates completely will often result in feeling tired and having less energy for a workout. Besides, when you stop eating carbohydrates completely you will often find yourself having an insatiable appetite for more fatty foods.

Solution: build a balanced diet that contains enough fats and carbohydrates

A good diet contains balanced amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Instead of limiting your intake of any of the macronutrients for a period of time you should focus on keeping your diet stable over a longer period of time. This is the best way to reach result for a long period of time.

Mistake 5: Let emotions take over

It should be no surprise but women can be very emotional. One day you feel fine but the next day, or maybe even an hour later, you feel bloated, depressed, and sad. And during these times you are most likely to throw away much of what you have accomplished so far. You might throw out your diet completely for a day and munch freely on sweets and fatty food only to regret it the next day. And that is when you start to overcompensate with cutting your calorie intake even further and doing excessive amounts of cardio only to find out that it makes you feel bad again.

Solution: set clear goals and don’t be too harsh for diverting from your goals for a day

The best way to deal with emotions taking over is to have your goals written out clearly. Instead of following your feelings and starting to eat chocolate you can go back you your written goals and stick to your plan no matter your emotions. This will be in no way easy so expect going of the path every now and then, but once that happens you should be able to forgive yourself. Eating the wrong things for 1 day is not too bad, and you will make up for it in the long run. Avoid trying to compensate for it the day after or punish yourself for a single slip up. As long as it does not happen too often you will still be fine.

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