Diets are never easy! You are faced with temptations every day, and you have to fight to eat healthy and avoid the foods that will do more harm than good. Here are a few diet traps to watch out for:
Cooking Whatever is in the Fridge
If you want to stick with a diet, you need to have a plan! People who rummage through the fridge to find ingredients for a meal often end up cooking whatever is quick and easy, rather than the healthy option. Make a weekly menu, and only stock up on those items that you need. It may feel limiting at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll see that it’s much easier to stay faithful to your diet.
Shopping Without a Plan
When you walk into the supermarket, do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the food choices? Of course you do! Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed, make a shopping list and ONLY buy what’s on the list. If you didn’t write it down, don’t buy it and figure out how to make do without that item until your next shopping trip. It will help you stick with your diet plan much more faithfully.
Late Night Snacking
Not only is it bad for you to eat calories so close to bedtime (when your body shuts down for the night), but you’re far more likely to eat the WRONG type of calories. You usually end up eating “comfort foods”–sweets, treats, cookies, cakes, and baked goods. How many times have you had a veggie smoothie as your night snack? Probably not many, so it’s always best to avoid snacking in the evening!
Eating While Doing Other Things
Instead of watching TV, playing video games, or reading a book while you eat, why not sit at your table and spend time with friends and family? People who eat while doing other things are far more likely to overeat, as they pay less attention to the food they’re putting in their bodies. The problem is even greater when a dessert rolls around! When you combine eating with other activities, you are less aware of what you are eating, and thus more likely to overindulge.
Eating Too Quickly
When you eat quickly, you end up eating more. This is because you stuff food into your stomach before your gut has a chance to realize and signal to your brain that you are full. Slow down when you eat, and make sure to take at least 30 seconds per bite. You’ll be far less tempted to eat more later on, and you’ll fill up more quickly.
Eating Low Fat
There is no such thing as “healthy low fat food”. If the food naturally has a lot of fat, either eat it with the fat or avoid it altogether. There are healthy fats, such as nuts, avocadoes, coconut oil, olive oil, and red meat (in limitation). Low fat is not the same as healthy!
Drinking Your Meals
While some people find that liquid meal alternatives (like smoothies and protein shakes) are a good option to help them avoid overeating, the truth is that it’s easier for your body to feel full when your stomach is filled with solid food. Solid food will curb your hunger more efficiently than liquids, so limit yourself to one liquid meal per day.
Stress is a pretty normal part of life, but it can lead to serious problems with your diet and weight loss efforts! When stressed, your brain perceives high-calorie foods (like sweets, treats, and your favorite fast foods) as “pleasurable”. You’re more likely to eat those foods when you’re stressed, meaning you cheat on your diet.