9 New Year’s Resolution Diet Mistakes You’re Already Making

Achieve optimum health in the new year by avoiding these common diet mistakes.
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forgetting new year resolutions - concept on blackboard

Photo by: Marek Uliasz

Marek Uliasz

Don’t be duped by bad diet advice. To achieve optimum health in the new year, steer clear of these diet don’ts, and stick with our advice on what to do.

Going on a Diet

This implies you’ll sometime go off the diet. Diets don’t work because of this on/off mentality. Many people actually gain back the weight they lost — and then some — after they stop their diet. Instead, find a diet — i.e., a way of eating — that you can live with.

Cutting Out Food Groups

The healthiest “diets” are ones with a variety of whole foods. When you nix entire groups of food (dairy, grains, fruit, etc.) you can potentially set yourself up for nutritional deficiencies as well as an unhealthy way of thinking about food.

Eating Too Few Calories

If cutting calories helps you lose weight, cutting a lot of calories must help you lose more weight, right? Wrong. When your calorie intake goes too low, your weight loss can actually slow. That’s because your body’s “starvation mode” kicks in — slowing your metabolism and hanging on to energy (ahem, fat) for dear life.

Eating Fake Foods

The healthiest way to eat (and lose weight), bar none, is going to be to retrain your palate to eat good, whole, “real” foods. “Lite” diet foods are often loaded with fake sugars and filler ingredients that won’t leave you feeling satisfied in the way “real” fiber- and protein-rich food will.

Letting Someone Else Be the Expert on Your Body

I get it; if you feel like you have weight to lose, it’s hard to trust yourself ... because you’re the one who put the weight on in the first place. But by putting your trust in diet books, you’re ignoring the person who knows your body the best: you. Chances are if you eat when you’re bored, stressed or sad, or you feel uncomfortably full after eating, or you eat vegetables as an afterthought (if at all), you’re not really paying attention to you, the expert.

Putting Food Into “Good” and “Bad” Categories

For a sustainable “diet” (a way of eating long-term), all foods need to be on the table. The key is to make the bulk of your diet healthy — lots of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and smaller amounts of healthy carbs (fruit, whole grains, starchy vegetables) — so that when you want to have a doughnut or a whole-milk latte or a piece of really good cheese, there’s room for it.

Setting Overly Broad Goals

“Lose weight” is not the best goal. How much do you want to lose, by when, and, most importantly, what are the sub-goals, i.e. actionable, measurable steps? One example: “Eat five servings of vegetables each day this week.”

Getting Swayed by Healthy-Sounding Foods

Salads are not always the healthiest options. Likewise, foods with virtuous-sounding labels, like "vegetarian," "organic" and "local" are not always the healthiest or lowest-calorie choices. Be a smart consumer by looking up nutrition facts for the chains you go to frequently, and get some basic nutrition education so you can get a better idea of what’s in your food.

Skipping Meals

Eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism revved. When you skip meals, that slows your metabolism down and also makes you extra hungry when you do eat, priming you to overeat.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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