Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Some Common Diet Mistakes

You know it's diet time when your favourite jeans becomes 'difficult-to-breathe-in' tight.

Some do make it and are able to wriggle into those delicious figure-skimming dresses they've been eyeing for quite some time. Some try and change their lifestyle and eating habits, but their weight refuses to budge. Here's why. People tend to think they change their food habits way more than they actually do. Here are three of the most common diet mistakes most people make:

Sneaking in food (and not keeping track!)

Okay, so you are all resolute and don't order dessert. But what about the 'not just a couple of' bites you sneak in from your friend's rich chocolate gateaux? Doesn't that count? What about the tea and cookies you have when you drop in for a friendly chat at your neighbour's? How many cups of coffee do you guzzle while brainstorming at a business meeting? How many glasses of water do you drink in a day? Dietician and sports nutritionist Deepshikha Agarwal says, "Drinking less water is the mistake people make the most. It's a misconception that drinking a lot of water causes water-retention. Most of us live in denial, or are merely not aware, of the amount of food we eat."

Skipping a meal
Nutritionist Dr Pooja Makhija says, "Without a doubt, the biggest blunder you can make when it comes to dieting is to starve yourself. Just because you're dieting, it isn't acceptable to skip a meal. When you skip a meal, your blood sugar level drops, increasing your craving for saturated sugary foods, which are a lot fattening than a simple, home-cooked meal." Skipping breakfast is bad and you're likely to eat more calories during the day. Deepshikha says, "People on a diet tend to eat twice, once or not at all. In fact, one must eat small meals six times a day. It increases your metabolic rate, which in lay man's language is your calorie burning capacity," she says.

Looking at the short-term
You goal should be to reach to a healthy size and maintain it, instead of drastic weight loss. Sustained weight-loss requires systematic lifestyle changes. Eat a balanced nutritious diet that contains food from different groups and supplement it with exercise and an active lifestyle.

Maintain a food diary
The simple act of recording what you eat daily can strengthen your tenacity to see a diet to target. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty says, "A food diary not only gives you a sense of regulation, but also keeps you alert, to psyche you into eating right. It is great for the dietician as well to keep track since it is a written testimony by the client himself."

— Record every morsel of food. It will give you a clear picture of how the extra calories come in your diet. You can also track emotional eating through this.

— You're less likely to binge or overeat (reaching out for a second helping of pudding) when you're fully aware that you're recording your actions. You will start listening to your real hunger pangs, and not your moody ones.

— Buy a pretty-looking journal that you anticipate writing in every night, and also carry around with you.

— Besides writing about what you eat, also jot down why you eat that particular food.
Keep it for a month and see how it works out for you. Most likely, you won't really need it after that.

You will be more aware of your eating patterns and avoid or manage confrontations that generate over-eating reactions from you.

You also know situations better. Do you eat the same amount while you order a la-carte and while in a buffet? You could make your food diary tech savvy and use an electronic log or a spreadsheet. In fact, if you're one of those techno freaks, you could tweet about your food if it helps you, for all anyone would care.

So forget the diets that promise weight loss, just opt for this self-controlling weight loss method. Needless to say, it is also the thriftiest diet aid ever!

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