Avoiding Dieting Disasters

You’ve already made the big lifestyle changes for successful medical weight loss. You’re eating more fruits, vegetables and lean protein, you’ve cut out the soft drinks and candy, and you’ve swapped nights on the couch for brisk walks around the block. So why has your weight loss plateaued? Chances are that one (or more) of these ten common diet blunders may be holding you back. The good news? Follow these tips to get back on track!

1. Overeating at restaurants.

It’s no secret: most restaurant portions are huge! Stop the extra calorie intake before it starts and ask for half your meal to be put in a to-go box. You’ll save on the calories today, and the to-go portion will make for a tasty lunch tomorrow.

2. Serving size.

Be sure to read labels! It’s easy to over eat if you don’t know the proper portion size. Many times the entire package or bottle may be 2.5 servings or greater. Know your portion sizes, and pre-portion out food rather than eating directly from the container.

3. Eating too fast.

It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that you’re full. If you eat too quickly, your brain won’t get the message in time – and you’ll end up over indulging. Eat slowly, and put your fork down between bites to ensure you don’t eat too fast.

4. Emotional eating.

Who doesn’t want to indulge in chocolate or ice cream after a rough day at work or a personal set back? Fight the urge to emotionally eat by getting active for 10 to 15 minutes. Physical activity will distract your mind from comfort food and boost your endorphins: you’ll feel better and won’t wreck your diet for the day.

5. Diet fatigue.

If you’re constantly thinking about your ‘diet,’ calorie counting and food restrictions, you’ll quickly tire of ‘dieting.’ In fact, studies show that after three months of ‘dieting’ the majority of individuals quit. Instead, consider your diet changes part of an overall healthier lifestyle rather than a temporary solution to lose weight.

6. Diet restrictions.

Just like diet fatigue can lead to weight gain, so can too many diet restrictions. If you always deny yourself your favorite foods, you’re only setting yourself up for over-indulging. Instead, work small amounts of your favorites into your regular diet. You won’t feel deprived, and you’re a lot less likely to inhale a pint of ice cream.

7. Guilt over mistakes.

Everyone, even dieters, make mistakes. Whether it’s eating dessert at a restaurant or overindulging in a plate of pasta, don’t let guilt over these diet mistakes turn into diet blunders. Remember how much weight loss success you’ve already accomplished, and stay focused on your goals.

8. Obsessing over the numbers on the scale.

Only weigh yourself once a week. That’s frequent enough to track your weight loss progress without leading to an unhealthy obsession over the numbers on the scale.

9. Not exercising enough.

Diet changes are just one part of successful medical weight loss. You also need to increase physical activity in your daily life. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

10. Letting one mistake sabotage everything.

It’s a vicious cycle: one minute you’re exercising and eating right, and the next you’ve overindulged and given up on all your lifestyle changes. Don’t let one mistake send you back to square one. Focus instead on small accomplishments such as eating more vegetables or exercising for an extra 10 minutes each day. Build off these accomplishments and keep moving forward!

Mary Ann Benkoski
Very timely! Have just returned from 10 days of visiting family. Talk about difficult! But we are home now, I'm totally in control of what's going on the table and I'm not going to beat myself up about those 10 days. I so missed my cottage cheese! Thanks for the e-mail.