As any dieter knows, there is a lot of information floating around about diet and exercise - not all of it good.
The worst part is that some of what you read can actually sabotage your weight-loss and make you fatter! Let's separate fact from fiction and look at seven of the most common mistakes dieters make.
1.Cutting To Much Fat
Many dieters believe that the less fat they eat, the less they'll have on their body.
What they don't realize is that fats are important because they make us feel satiated and support regular body functions.
Fat is also digested rather slowly, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels.Eat too little of it, and you could find yourself snacking more frequently but feeling less satisfied.
Plus, many fat-free foods contain a surprising amount of sugar to improve their flavor, and sugar can lead to even stronger cravings.
Instead of cutting all fat from your diet, try consuming moderate portions of heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts, olive oil, reduced-fat dairy products and salmon.
These will fill you while supporting your health.
2.Cutting Too Many Carbs
Like fats, carbs have a place in a healthy diet.
If you dramatically cut your carb intake, you might notice a quick initial weight loss.
This is water weight.
When your muscles store carbohydrates, they also store water.
When you burn through these carbohydrate stores, you also secrete the extra water.
The pounds you lose in this fashion will be quickly regained when you start eating carbohydrates again.
Carbs are an important energy source.
They also promote a sense of well-being.
The secret is to eat a reasonable amount of complex carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds nuts, and beans.
Avoid simple sugars like soda and candy. They are a source of empty calories and will only increase your cravings for more sweets.
3.Cutting Too Many Calories
All effective weight loss boils down to one simple rule. You must burn more calories than you consume.
You shouldn't over do the deficit though.
If you eat too little, you risk setting yourself up for a hunger-induced binge.
But that won't be your biggest problem because your body will rebel by slowing down its metabolism and losing lean muscle mass.
You can avoid this by eating a minimum of 1,200 calories each day. If you exercise, you should increase your calories accordingly.
A weekly caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will result in the loss of one pound.
4.Avoiding Dairy Products
Dairy products have a bad reputation among dieters who consider them to be too high in fat and lactose.
While it's true that too much whole milk and rich cheese can contribute to weight gain, there is ample evidence that low-fat dairy products are an excellent choice for dieters.
Dairy products contain a hormone called calcitriol.
This hormone tells your body to burn more fat and to convert less sugar to fat.
Plus, the protein in dairy products helps you feel fuller longer.
Try to consume three servings of low-fat dairy each day.
5.Following The Latest Fad
Nobody likes to fail at their diet, but some of the popular diet plans you read about in the headlines are simply unrealistic and unhealthy.
Who can live on a diet of lemonade and maple syrup. Who can be happy eating nothing but cabbage soup.
Nobody, that's who.
The very best diet is a well-balanced eating plan that you can comfortably stick with for the rest of your life.
If a diet is too drastic or unnatural, it's not a viable lifestyle choice.
6.Using Natural Or Herbal Stimulants
Caffeine and ephedra are often touted as natural weight-loss aids and hunger reducers.
While these stimulants can make you feel less hungry, they can also cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations and stress.
When your body is stressed, it produces too much of the hormone cortisol, which causes your body to go into survival mode.
While in this mode, your body sends out signals for you to eat more food, which it then stores as extra fat.
Nobody needs stimulants to help them lose weight.
Reduce your hunger by reducing the stress in your life and eating small, frequent, nutritious meals.
7.Avoiding Strength-Training Exercises
Some dieters, particularly women, avoid strength-training because they don't want to bulk up and gain weight.
This is unfortunate because muscles speed up your metabolism.
Strength training actually promotes fat loss and, like all exercise, helps your body release feel-good endorphins.
Don't let the scale be your only measure of dieting success.
Get a tape measure and keep track of the inches you'll lose when you add strength-training to your workouts.