If you're trying to lose weight but the scale seems to be stuck, you may have fallen into a diet pit. Here are five mistakes I see dieters make, along with a few ways to fix them.
1. Saving up for a special occasion
Whether you're planning to splurge on chips and dip for the Super Bowl or you're saving room for a big dinner out, skipping meals that day is the biggest mistake you can make.
If you know you're going to be indulging later in the day, it's important to make smart choicesÂbut dont eat significantly less than normal or you'll wind up doing more damage once the chips and dip come out.
2. Sticking to salad
There's nothing wrong with upping the amount of veggies in your diet, but thinking all salads are safe isn't going to help you shed any pounds. Sure, a bed of greens is figure-friendlyÂbut load on a lot of candied nuts, goat cheese, and crispy chicken, and the calories can get out of control.
Dressings can be another calorie trap, so it goes without saying to order yours on the side. Skip the croutons and fancy add-ins for more substantial fare. I like to pair my salad with a cup of vegetable soup or a veggie burger sans bun.
Everyone knows that dieting is a numbers game: You have to burn more calories than you consume. But don't work out to the point of exhaustion. If you're logging long hours on the treadmill without the proper fuel, you'll wind up starvingÂand stuffing your face later.
My motto? Everything in moderation. Keep your workouts consistent but don't go crazy.
4. Thinking that all days are the same
Let's say that every day you eat an egg-white omelette for breakfast, a midmorning snack of yogurt, and soup and salad for lunchÂonly today you're starving by 3 p.m. Too often dieters tell themselves to ignore their hunger cues and try not to eat any more until dinner. The problem is they're setting themselves up for defeat.
Every day is different. You might be tired, hormonal, or just plain hungrier today. You need to listen to your body: If you're hungry, have a small snack. Learn the difference between real hunger and a craving, and act on the former.
5. Eating too few calories
Don't be afraid of food. Many women set ridiculously unrealistic calorie goals, and they wind up emotionally defeated when they fail to come within their target range. Everybody is different, so don't focus so much on the numbers. Keep portions reasonable, and leave the math to high schoolers.