Top 10 Diet Pitfalls

You are diligent with your diet (or so you think) and exercise on a regular basis … yet the scale doesn’t budge. Chances are that you are not being quite as virtuous as you think. Check out these common diet pitfalls.

1. Skipping breakfast in attempts to save calories. Polls  have shown that only 40% of Americans eat breakfast. Big mistake!  Not only does this slow your metabolism, but studies have shown that skipping meals leads to eating more later. In addition, breakfast skippers have more body fat.

2. Underestimating calories from alcohol.
Just because alcohol is liquid and slides down, doesn’t mean it’s low in calories. Hard liquor (vodka, tequila, etc.) has about 80 calories per ounce. Your favorite martini can easily have 4 ounces … 320 calories.   A 5 oz glass of wine has about 125 calories. Who has one glass? (this drink actually had 7 oz of booze = 560 calories!)

3. Liquid calories (non-alcoholic) count … a lot! This goes for ice teas, smoothies, juices, coffee drinks such as lattes and frappacinos, vitamin enhanced beverages, sports drinks, etc.  Scrutinize the labels and make sure you pay attention to serving sizes. Many of these drinks have 2.5 servings per bottle.

4. Health claims do not mean low calorie. All natural, organic, hormone free and gluten free foods have just as many calories as regular foods. Don’t get caught up in the hype!

5. Being carb phobic but a protein glutton. I frequently see clients who are carb phobic but have no problem inhaling a 16 oz juicy steak or ordering a cheese omelet with bacon. While a good balance of carbs and protein is important for weight loss, the bottom line is calories. High fat meats and cheese have 80-100 calories per ounce. The calories add up quickly!

6. Underestimating calories in general. It is great that many of the NYC restaurants now list calories on the menu. Who knew that a chicken caesar wrap had 800 calories! Other tricky high calorie items include tuna salad sandwiches (~ 650 calories or more) and cobb or caesar salads (900-1200 calories with the dressing). The problem with eating out or take out foods is that we just don’t know how they are prepared .. even if they appear healthy.

7. Overdoing the healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts. While these foods are super healthy, you still need to consume them in moderation as they’re high calorie.  If you’re dipping your bread in olive oil, adding it to your salad and sauteing veggies in it, the calories can really add up. One tablespoon has 120 calories. And one ounce of nuts (~ 24 almonds, 18 cashews or 14 walnut halves) has 160-180 calories. (this Park City, Utah man likes to heavily dip his food in olive oil)

8. Forgetting about the little extras. A bite of your kid’s pizza, a mini chocolate off your co-workers desk, a forkful of your husband’s pasta … all these calories add up. Eating as little as an extra 50 calories a day will promote a 5 pound weight gain a year.

9. Overestimating the calories you burn while exercising. Think your 3o minute eliptical workout entitles you to have that extra slice of pizza – wrong! Often times, the “calories burned” stated on these machines are overestimated. And even if they were accurate, remember in order to lose weight, the goal is to have a calorie deficit.

10. The more you exercise, the hungrier you get. Trying to lose weight by doing massive amounts of exercise will only backfire (unless you are doing the Tour D’France or an ironman like Dustin – see pic). Studies have shown that many people who train for a marathon actually gain weight!  Bottom line, exercise moderately on a regular basis. Make sure you are eating a healthy balanced diet with adequate carbs and protein to refuel your muscles. Limit the empty calories such as sweets and alcohol.

How many of these diet pitfalls do you make?


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I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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