With the start of a New Year, motivation is renewed and healthy diets are taken up with gusto. But before you embark on your new weight loss plan, it’s important that you equip yourself with knowledge on how to design your diet effectively for the long haul.
Many beginners will get off to a bad start with their diet plan, which then sets the tone for things to follow. They lose confidence that they can actually stick with their diet and proceed to continue to fall off every diet they do. By making sure you understand the most common nutrition mistakes often made, you can side-step this before it happens. Here are five common nutrition mistakes beginners are prone to making.
Failing To Track Calories
The first big rookie mistake is failing to track calorie intake. The adage, “calories in, calories out,” has more than a ring of truth to it. At the end of the day, your calorie balance is the big deciding factor that establishes which direction your body weight moves, so it’s crucial to get a grasp on how much, exactly, you are consuming.
The good news? With modern technology, calorie counting has never been easier. Download a calorie counting app, such as My Fitness Pal, to take the guesswork out of calorie tracking.
Only Tracking Calories
At the same time, don’t only track calories. Some people focus solely on calories, believing that it’s the single most important element of weight loss. Again, not so. You need to be eating nutritious, antioxidant-rich foods and choosing the right types of foods for health. Educate yourself on the difference between carbohydrates, dietary fats, and proteins and aim to consume a well-balanced combination of the three. If you are following a diet that’s too rich in one nutrient and not high enough in another, it could hinder your weight loss efforts.
Relying On The Same Old Meals
Plain grilled chicken breast and broccoli…again? Ho hum. While it’s good to get into a meal routine, don’t resort to eating the same five or six meals over and over again—this is a sure-fire recipe for boredom. And if you’re bored, before you know it, you’ll be falling off the bandwagon once again.
Vary it up by seeking out new recipes, and incorporating a rich variety of fruits and veggies into your diet. Make it your goal to cook using a new vegetable every week. For example, never tried bok choy? Find a recipe using it. Never cooked with eggplant? Make an eggplant ratatouille. The variety will make healthy eating seem more fun and less like a chore.
Not Eating Regularly
Another mistake some beginners make is not eating regularly enough. They eat three square meals a day, and by that last and final meal, they binge eat because they are so hungry.
Instead, focus on eating regularly throughout the day. Most beginners will maintain better food control eating four to six times per day – and eating smaller serving sized meals to help regulate their blood glucose level.
As long as you are tracking calories and keeping your daily total where it’s at, eating more frequently will typically enhance, rather than deter, your progress.
Not Planning Ahead
As they say, “prior planning prevents poor performance”…and this saying extends to healthy eating. Always map out a plan of attack for the day, determining what you will eat for breakfast, for lunch, for your snack, etc.
If you’re just starting out and aren’t accustomed to selecting healthier foods throughout the day, it can be easy to let your cravings dictate your food choices. But if you have a preformed plan, you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating goals.
About Shannon Clark: Shannon Clark has a degree in Exercise Science and is an AFLCA certified personal trainer. She has written on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition for the last 8 years. Her insights are regularly published on bodybuilding.com, askmen.com and FitRated.com. FitRated is a leading fitness equipment review site where Shannon contributes her insights on equipment, workout plans and weight loss strategies.