Project Stunning Part I: 5 Common Weight-Loss Eating Mistakes

green and red healthy food

Eating right takes up the majority of the credit to your weight-loss success.  In fact, it is possible to lose your desired weight without working out.  But, regular exercising boosts your metabolism so it speeds up the process of breaking down fat during and after your workouts to help you achieve your weight loss goal faster.  There are really countless reasons why eating right and exercising go hand in hand but for the purpose of this post, I want to share the common eating mistakes that people make when they first start their new healthy lifestyle.  I first got this post idea from Women’s Health Blog, so thank you Women’s Health.

Let’s start by saying that not all foods are created equal.  We’ve grown to love eating starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta.  Our bodies crave them and we enjoy eating them too but the biggest problem is, they are what nutritionists called “empty calories” because they provide very little nutritional values but are packed with calories.  I considered them “bad deals” because you “pay” (calories-wise) such a high price and get very little back (nutrients) for your body.  This is just one of the many examples of what NOT to eat (or eat them at a very sensible amount.)

If you’re starting a new healthy lifestyle (or weight-loss plan), let me first by giving you a pack in the back for taking the initiative to making a positive change!  You should be proud of yourself for taking this big step to loving yourself.  So many times, we forget to love or care for ourselves because we are so busy caring for others.  But if you really think about it, loving / caring for ourselves is the basic foundation to loving and helping other people.  When you’re physically and mentally strong, you will be able to do so much more for others.  This is definitely one of the many life philosophies that I’ve learned in the past 8 years since I’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle from one of my favorite fitness gurus Jillian Michaels.

Now, I’d like to share some common eating mistakes to get you started on your journey.  There are many to this list but instead of overwhelming and scaring you to start, I narrowed down the list to only 5 for now so you can take baby steps to achieving your goal of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle.

1.  You don’t keep track of your daily food intake (i.e. calories)

When I first told family and friends that I have a daily calorie journal, half of them rolled their eyes.  This is very understandable because I even found this practice bizarre when I first started doing it.  But after 3 months of jotting down everything that I ate everyday (yes, a piece of candy counts too), I no longer question its validity.  It works, love.lee’s.  That was back in the days before apps and websites like myfitnesspal.  I highly recommend that you either use fitness apps like myfitnesspal or do it the old-fashion way of writing down what you eat with calories.  This holds you accountable for what you eat everyday and it ensures that you are not overeating.  Before you start tracking, go to calorie counter to find out your target daily calorie intake.  One side note, make sure that you input your food after each meal and don’t wait until the end of the day to do so.  Why?  Because if you accidently overeat during lunch, you still have time to adjust your dinner meal and still be able to stay within your limit.

2.  You eat too much so-called “healthy” foods.

At the grocery stores, you see so many food packagings with labels like “low fat”, “natural”, “healthy”, blah, blah, blah.  Yes, foods like avocados, nuts, and brown rice are good for you because they are rich in healthy fats and fiber but they are undoubtedly high in calories.  So, if you are looking to shedding pounds, you need to either cut back dramatically on the proportion (keep it to one serving per meal) or completely eliminate these foods altogether (if you cannot eat only one serving) along with keeping tab on the total calories for that particular meal.  To summarize, calories matter more when you’re trying to lose weight.

3.  You skip breakfast

It’s a common misconception that skipping breakfast will help you lose weight faster.  Wrong!  From my personal experience, I find myself eating more later in the day with less energy when I do this, which validated what healthy weight-loss program says.  Eating breakfast everyday trains your body to not go into starvation mode, which can cause you to eat more than you need when you finally have a meal.  What if you don’t have an appetite in the morning?  Try a non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with fresh fruits or a granola protein bar.  My favorite is Richland Orchards Greek Yogurt bar because it contains a healthy level of protein and fibers and it actually tastes good!

4.  You drink everything but water

One of the easiest and yet most challenging things to give up during the transition is eliminating alcohol, soda, and other sugary drinks.  Yes, they somewhat help quench your thirst but they add unnecessary calories.  When you’re trying to lose weight, every calorie counts and a typical 12 oz soda can is about 140 calories and it does not satisfy your hunger (and the same goes for alcohol.)  Even diet drinks are questionable whether they are safe for your body or not.  So, if you have trouble drinking water, try adding some fresh lemon / lime juice, cucumber slices, mint leaves, or even small pieces of fruits like berries and oranges.  They look colorful and tasty without the calories and questionable substances.

5.  You eat because you want to and not because you need to

Emotional eating is very common and very hard to fight back.  (There are days when I just want that red velvet cream cheese cupcake!)  Especially women, we tend be more stressed out than men because of our increase responsibilities from work, family, and friends (it’s in our nature to help other people.)  To make it even more unfair, our bodies store fat quicker than men.  Darn it…  Having that said, we have to work harder to control what we put in our bodies and be particular selective about it because any excess sugar will turn into fat that will be parked in the “garage” (ahem, mid-section).  What is a good way to tackle this?  Before you reach for that chocolate bar, stop and think for a moment how you will need to run an extra hour in order to burn that off and whether you love it this much to “pay” the calorie price.  Wait 15 minutes and see if you still have that in your mind.  If so, go for a couple of pieces instead of the entire bar to satisfy your munchies.  Many times, your body only needs a taste of the sweetness and necessarily the entire chocolate bar.  Try it next time and see how your body reacts.  You will be surprise what you think you want is not really what your body wants.

Changing your lifestyle is not an easy task.  It requires a lot of work and many people give up too fast to see the results.  It is not an overnight process and I find that if you take small steps in the beginning instead of dramatically changing your eating habit overnight, you will most likely be able to stick to the plan.  Also, try announcing your new goal on Facebook so your friends and families can cheer you on during this tough transition.

Comment below and let me know if these tips help you!

XO Judy

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