Once upon a time my neighbor told me that I could lose fat the easy way if I stopped dieting and just ate small balanced meals. At the time she suggested this the low carb, caveman diets, and 6 meal a day plans were all the rage so I ignored her advice and chose to struggle with all types of deprivations plans that made me miserable and turned my body makeover into an uphill battle.
Many of the eating roadblocks that were preventing me from getting a lean toned body are the same eating behaviors that many of my clients struggle with and that Alexander Chernev wrote about in The Dieter's Paradox: Why Dieting Makes Us Fat. Are you engaging in these 7 unhealthy diet behaviors too? The solutions for these diet mistakes are actually very simple and will help you transform your body quickly and easily.
1. Classifying Food as a Vice or Virtue - You think of food in terms of good or bad instead of looking at its nutritional value and calorie content i.e. cupcake = bad, low fat cookies = good. Healthy Eating Diet Tip #1: Stop classifying foods as good or bad. All foods can be part of a healthy diet. Focus more on nutritional content and calorie/portion control instead and you will lose fat the easy way. Both YBFF healthy eating guides provide plenty of helpful tips on how to make this easier!
2. Behavior That's Inconsistent with Long Term Goals - Eating and behaving in a way that you see as good or bad short term vs. looking at the long term consequences of your eating habits. Eating Healthy Diet Tip #2: As Chernev suggests in his book "think beyond consumption episodes". Before you eat anything ask yourself if the food you are about to eat or the behavior you're about to engage in will get you closer to your long term body goal or further from it.
3. Not Prioritizing Fatloss/Fitness Goals - Prioritizing saving money, social approval, stress, family or work over fatloss fitness and health. Healthy Eating Diet Tip #3: Remind yourself daily (with an alarm or some visual image) that not prioritizing fatloss, fitness and health will cost you more money and cause more problems for you in the long run (i.e. illness, missed work days, medical bills, insurance bills, divorce, or friendships based on behaviors you would rather not engage in). Prioritizing your body goals often means a better quality life, more saved money long term, and better relationships too.
4. Seeing A Meal As a Unit vs. Total Calories - The idea that your plate,
cup or food container is a serving when in fact it includes multiple servings
of various foods (or one food) and hundreds of calories. Eating Healthy Diet Tip #4: Start paying attention to servings
sizes and start practicing portion control for EACH food you have on your plate. This is
especially important when eating out.
5. Being Influenced by Food Presentation - The mentality that if a food is labeled "healthy" "lean" "25% less fat" , low carb, organic, etc. then portions and calories don't matter. Also if the food is presented in a healthy way then it's a good weight loss food. Eating Healthy Diet Tip #5: Look beyond the "healthy" packaging and read the nutritional content, ingredients list, and serving size. Food manufacturers are in the business of selling you food. It's your job to figure out if that food is really good for you and if so how much of it you need so you can lose fat the easy way and get the body you want faster.
6. Making Food Choices Based on Other Available Options - When a bad choice becomes a good choice in your mind simply because it is the best food option available. Eating Healthy Tip #6: Look at the food or meal choice you are making individually and determine if that meal is actually healthy vs. just the lesser evil. Realize that choosing the lesser of the two evils is still not a good choice.
7. Adding Healthy Food to Unhealthy Meal - The idea that adding a healthy food to an unhealthy meal reduces calories. According to various studies conducted by Chernev "participants who viewed a fast food cheeseburger rated it as having 618 calories. In contrast those shown the same cheeseburger with a green salad estimated the entire meal to have only 544 calories." According to Chernev this is only one example of how adding a healthy food to an unhealthy one causes us to think an unhealthy food is less calories. Other examples included adding a tomato to a burger, adding crackers labeled as healthy to a high calorie salad, or adding a frosted carrot to a piece of carrot cake (the carrot was 100% sugar but participants still rated that piece of cake as less caloric than the piece without the frosted carrot!). Healthy Eating Tip #7: Do not judge a meal by its appearance. Something that looks healthy can add hundreds of calories to your daily calorie, fat, and sugar intake which often results in frustrating fatloss and mediocre fitness results.