So, you have been trying to kick off those stubborn pounds, but in vain? Experts say even if we watch what we eat and excercise regularly, sometimes common dieting mistakes can lead to a futile wait for the fat to burn. Here are six pointers that can help you in your diet programme.
Diet Mistake No 1: Racing to the finish
There’s no reward for finishing your meal in record time, unless you’re a contestant in a hot dog eating contest! Our hectic schedules have led many of us to adopt the unhealthy habit of rapid eating. "We need to adopt more of the leisurely, European-style eating so that we can savor our food, taste every bite, and get the signal of fullness before overeating," says Ishi Khosla, nutritionist, Escorts hospitals.
Diet Mistake No. 2: Skipping meals
Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast, or any meal, saves calories. The truth is that most people who eat fewer than three meals usually end up eating more calories during the course of the day. Strive for three meals a day. Always start your day with a healthy breakfast, and choose wisely. "Even a low-fat muffin can have as many as 400 calories and five-gram fats," says Shikha Sharma, dietician. A healthy breakfast should contain both protein and fiber. An egg, a piece of whole-wheat toast, and half a grapefruit contain only 250 calories and will keep you feeling full till lunch.
Diet Mistake No. 3: Oversized portions
"We’ve got used to eating huge portions at restaurants and end up eating the same way at home," says Khosla. Experts suggest a few tricks to help you trim your portions: Leave a few bites on your plate. Use smaller plates and bowls. Periodically check your portions with measuring cups.
Diet Mistake No. 4: Choosing unhealthy add-ons
Not only have portions crept up in size, we also have a tendency to top off our diet salads and other favourite foods with high-fat toppings like bacon, cheese and cream. "At restaurants, grilled chicken and salads are not always better than a burger," notes Khosla.
Diet Mistake No. 5: Mindless eating
‘Eating amnesia’ is the act of unknowingly putting hand to mouth, usually from a bag or box in front of the television or while reading a book. It can also happen during happy hours or when you finish the last few bites on your child’s plate. "Resist the temptation to clean yours or anyone else’s plate," says Khosla.
So, how can you kick the mindless eating habit? "First, try to get out of the habit of always eating something while you are sitting and relaxing. Try tea, water or chew a piece of sugarless gum. If you want a snack, portion it out," says Sharma.
Diet Mistake No. 5: Too many liquid calories
Liquid calories from alcohol, smoothies, coffee with cream and sugar, sweetened juices, teas and sodas contribute to weight gain. "When you drink beverages, you don’t tend to compensate by eating less because most beverages satisfy thirst and don’t impact hunger," says Khosla. Switch from calorie-laden beverages to water, club soda, skim milk, vegetable juices and small portions of 100 per cent fruit juice. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and choose lighter drink options.
Count your food calorie intake
Consider the calories, in small portions, of some of our favourite snacks and see how quickly they can add up when portions are multiplied
One ounce of French fries 88 calories
1.5 donut holes 100 calories
3 Hershey kisses 75 calories
Three Oreo cookies 160 calories
15 tortilla chips 142 calories
20 potato chips 162 calories
12 peanut M&Ms 125 calories
Count your liquid calorie intake
Here are is calorie count for common beverages:
12-ounce light beer 110 calories
12-ounce regular beer 160 calories
8-ounce coffee with cream and sugar 30 calories
5 ounce wine 130 calories
6-ounce wine spritzer 80 calories
16-ounce sweetened tea 160 calories
12-ounce soda 150 calories
20-ounce smoothie 410 calories
12-ounce diet soda 0 calories