Congratulations on starting your diet plan and sticking to it for as long as you have. That kind of perseverance takes character, and you should be proud.
Unfortunately, many people working towards their fitness goals will find themselves stuck in a rut at some point. Almost always, the lack of progress can be traced back to a diet plan that could use some improvements.
Fortunately, you can get your diet plan back on track by avoiding a few common mistakes like setting goals that are hard to achieve or just plain unattainable. Ambition is great and there are people who thrive on setting and meeting crazy targets. That said, when it comes to fitness goals and diet plans, trying to achieve too much in too little time is a bad idea.
For starters, this approach requires you to drastically change your diet at a speed that could give you whiplash. We are talking approaches like zero-carb diets or limiting your meals to salads only. These kinds of diet are not as healthy as you would think.
They are actually the building blocks of the yo-yo diet. Like yo-yo dieting, the results of trying to lose 20 pounds in a matter of weeks may be impressive. Sadly, the results do not last. A person who adopts this kind of a diet plan can only follow through for so long before they quit. Until the next reunion or wedding, that is.
A successful diet plan breaks down your fitness goals into short term milestones that are easy to achieve. This approach allows you to change your eating habits in a more gradual, more permanent way. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.
1) Eating out or ordering in all the time
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How weird is it that the food we cook at home is often healthier and often cheaper than the food we buy? It makes you wonder why anyone would ever want to eat out or get take out.
People buy prepared meals and eat out for two reasons: To save time and to socialize. While the latter is OK once in a while, you should take the time to prepare your meals at home. That way you get to eat fresh produce with virtually no additives, preservatives, or unnecessary calories.
2) Avoiding fats
And no, this does not mean that you should embrace a diet of cheeseburgers and fries. Still, your body needs a little bit of fat. The good kind. The healthy kind found in foods like avocados, nuts, oily fish and olive oil.
Apart from nourishing your body, these kinds of fat are filling, which will keep you from getting the diet munchies and ultimately help with weight loss. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so eat these fats in moderation.
3) Avoiding carbs
While it is true that we should watch our carb intakes, it is also true that we need carbs for energy. More so if a diet plan is paired with exercise.
A diet plan will require you to lower your carb intake, but it will leave you enough carbs to get you through a taxing day. On the other hand, a no-carb diet will leave you craving sugars and eventually, you will give in. You will give in hard.
4) Spiking your blood sugar levels with sugary snacks
It is the middle of the afternoon and you could use a pick me up, energy-wise. You are thinking that a nice cold can of your favorite fizzy drink will hit the spot just right.
Do not do it. Choose water or healthy snacks instead. Or choose juice that is made from actual, real-life fruit.
Sugary snacks will only give you a fleeting buzz. In a little while, you will come crashing down as the body releases insulin to deal with the sudden spike in blood sugar. The comedown sucks and it takes you back right where you started.
So, snack healthy when you need an energy boost that will also keep your blood sugar stable.
5) Not snacking between meals
If you feel hungry or low on energy then snack, but snack healthy. Do you have a sweet tooth? Try some yogurt. Craving a salty snack? Be adventurous and try seaweed, or keep it regular with pickles and nuts.
Here is a list of common healthy snacks that will tide you over until your next meal:
- Mixed nuts
- Berries of all types
- Greek yogurt
- Dark chocolate (at least 70%)
- For the salt cravings, kale chips, seasoned celery sticks and pickles
- Every once in a while, pickles, preferably homemade
- Bell peppers and guacamole
Instead of that tempting fizzy drink, opt for sparkling water, herbal tea or juice made from fruits (the kinds that grow on trees).
6) Going at it alone
A fitness journey is a team effort. You will need your friends to respect your food choices when you go out. You will also need someone to whom you can be accountable. This person will keep tabs on you and make sure that you are reaching your milestones. They will give you the encouragement and motivation you need to keep going even when you feel like quitting.
Without help, you stand a higher chance of abandoning your diet plan and falling off the wagon, as it were.
An effective diet plan does not need you to complete a heroic quest. All it takes is a few small changes in the way you acquire and eat your meals.
By using a diet plan that includes all your food groups in their right proportions, you will achieve your fitness goals. The best part is because a good diet plan does not involve deprivation, you will actually enjoy your fitness journey.