1- Using low-fat or fat-free options – often lower fat products have added sugars and/or sodium to improve the taste due to removed fats; many people also use more than necessary assuming they can due to it having lower calories. In the case of dairy, low-fat is fine as the fat is simply skimmed off, usually.
Fix – use the real stuff, just use less, or what is recommended, and reap the benefits of the less processed foods.
2- Portion sizes; especially when you know something has reduced fat. Start becoming more aware of your portions and refrain from taking seconds.
Fix – if you’re still hungry or if you have a hard time controlling your portions, heap your plate with more vegetables (make sure they are not swimming in sauces- steamed or roasted and lightly seasoned are best.
3- No exercise – even if you’re active or have a physically demanding job it’s important to get some exercise into your routine. If you’re trying to lose weight, diet alone won’t help significantly – without added physical activity you merely maintain your weight, that’s great once you reach your goal.
Fix – introduce 10-20 minutes of exercise 2 times a week and work up from there; choose something you know you can do such as walking, dancing, yoga and bicycling, all can be done inside or outside.
4- Water intake – many of us do not drink nearly enough water in a day. Often hunger and food craving is mistaken for dehydration. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day or as close to that as you can get. (175 pound person needs 87.5 ounces)
Fix – keep water handy at all times – if it’s handy you’re more likely to sip; find ways to log your intake by using phone apps. Or wrist bands (put 6-8 bands on in the morning, and remove one for every 10 ounces you drink)
5- Using artificial sweeteners – they are made with chemicals, they hurt your system more than help it, they lead you to craving more of it and they aren’t proven to help you lose weight.
Fix – replace artificial sweeteners with natural options such as honey, pure maple, and cinnamon. Learn to cut back on sugar and you will soon enjoy the taste of the real food more.
6- Not enough veggies or using only salad as your vegetable. Salad is great especially if it is made with a variety of dark leafy greens but it shouldn’t be your only vegetable option. Eat more of the colorful in season veggies along with your lettuce salads.
Fix – stock up on veggies, think of a rainbow of colors in your refrigerator and on your plate. When eating out, ask for an extra vegetable instead of the fries, potato or rice option.
7- Not reading labels and just trusting what the packaging claims. It’s important to become a label reader in the grocery store. Sure it takes more time but when you learn what your better options are, you will be able to fly through your shopping chore quickly again.
Fix– look for sugar, carbohydrate, protein and sodium content. Choose the lower sugar/carb, lower sodium and higher protein options.