- Thinking short-term.
Most dieticians now recommend that a woman should eat 1300-1500 calories a day if they want to lose weight. If you go on a diet of just 1000 calories a day you are more likely to give up and binge because you are hungry. On a diet where you are allowed slightly more calories you will also be allowing yourself a greater variety of foods and therefore a greater variety of nutrients.
- Going on a celebrity diet.
Instead, aim to go on a low-fat diet containing both carbohydrates and protein such as fruit and vegetables, poultry and fish and wholegrain such as brown bread, pasta and rice.
- Deluding yourself about what you’ve eaten.
Many women forget the extra little treats they have eaten during the day which could be a few biscuits or a Mars Bar every day that you are used to having, or a piece of cake at a birthday party.
Women often seem to forget they have eaten these things or somehow hide from themselves the fact that they have eaten them. But they add up. If you are having trouble losing weight on your diet keep a food diary for a week. You should write down everything you have consumed – both food and drink. At the end of the week you should be able to work out where your hidden calories are coming from.
- Not including exercise in your regime.
But exercise will boost your metabolism meaning your body will burn calories faster. Also, for each pound of muscle you add to your body you need an extra 75 calories to maintain it, so toning up your muscles will also help you lose weight – and look more honed. Many women think going to aerobics once a week or going to the gym is all the exercise they need. But the best way to keep your metabolism going is by exercising for around 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Tips include getting off your bus or train a stop early on the way to work to walk for 30 minutes, gardening and cycling. Even getting up to change over the TV channel rather than using a remote control will, on average, burn 200 calories a week.
- Banning certain foods.
The trick is to allow yourself to eat a small amount of your favourite foods every so often. Women should have a treat otherwise they will be miserable. If you are sticking to your diet and doing well allow yourself a treat once a week.
- Skipping meals.
‘When we skip meals our blood sugar level drops which in turn increases our desire for sweet foods,’ says a spokesman from Weight Watchers. ‘This means that later in the day you will feel desperate for a sugary snack – which will often be more fattening than the food you would have eaten at the meal you missed. Research has proved that women who
skip breakfastactually eat more calories a day than those who don’t.
- Thinking healthy food is always low calorie food.
Classic ‘healthy food’ diet slip ups include olive oil, nuts and avocados. While fine in moderation – because all these foods are very good for you – it’s important to limit how much you eat because of the their high fat content. Just a tablespoon of olive oil contains 100 calories, for example, an avocado contains 190 calories and almost 20 grams of fat, and a handful of peanuts contains 150 calories – and 13 grams of fat.
Another classic mistake is eating chicken – a staple diet food – with its skin.
Chicken skinis where all the fat is contained and leaving it on will add up to three times the amount of calories. Salads covered in fatty dressingscan be another hidden danger. And sandwiches smothered in mayonnaisewill contain at least another 100 calories.
- ‘Going large’ on portions.
‘After a while many dieters think they know the size of portions they should be eating, but don’t realize that little by little their portion sizes are increasing.’ To avoid this don’t buy more food than you need at the supermarket – to avoid the temptation of ‘finishing off’ large portions. If you are tempted to cut really thick slices of bread, buy sliced bread.
- Weighing yourself too often.
Weight loss on a successful diet is usually slow and steady and if you are toning up the scales can be misleading because muscle is heavier than fat. Dieters should weigh themselves once a week at most and at the same time of the day – first thing in the morning. You should also remember how significant each 1lb is that you lose. In fact 1lb in weight is the equivalent to 3,500 calories – meaning you have eaten 500 calories less a day than normal over a week.
- Store-bought chocolate chip cookies
The damage (1 small cookie) 80 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated) Commercial baked goods like
snack cakes, cookies and crackersare the source of most of our trans fat intake. And ounce for ounce, chocolate chip cookies take the cake when it comes to excess fat and calories. Some products are worse than others: If the label lists sugar, hydrogenated oil, white flouror a bunch of chemicals that read like a Material Safety Data Sheet, you know this product has gone over to the Dark Side of the supermarket.
Healthy alternative Fig bars (1 small fig bar): 60 calories, 1 g fat Figs, like all dried fruit, can really hit the sweet spot. Fortunately, there are several brands that don’t use hydrogenated oils. One to try: Newman’s Own Organics Fig Newmans. Or make your own healthful cookies or muffins using whole-grain flour and canola oil. You save 20 calories, 3.5 g fat.
- Full-fat cheeses
The damage (1 ounce) 120 calories, 9-10 g fat (6 g saturated)
Cheese, butter and ice creamall contain saturated fat, which can lead to heart disease and other health problems. "Most people think of lasagna as a good food,’ Liebman says. "But with all that cheese, it’s loaded with saturated fat!"
Healthy alternative Low fat ricotta (1/4 cup): 60 calories, 3 q fat No need to eat full-fat cheese when there are so many other acceptable dairy products: lowfat and fatfree ricotta and cottage cheese, skim milk or even plain yogurt (add your own fruit). You save 60 calories, 6-7 g fat.
- Regular bacon
The damage (2 slices, cooked and drained) 120 calories, 10 q fat (3 g saturated) Pigging out on bacon — basically fried fat and salt — can lead to more than expanding thighs. Cured meats like bacon, corned beef, ham and pastrami contain preservatives called nitrates that have been linked to stomach and colon cancers.
Healthy alternative Vegetarian sausage (2 links, cooked and drained): 80 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated) Instead of bringing home the bacon, why not fry up some veggie links? Morningstar Farms makes delicious vegetarian alternatives to pork and beef sausage. Turkey bacon is also a much healthier choice than pork. You save 40 calories, 7g fat (2.5 g saturated).
- Beef hot dogs
The damage (1 hot dog without bun) 180 calories, 16 q fat (7 g saturated), 550 mg sodium
Hot dogscan make a cookout more fun, but when it comes to nutritional value, they bite! The original "mystery meat," almost all of these dirty dogs are loaded with fat — not to mention pigand cowparts that are unusable in other meat products, plus sodium and nitrates. As a red meat, hot dogs also may increase cancer risk. And beefis a source of trans fat because cows hydrogenate fat in their stomachs.
Healthy alternative Ball Park turkey hot dog (1 turkey dog without bun): 45 calories, O g fat, 420mg sodium Ball Park Turkey Franks are unusually low in calories and sodium. Or try Applegate Farms, which has no nitrates or antibiotics. You save 135 calories, 16 q (at (7 g saturated), 130 trig sodium.