Common diet mistakes and how to avoid them

Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. However, committing to a healthy diet is not the easiest thing to do. PPicture: Pexels/Cats Coming

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong goal. Each year, thousands of people go on diets to accomplish this goal.

I would like to think that if all diets were successful, the number of people with weight issues would be few, right? The sad reality is that most diets are unsuccessful for various reasons.

In this article, we will look at some of the common diet mistakes and how to avoid them.

Not exercising

In a recent interview with health expert Vanessa Ascencao, she said: “South Africa has among the highest rates in the world of chronic disease and obesity, due largely to deteriorating lifestyles, low levels of physical activity, smoking and diets characterised by processed and sugary foods.

Studies show that South African women had the highest incidence of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa at 42%.

“In conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet, daily exercise and physical activity are vital. Walk, jog, hike, work out at the gym or play at home with the kids for at least 30 minutes a day, every day.”

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Not managing stress

Ascencao added that stress can have a direct impact on weight and may lead to unhealthy eating patterns.

“Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, may rise when one is stressed or anxious, which may result in overeating. Increased levels of the hormone lead to higher insulin levels, causing blood sugar levels to drop and increasing cravings for sugary and fatty foods.

“Manage stress by relaxing, meditating, or consulting a health professional,” said Ascencao.

Skipping breakfast

Skipping breakfast seems like a simple way to cut calories, but it can make you hungry the rest of the day. They say this may lead to unplanned snacking at work and eating a supersized portion at lunch, making calorie counts soar.

Breakfasts high in protein and fibre can curb hunger throughout the day. In fact, studies show people who eat breakfast every day are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

Ignoring your hunger cues

Dietitian Felicity Curtain says sometimes our habits take control of how and when we eat. She says if we can start to become more mindful and tune in to our hunger cues, it can tell you a lot about when you might feel like eating, or when it’s time to finish up and put the plate in the fridge to save for lunch tomorrow.

Ditching dairy

Full-fat milk, cheese, and ice cream are taboo for many dieters, but it’s said that ditching dairy foods may be counter-productive.

Research suggests the body burns fat faster when it gets enough calcium and produces more fat when it’s calcium-deprived. Calcium supplements don’t appear to yield the same benefits, so dairy may have other things going for it. Stick to non-fat or low-fat dairy options.