7. You eat mindlessly or when distracted.
Do you eat dinner in front of the TV? Do you stop eating when you’re full or when the show is over? All too often, such distraction leads to more and more mouthfuls of pasta or potatoes.
If you’re munching from a bag of chips or a box of crackers, you can’t keep track of how much you’ve eaten.
And plenty of dieters report they didn’t even realize they had snacked from the candy bowl or nibbled from a child’s plate until it was too late.
What to do: Make it a house rule to eat from a dish. Always. No bags, cartons or fistfuls. Put it in a dish, sit down and savor the taste as you eat – without distraction. That means that if you’re going to grab the crust of your daughter’s grilled cheese sandwich, you have to put it on a plate first.
8. You deprive yourself.
Your list of can’t-have foods is so long, it rivals the nation’s tally of foreclosed homes. In fact, you’ve been so strict with yourself, you can’t remember the last time you ate a doughnut, candy bar or slice of pizza.
Then - like so many times before - you give in, scarf down something taboo, and now you’re mad at yourself.
So what the heck, you think: You’ll just eat everything on your forbidden list to get it out of your system. You’ll start your diet over again tomorrow – or next week.
Problem is, you can’t get it out of your system. It just doesn’t work that way.
What to do: No more setting yourself up for feeling deprived. In fact, no more dieting.
Take the focus away from that list of bad foods and emphasize those that are good for you. If 90% of the time you eat a wholesome diet of ample fruits and vegetables, some whole grains, lean meats or other sources of protein, then the other 10% doesn’t really matter.
So enjoy that glazed doughnut – but just one. If you want another, it will still be there tomorrow. After all, doughnuts or candy bars or pizza or whatever won’t drop off the face of the earth.
9. You’re usually good, but…
You always watch your portions. You start every morning with a healthful breakfast and eat only baked chicken, not fried.
Always that is, unless you’re on vacation or dining out. Or celebrating a birthday. Or sharing an anniversary. Or honoring your son’s first home run.
Consistency is key to dropping pounds. Researchers involved with the National Weight Control Registry found that those who eat similarly day after day are more likely to maintain weight loss than others.
One splurge meal in a restaurant can easily undo all the small calorie-saving tricks you employed the whole week before. Derail yourself every week and you’ll never get anywhere.
What to do: Again, stop dieting and start making small changes you can live with.
Find ways to celebrate that don’t involve high-calorie eating (like a manicure) or take half of that restaurant meal home to celebrate again tomorrow.
10. You overestimate your calorie burn.
Gym machines are notorious for overestimating the calories burned by exercisers, and dieters can easily out-eat their workouts. Your 30-minute power walk might burn 200 calories, but that won’t make up for your after-exercise power smoothie.
What to do: Exercise is an important tool in controlling your weight and maintaining good health, but stop rewarding your good work with food.
If you’re tempted to follow a sweat session with a smoothie or muffin, consider these numbers first:
|Food/Calories||Activity/Time to Burn Calories|
|Medium nonfat latte and blueberry muffin |
|Walking 3.0 mph (20-minute mile), 2 hours, 14 minutes |
Walking 4.0 mph (15-minute mile), 1 hour, 29 minutes
|Large bagel with cream cheese |
|Jogging 5.2 mph (11.5-minute mile), 35 minutes|
Aerobic dancing, low impact, 63 minutes
|22-ounce strawberry smoothie with artificial sweetener |
|Weight training, light, 61 minutes|
Circuit training (includes aerobic activity), 23 minutes
|Fast food sausage and egg biscuit |
|Gardening, 92 minutes|
House cleaning, heavy, 2 hours, 2 minutes
How Calorie-Conscious Are You?
Calorie-counting can be tedious, but knowing which foods will send you into a diet trap is easy. Find out how savvy you are with this quiz.