Losing weight can be tricky business: Even if you’re armed with an arsenal of weight-loss tips, when you’re insanely busy it can be tough to focus on your slimming goals.
Dietitians know these roadblocks all too well, but that means they also know exactly how to help their clients get past them.
Based on their expertise, here are 10 of the most common mistakes you’re likely to encounter when trying to eat for weight loss:
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Mistake #1: Focusing on what you can’t eat
So many people embarking on a weight loss journey focus on what they can’t have – such as no sugar, no alcohol, no dessert, no bread, no cheese.
I like to tell my readers to focus on what they can have and tally up all the filling and nutritious super foods out there.
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Mistake #2: Adopting an all-or-nothing attitude
Don’t eliminate foods you love. Too many people who are trying to lose weight develop the all-or-nothing attitude.
This way of thinking can be detrimental in the long run. Instead of depriving one-self of foods they love, they should learn how to incorporate them into their diet in a healthier way.
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Mistake #3: Not having a solid plan
Not having a solid, realistic plan is a mistake. People should set themselves up for success by coming up with small, challenging yet attainable action steps to work towards.
Start off with a few actionable and specific goals for the first week. Once you master those, keep adding on.
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Mistake #4: Cutting out an entire food group
When people are trying to lose weight, they often cut out an entire food group, like carbs or meat, but this usually results in an unbalanced diet and even deficiencies in certain nutrients.
Mitake #5: Replacing meals with liquids
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Green juices and smoothies are very popular right now, and a lot of people will use these as meal replacements.
Unfortunately, oftentimes these beverages aren’t made up of the right mix of nutrients.
Green juices lack fiber and protein, and smoothies are typically loaded in sugar from juice, sweeteners, or too much fruit.
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Mistake #6: Eating too few calories
We live in a culture that is so obsessed with calorie counting that oftentimes we are depriving our body of the very nutrients that will actually help us not only to live healthier, but lose more weight.
Mistake #7: Steering clear of healthy fats
Many people are stuck eating low-fat or fat-free versions of food, a holdover from the fat-phobic days of the ’70s,’80s and ’90s.
A moderate amount of fat is important as it helps with satiety. Include healthy fat at every meal, in the form of nuts, seeds, liquid oils, avocados, oily fish, soy and dairy products.
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Mistake #8: Not drinking enough water
Changing this habit is one of the easiest ways to help your health.
Studies show that drinking water or eating a water-rich salad or broth-based soup before a meal can help decrease how much you eat during the meal – plus, staying hydrated helps prevent headaches, which can lead to stress eating.
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Mistake #9: Taking the weekends off from healthy eating
You should take weekends off from your job, not diet. Sure, you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends, but make an effort not to stuff yourself to the brim with food or drinks.
Eat mindfully even on your days off.
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Mistake #10: Relying on weight loss pills
The weight loss industry is so successful because we are so desparate to find a quick fix.
The only long-term effective weight management skill is to change the way we think about feuling our bodies.
We need to think of food as fuel for daily living and to fuel it the best way we can.
This article originally appeared on The Women’s Weekly Singapore.