Let’s start this article off right. You are not ‘going on a diet’. Our concept of ‘a diet’ implies a temporary change that will work miracles — if we’re only strong enough to stick to it. That way of thinking is encouraged by decades of ‘fad diets’ that promised us quick, low-effort weight loss if we just ate this one miracle food. I still remember the Cabbage Diet, the No-Carb diet, and the Banana diet, among others. Over and over throughout the last 40 years, diets that advocated eating by a strictly enforced menu have been proven ineffective, or worse, dangerous.
Going on a diet also implies that you will eventually go off your diet — whether you ‘fall off’ it, or return to ‘normal eating’. The secret to losing weight and keeping it off is to create a new eating plan that will BECOME your normal eating. And this is the place that most of the popular ‘diets’ fail. Any diet that restricts your intake of ANY necessary nutrients too severely will ultimately fail you. In order to lose weight and maintain your weight loss indefinitely, you need to teach yourself to eat a balanced diet in portions that your body needs.
Below is a list of common diet mistakes that will undermine your attempts to lose weight.
*DON’T restrict your intake to less than 1000 calories a day unless you are under the supervision of a doctor. Restricting your intake severely can lead to serious health complications. It also will convince your body that it’s starving and slow your metabolism so that it conserves your stores of food. In other words — your body will kick into gear to hold onto your fat so you don’t starve to death.
*DON’T cut out one or more entire food groups, including fats. Your body needs an adequate intake of all nutrients in order to stay healthy. In every food group, there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ choices for weight loss. Stick to the good ones, and you’ll see your weight dropping without compromising your health.
*DON’T fast for extended periods without medical supervision. For the same reasons that you shouldn’t restrict your intake of calories to less than 1000 a day, you shouldn’t embark on a fast that lasts more than 48 hours without a doctor’s supervision.
*DON’T purge. Purging, whether by emetics, diuretics, vomit-induction, or laxatives robs your body of more than the nutrients that you’re getting rid of. It’s unsafe at any speed. You can end up with far worse problems than a few extra pounds.
*DO see your doctor before starting a serious diet. He or she can recommend a visit to a nutritionist to help you design a common-sense weight loss plan that will naturally evolve into a healthy eating style that will last a lifetime.