In three minutes Craig Ballantyne was able to burn 43 calories during an uphill treadmill sprint. In those same three minutes, Ballantyne’s partner Brad Pilon, stood nearby and consumed over 1,000 calories worth of pizza and soda. Their YouTube video “Diet vs. Exercise” gets their point across: No matter how intense a workout plan may be, it will never be enough to counter a poor diet.
With spring break right around the corner, you may have plans of increasing exercise in order to get in “beach-body” shape, but that is only half the battle. A proper diet is crucial to weight loss success. Before starting your journey, be sure to avoid these five common diet mistakes:
1. Crash dieting.
Waiting until the week before vacation to implement a crash diet is not the way to reach your goals. Give yourself time to make healthy eating changes to your diet. Try to cut down on fried foods, sweets and pastas and breads made with white flour. Increase vegetables, lean proteins and high-fiber foods to help lower caloric intake without experiencing starvation.
2. Drinking Your Calories.
Whether it’s beer, blended coffees or sugary sports drinks, high calorie beverages can lead to an excess consumption of empty calories — extra calories that provide no nutritional benefit. Brewed coffee and teas have little to no calories, but once milk and sugar is added, blended coffee drinks are packed with as much calories as a small meal. Although sports drinks may come in handy for serious endurance athletes, there is no need to negate the calories burned on the elliptical by replacing them with a sugar-packed Gatorade. Opt for water to keep your body hydrated.
3. Choosing unhealthy add-ons.
Healthy food choices can easily be infiltrated by unhealthy sauces or dressings drenched on top. Try zero calorie balsamic vinegar as oppose to heavy vingarettes and creamy dressings for your salad. Ask for all sauces to come on the side to have full control over how much of them you are eating. Pay attention to portions; even healthy dippers like peanut butter or hummus could pack on extra calories by mindlessly consuming extra servings.
4. Taking the weekends off.
Treating ourselves to a less healthy meal on the weekend should not be enough to knock us off the weight loss wagon, however it is important to understand that weight loss through healthy eating is a 24/7 commitment. Every day and every meal counts toward fostering healthy eating habits. Take advantage of extra time on the weekend for food shopping and for preparing healthy snacks and meals for the busy days during the week.
5. Mistaking “low fat” foods for healthy foods.
Products that pride themselves on being “low fat” often replace fat with added sugar and other unnatural additives. In actuality the “low fat” option may be no better for you than the original. Research has shown that people are more likely to over eat “low fat” or “low calorie” foods. Fat is a necessary part of our diet and is a component of the meal that leaves us feeling full and satisfied. “Low fat” cookies that have added sugars to replace the fat may leave us craving more than if we had the actual full fat original. Healthy fats like almonds have been shown to actually increase weight loss.