The top five diet pitfalls – and how to avoid them

Healthy-living – however pure your intentions – can be a difficult journey filled with potential pitfalls. So we’ve identified the top five diet drawbacks, along with helpful tips on how to dodge them!


1. Weekends

Friday comes around and you’re tired – it’s been a long week. So you grab a takeaway and head home to flop on the couch with a bottle of wine. Saturday morning you may wake up feeling a little groggy and treat yourself to a fry up, followed by a meal out with friends or family on Saturday night… It’s a storm of calories!

You’re not alone. Weekends are when most people find it hardest to stick to their healthy habits.

Tip: Plan your weekends in advance. It sounds terribly boring and organised but it works. If you struggle to practise self-control, choose one meal out per weekend and for the rest of the weekend stick to your healthy-eating regime. By allowing yourself a ‘night off’ you prevent yourself from feeling deprived.

2. Alcohol

This is the one thing that many of us are not willing to give up completely. But the fact is that alcohol is loaded with empty calories and has the potential to sabotage your diet. Not only are you likely to drink too much, you’ll end up eating more than you usually would as a result.

Tip: Make a commitment to cut down on your alcohol intake. Don’t feel that socialising in a pub is the only way to meet up with friends – why not invite friends to the movies or to go for a walk over the weekend instead?

3. Lack of preparation

We often have the best intentions when heading out to buy lunch – convincing ourselves that we’ll choose a healthy option. However when surrounded by temptations and the less-than-healthy choices of your colleagues, you may lose your resolve. If you feel hungry between meals and don’t have healthy options with you, the vending machine or corner shop become much harder to resist.

Tip: Try and take your own lunch to work and always have healthy snacks like nuts or fruit with you. Make sure your fridge is always stocked with healthy options – this means you won’t come home after a long day to an empty fridge and end up resorting to takeaway meals. Save, freeze and re-use your leftovers.

4. Large portion sizes

Over the years portion sizes have become larger and larger – and now we can ‘supersize’ our meals and drinks. So naturally, our stomachs have become used to these large amounts of food, which makes it harder for us to identify satiety.

Tip: Try and put less on your plate, and put leftovers away immediately so you don’t keep going back to the pan for more. Accompany meals with a big portion of vegetables or a side salad to fill out your plate. Using smaller plates can also be helpful in tricking yourself into having smaller portions without feeling deprived.

5. Skipping meals to save calories

Dieters will often go without breakfast or lunch to cut calories. This is going to leave you feeling ravenous, grumpy and tired. By leaving long gaps between meals you risk slowing down your metabolism – not ideal when you’re trying to lose weight. And you will be so hungry that when you do eventually allow yourself a meal you’ll probably have an excessively large portion.

Tip: Instead of skipping meals, choose smaller portions at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you snack between meals, choose healthy options like vegetable crudités and hummus or an apple and almond butter.

Tips courtesy of XLS-Medical

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