3 Eating Mistakes That Are Slowing Down Your Fat Loss
When we're trying to lose weight, a lot of us make the mistake of focusing too much on what we shouldn't eat and not enough on the foods that we need to help speed up weight loss.
Sometimes, our metabolism seem to run a lot smaller than we'd like — and it isn't always because we aren't choosing enough low-fat foods (something that could actually be contributing to less weight loss). Registered Dietitian Meg Hagar at No Diet Nutrition explains why three eating mistakes we commonly make could be preventing us from losing weight and keeping it off.
Eating Too Large Of A Portion Size
Too much of any food — even salads that contain heavy dressings — can throw your diet off track.
"Eating certain prescribed foods and following a personalized meal plan is one thing, but dieters must also realize that eating 32oz of a salad with 5 tablespoons of Caesar dressing is not doing anyone any favors," Hagar says. "Those calories can add up! My advice is to stick to the proper portion sizes and add high fiber foods (whole grains, nuts/seeds, fruits and vegetables) and healthy fats (nuts, avocados, salmon) to help improve satiety."
Choosing Too Many 'Low-Fat' Foods
Hagar says she isn’t shaming low fat products or saying that they are bad, but that it’s important to keep in mind that these products tend to have other additives (even added sugar in some cases) to make up for lost fat.
“So even though a dieter may be choosing ‘low fat’ yogurt for example, check the nutrition label, I'm willing to bet there is 1.5-2 times the sugar in that yogurt compared to the regular fat yogurt,” Hagar says. “My advice is to read your nutrition labels and ingredient lists and compare low fat products to the regular or reduced fat counterparts. Specifically for yogurt — go with plain Greek yogurt for its high protein and nutrient density.”
Eating Empty Calorie Foods
Dieters are typically told to "cut" or "count calories" when dieting, but Hagar says more emphasis needs to be made on what type of calories they should be consuming instead.
In other words: you shouldn't eat low-calorie popcorn for dinner because it's lower in calories than a well-balanced meal.
“The old school of thought ‘calories in/calories out’ is pretty outdated and dietitians today want to focus on improving the nutrient density of foods chosen by dieters,” Hagar says. “For example, if a dieter is choosing between a lean burger on a whole wheat bun with romaine lettuce and tomato versus a large salad made from iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with a whollop of some kind of creamy dressing, the dieter will probably choose the salad, thinking ‘salad is healthy for me.’ However, in most cases I'd probably advise him/her to go for the lean burger!”
Eating Empty Calories
Before we reject a food in favor of one with lower calories, Hagar urges us to compare foods and consider the nutrients we can get from it — yes, even from a juicy hamburger.
“Maybe a little potassium and lycopene from the tomatoes, but mostly water and empty calories from (possibly sugar and) fat from the dressing (as iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value),” Hagar says. “Compare this to the burger, where you are getting protein, iron, B12 (if the burger is a beef burger) and potentially a little fiber if the bun is truly whole wheat, plus the added micronutrients from the romaine lettuce and tomatoes. Training clients to evaluate their food in this way can be challenging and requires some practice - but is worth it!”