Seven diet mistakes sabotaging your weight loss

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Biggest Mistakes Women Make When Dieting

Want to lose weight? Here's what not to do.

You've taken the first step: vowing to eat well, starting now. Many dieters are so determined to finally lose that weight that the pounds will indeed start to whittle away. The problem, though, is that many haven't learned from their mistakes – and within a month or so, they've returned to their poor eating habits. Here are seven of the most common dieting mistakes:

1. Not eating enough protein with breakfast.
A person decides to eat healthy and chooses a bowl of cereal with non-fat milk and a banana; one hour later, he or she starts complaining of hunger. People who make this mistake are definitely moving in the right direction, but if they are truly watching their serving sizes, the 8 grams of protein from the milk is most likely not going to keep them full until lunchtime. Consequently, they wind up over-snacking until then or eating a lunch that's too big. Adding a healthy fat to the cereal mix, like slivered almonds, or having a little extra protein – like a hard-boiled egg – can make a big difference in their satiety level.

2. Having a snack.
This is a tricky one. Most nutritionists recommend a mid-morning snack if it's going to be more than four hours between breakfast and lunch. But often, people misjudge the size of their snack and create another actual meal. A 1-ounce serving of almonds is not the same as a 2-ounce serving. Remember, a snack is a mini-meal, and it ought to be less than 200 calories. Plus, it should contain protein, healthy fat or both, or you will most likely be hungry one hour later. In other words, don't just grab a piece of fruit. And guess what? If you aren't really hungry, there's probably no need for a snack at all.

3. Not counting the calories from alcohol.
You would think this would be a no-brainer, but too many people sabotage their weight-loss efforts by their cocktail consumption. Cocktails don't need to be flat-out avoided, but you can't drink like a fish on the weekends and reach your weight-loss goals – no matter how well you eat during the week. And watch the size of your weekday pour – a 6-ounce glass of wine doesn't have the same calories as a 12-ounce glass.

4. Eating a salad for lunch.
Dieters often boast they're eating salads for lunch, as if they think they're following the No. 1 weight-loss guideline. Here's the thing: Some salads are healthy, and some are not so healthy. If you're piling your salad with everything but the kitchen sink, it's closer to the latter. Croutons, bacon bits, lots of cheese and a creamy dressing can be just the tip of a diet disaster. Too much chicken, too much avocado and too much olive oil can push it over the edge. So just because you're eating all those healthy greens, you need to make sure all the other ingredients follow suit.

5. Leaving the carb off the dinner plate.
This is a really popular mistake. Believe it or not, you can lose weight and enjoy carbs with dinner – too many people think more protein on the plate is far better than adding a carb; when you do the math, however, it doesn't usually work out in the protein's favor. For example, a plain 8-ounce chicken breast is around 375 calories, but if you were to eat a 4-ounce serving and add a half cup of brown rice, you would save about 78 calories. A small baked potato (topped with salsa) can save you 105 calories, if you stick with a 4-ounce serving of broiled salmon versus an 8-ounce. And besides saving calories, you'll be getting fiber, which overall may help with weight loss.

6. Avoiding your 'bad' foods.
This is probably the No. 1 diet mistake. Ask yourself: What do you love to eat? And don't list what you think you should be eating. It's important to continue to eat those foods you really love – though you likely think you should avoid them. Sound crazy? Well, whenever someone completely avoids the foods they love, they inevitably feel deprived and give up on healthy eating. The key is to find a way to keep the favorites in the mix without sabotaging weight-loss goals. For example: Occasionally having a slice of pizza for lunch with a side salad, so you don't wind up wanting to sit down for an entire pie. Enjoying French fries with your burger, but losing the bun. Sharing dessert at a restaurant when dining out, while consciously passing on the breadbasket.

7. Trying the next fad diet.
If you hear about a diet that promises quick weight loss, run. If you hear about a diet that eliminates food groups, run faster. And if you think trying yet another diet instead of attempting to make lifestyle changes is the answer, think again.

Best diets for every budget:
Best Diets for Every Budget
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Seven diet mistakes sabotaging your weight loss
Named U.S. News and World Report's best overall diet for four years in a row, this diet is definitely worth investigating. The DASH Diet integrates whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, low- or non-fat dairy and fish or poultry, while limiting high-fat foods, salt and red meat. While fresh fruits and vegetable will cost you, cutting most red meat from you diet will make this diet wallet-friendly.
While the Paleo diet (eating like our ancestors did) isn't usually thought to be a low-price option, there are some simple ways you can do it on the cheap. Paleo Diet Lifestyle recommends buying products like olive oil in bulk, choosing cheap cuts and buying bone-in meats and buying whole or canned fish.
Traditional Mediterranean diets are proven to be incredible for your health! Even better, according to LearnVest, if you choose an inexpensive olive oil and stay away from the pricier varieties of products like tuna steak and chardonnay, you can expect to keep your bill within reason.
People often report feeling better, mentally and physically, after giving up gluten. This diet can be affordable if you follow one rule: eat foods that are naturally free of gluten. Products made specifically for gluten-free diets are often pricey. Opt for frozen or in-season fruits and veggies to keep produce prices low.
LearnVest calls the vegan diet "a steal" if done smartly. Be sure to cook for yourself rather than buy expensive prepared vegan cuisine. You can also find tofu for just half the price of ground beef per pound.

The Atkins diet helps dieters lose weight by cutting carbs from their diets. To make this protein-rich diet budget-friendly, try underrated cuts such as chuck and sirloin, always buy whole chickens and experiment with pork.

This government-endorsed diet centers around lowering cholesterol and begins with setting calorie goals. These calorie levels and limits on dietary cholesterol should curb overeating and help keep you within your budget. Cutting fatty meats can also help your bill.
The flexitarian diet closely resembles a vegetarian diet, but when a craving for meat strikes, they indulge. Flexitarians not only weigh 15 percent less than carnivores, but they also save money by spending less on pricey meat.
Number nine on U.S. News and World Report's best overall diets, the Ornish diet focuses on the overarching way you eat, exercise and live rather than on the specifics of your diet. Since the diet is so individualized, most of the time, it can work with any budget. Still, planning ahead and buying in bulk can keep costs down.
This trusted diet can help you shed between 6 and 10 pounds in two weeks and 1 to 2 pounds each week after until you reach your goal. The diet concept is split into two concepts, "Lose It" and "Live It." Dieters are discouraged from dining out during the "Lose It" stage and encouraged to cook at home, keeping your wallet happy.

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