So now that you know how to get started with healthy eating - the next biggest thing is STICKING to it! To be honest, this is probably the hardest part. Anyone who's ever tried to eat healthy or "stick to a diet" knows there are a myriad of ways to mess it up! Sometimes you feel like you're doing everything right, yet still not getting results. There is always a reason..
Here are five common healthy eating pitfalls, along with my solutions to keeping yourself heading in the right direction…no matter what life throws your way.
1. Not eating enough protein
As I tell all my girls; protein is the number one macro to hit when fat loss is your goal. Most people undereat protein and don't understand it's importance. Simply put, protein is the building block for muscle and also important in recovery from training. Being in a calorie deficit can result in muscle loss and this is why it is important to get sufficient protein in this stage. Protein also has the highest satiety level of all the macronutrients so will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Not only this, but it requires more energy for the body to break down than say fat or carbs, this is called the Thermic Effect of Food or TEF.
2. Not tracking what you eat (or guesstimating)
While eating healthy and nutritious food is a good strategy for weight loss, you may still be consuming more calories than you need. Now I know that tracking macros is not for everyone but I'm just suggesting you keep track of what you eat for one week. If you are not assessing, you are just guessing: and tracking gives you that degree of accuracy and accountability. Another trap that people fall into here is guesstimating quantities, they say they are tracking everything and eating in a deficit but not losing weight. We delve deeper and discover that they aren't counting the few spoonfuls of their children's food here and there, the odd latte they have when meeting a friend, the mints they eat everytime they pass the front desk at work, or the few squares of chocolate after dinner. It all adds up.
BOTTOM LINE: If you're not tracking what you eat, you could easily be consuming far more calories than you think on a daily basis.
3. Not getting enough plant based Fibre
Plant based fibre is the carbohydrate in plants that your body cannot digest. Foods high in fibre are usually dense with micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, they absorb water in the digestive track and help you feel fuller for longer. Fibre can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can prevent some diseases. Eating a variety of plant based foods will help you get sufficient fibre each day
4. Still Drinking Sugar
You may have cut out soft drinks but are you still drinking fruit juices or sweetened coffee? Even 100% fruit juice is loaded with sugar and unnecessary calories. What's more, liquid calories don't seem to affect the appetite sensors in your brain the same way that eating real food does. Studies show that you end up consuming more calories overall when liquid calories are consumed.
5. Not Reading Food Labels
If you ever watch my grocery shopping insta stories, you'll know I'm all about reading the nutrition labels. Why? Well if you aren't checking nutrition labels you could easily be eating unwanted calories (that you could have spent on better and more filling food choices) and unhealthy ingredients. Unfortunately, with marketing trends these days, many food items are labeled with "healthy" claims in loud writing on the front of the packaging (I can't even tell you the number of times I have seen products labeled high protein but upon closer inspection it seems the protein content is moderate at best and the fat content is higher) For this reason, I always recommend reading the ingredients list and nutrition label, on the back of the packaging.
BOTTOM LINE: Food labels provide information on ingredients, calories and nutrients. Learn how to accurately read labels and avoid being sucked in by false advertising.
Have you ever fallen into one of these dieting pitfalls? Well the good news is; you're not alone and now you know how to avoid it in future!