Losing weight, in theory, seems simple enough. You eat less, you move more right? But anyone who's tried to slim down has come to realize that it's not that simple. What we do know is getting your nutrition right can make or break a training plan. They say a better body is 20% gym and 80% kitchen. Don't sabotage your progress by committing these common diet blunders.
Not Counting Every Calorie
Even for the most disciplined of dieters, snacks happen. And that's fine. Just don't pretend like it didn't happen. It's easy to think of our nutrition when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it's the between-meal bites and little indulgences that can set you back—the vending machine runs, cake at the office party or a few late night drinks. To ensure these snacks don't set you over your calorie limit, use a calorie-tracking mobile app like MyFitnessPal to log each item. And try to do it before eating, so you can make the decision whether or not it's worth it.
Being Too Restrictive
The surest way to drive yourself crazy with desire for something is to tell yourself you can't have it. Minding your calories and your carbs is necessary if you're looking to shed some pounds but splurging with a cheat day or cheat meal is actually good for you. The human body is a masterful adapter. It gets used to the shortfall in calories so it starts burning fewer of them. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that splurging on carbs increases the hormones that boost your metabolism and muscle growth while reving up your body's ability to burn calories. So have that donut or pizza you've been craving, then get back on the road to clean, nutritious eating without derailing your progress.
Eating Too Much Fruit
Fruit is healthy, but keep in mind it's also loaded with sugar. Natural sugar, yes, but it can still be enough sugar and carbohydrates to impede your weight-loss. It feels like you're making the right choice when you snack on a bowl of fruit, but you're likely setting yourself up for a sugar crash (and hunger later) not unlike having some candy. To benefit from the many nutrients found in fruit, nutritionists suggest combining it with protein and fat (like 2% plain greek yogurt) for a satisfying snack or breakfast.
Skimping on Breakfast
"People who eat like birds at breakfast often become hungry and overeat at lunch and dinner," says Kate Davis, a Chicago-based sports nutritionist. She advises clients to make breakfast their largest meal of the day, then eat relatively less as the day goes on. If a big breakfast seems unrealistic (especially on work days), opt for something slow-burning like oatmeal. A recent study found that a bowl of oatmeal first thing in the morning can help you eat 50% less at lunch.
Cutting Carbs Completely
Nowadays, it's easy to say carbs are the enemy. And realistically, if you're looking to drop some weight, you should be cutting back on carbs. Especially the starchy, hand-cut and deep-fried variety. But cutting out carbohydrates from your diet is not only an agonizing endeavor, it deprives your body of the necessary fuel for workouts. You'll also be sluggish and irritable. Instead of eliminating them altogether, try to eat your carbs early in the day. And make sure you're chowing down on wholegrain varieties instead of the processed junk. As a rule of thumb, if it's white—be it bread, rice, potatoes or pasta—you should probably steer clear of it for now.
Volume 9 // 2017
When we started our 31 Days series, way back in 2009, it was an idea that began out of the natural tendency to see the new year as a restart of sorts. Each day, we put up a short tip or trick to help readers get a fresh start to the new year and step up their game. Then we did it again the next year and it's grown every year since, proving to be one of Valet.'s most popular series ever. This year, nearly a decade in, we've shifted the focus just a touch—narrowing in on skills and attributes we believe make you a better man. Little things that have a big, lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Everyday this month, we'll introduce a topic or idea aimed at helping you look your best, feel great and be the civilized 21st century gentleman we all strive to be. Best of luck in 2017 and thanks for reading.