Being confused about carbs
Experts say you should never cut any food group out of your diet — including carbohydrates. Equally important is to learn which carbohydrates give you the biggest bang for your nutritional buck.
It’s a lot harder to run amock when you are including carbohydrates like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
Assuming your choices are better than they actually are
Whenever possible, eat whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods. Even when you eat them in smaller amounts, you’re likely to get a well-rounded group of nutrients. When buying packaged foods, put in at least as much time into reading labels and selecting products as you do when choosing a shower gel or shampoo. Don’t just assume a product is healthy — even if it’s in the health food section of the supermarket. You’ve got to read the labels.
Eating too much
People also tend to believe that they can eat larger portions if all the food on their plate meets the guidelines of their current diet — such as low-carb or low-fat — and that, of course, is also not true.
Remain conscious of portion sizes. Weigh and measure standard portions, at least at first, so you’ll know what the amounts should look like. And never use restaurant portions as your guide — they super-size everything.
Not eating enough — or often enough
While overeating and under eating may seem like contradictory nutrition mistakes, they are related. If you don’t eat at regular intervals throughout the day, you risk disrupting your blood sugar and insulin levels, which in the end can promote fat storage and lower your metabolism — both of which lead to weight gain. Eat something every four hours and never let yourself “starve” from one meal to the next.
Taking too many supplements
People tend to forget that a vitamin pill is a supplement — it’s meant to complement your diet, not act as a stand-in for the foods you don’t eat. What’s more, taking too many vitamins can end up sabotaging your good health. Experts recommend taking no more than one all-purpose multivitamin daily. Don’t supplement your diet with individual nutrients without the guidance of your doctor, nutritionist, or other health expert. Keep in mind that the sales clerk in the health food store is usually not a health expert.
While most folks believe nutrition is all about food, it’s also about how your body uses food — and that’s where regular exercise comes in. Without adequate exercise, you cannot maintain a high enough metabolic rate to burn your food efficiently. A pill can’t do that for you; foods alone can’t do that for you. Exercise is the only way to achieve it. Make exercise a regular part of your life. And don’t get hung up if you can’t do it at the same time every day. If you miss your routine in the morning, don’t wait until the next day and try to do twice as much. Instead, try to fit in some exercise — even if it’s just a little bit — every day.