Diet Rules to Break in 2015: Part 1

Posted On Jan 19, 2015 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

Diet Rules to Break in 2015 Part 1

You've probably heard this before: Don't eat carbs after 6 p.m. to drop pounds, eat everything in moderation. Maybe you've set up your own rules of weighing every day, even twice a day, when you start a diet, or your friend dropped 50 pounds by eating six small meals per day. Are these rules you absolutely have to follow in order for your diet to succeed?

Rule #1: Count calories to lose weight

Break it!

Don't count calories. Counting calories and measuring portions is an effective weight loss tool for some people, but it can also be the complete opposite for others. What about counting other nutrients like grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates? This is the same thing, but just tracking different numbers.

There's also potential to overly restrict yourself by trying to stick to a certain calorie level that's too low for your body or too drastic of a cut in calories. Many women attempt to follow a 1,200 calorie diet and males a 1,400 calorie diet and find themselves starving, low on energy, and not seeing results. They ignore their body shouting "hey, I need more food!" because they're so focused on staying under the arbitrary calorie goal. What's a better approach?

Stay mindful and aware of what you're putting in your mouth and pay close attention to hunger levels. Eat if you're hungry and stop before you feel completely full and remind yourself that every bite counts.

Rule #2: Eat 5-6 meals per day to keep your metabolism revved

Break it!

Eat fewer meals. Does the thought of trying to eat 5-6 small meals per day make your head spin? You don't have to do this to lose weight! Some of my clients are more comfortable and have been extremely successful with eating two meals and one snack per day or sticking with a standard three squares/day. It depends on your preferences, schedule, and metabolism.

If eating more frequently prevents you from overeating, stick with 5-6 mini meals. It makes no difference on your metabolism how many times per day you eat.

Rule #3: Just eat in moderation

Break it!

Stop eating everything in moderation. "Everything in moderation" is a vague way of saying "cut back" or reduce your calories without cutting out entire food groups or every food can fit into a healthy eating plan. While this is true, eating everything in moderation isn't going to get you results. Find out if certain foods trigger you to eat more or if eating a little of something makes you want to eat more of it. This is true of high fat, high sugar, and salty foods for many people. Stay away from those foods you have a hard time eating in moderation.

Rule #4: Weigh yourself regularly

Break it!

Put the scale away. You haven't dropped five pounds in two weeks like you set out to do despite working out and counting calories. Why continue trying? Does this sound familiar? Don't be a slave to the scale and refrain from weighing yourself for the first four weeks. After this, weigh yourself once every 1-2 weeks to measure your progress, but don't let the scale be your only focus. Stay focused on healthy eating, feeling more energized, and being consistent with exercise. If you do this, the weight will come off, but don't let the scale determine your level of motivation and sticking with being healthy for the long run!

Read the remaining Diet Rules to Break in 2015 in part 2.