To say that the current global pandemic has brought several changes to our lives, would be a massive understatement. From the way our work hours were structured to the time of the day we hit the sack, everything has been reshaped, in a matter of a few weeks. The entirety of humanity is confused about what rules to follow. In fact, are there any rules, at all? Or can I down a glass of wine with my breakfast cereal? Y'know, pandemic and all.
Of all the major lifestyle changes we've been grappling with since the beginning of this lock-down, our customary diets have undergone the most remodelling. From strictly avoiding carbs to eating a slice of cake for dinner, our fitness goals and diet commitments, have mostly been compromised. Which is understandable, given we are all dealing with a very stressful global health crisis. But the real question is, for how long? We all know how comforting stress eating feels at the current moment, but the impact of consuming junk on your health and fitness is bound to show up sooner or later.
Fret not, I'm not asking you to revamp your eating habits, or adopt an experimental new diet. But there definitely are some diet mistakes, that are easily avoidable, and if not avoided could compound to cause bigger problems. A few diet pitfalls, if evaded, can tremendously help you in staying fit and healthy, without entirely compromising on cravings. And on that note, here's a list of the 10 most common diet mistakes, we've all been guilty of making during this lockdown.
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1. Skipping Breakfast
Yes, it's a cliche. But one with considerable merit. Skipping the first meal of the day seems like an easy, and virtually effortless way to lose weight. But in reality, skipping breakfast can have a detrimental impact on your weight loss or fitness goals. Not eating breakfast can cause your metabolism to slow down, and lead to more intense hunger pangs later in the day. In addition to providing us with the energy we need to take on a new day, a wholesome breakfast also makes sure you don't end up binging the rest of the day out of hunger.
2. Consuming Too Much Or Too Little From A Specific Food Group
Since the wee days of childhood, everybody around us has re-emphasised on the words "balanced diet" every time the topic of healthy eating came up. Then why in adulthood, have we resorted to either cutting out entire food groups, or consuming too much from a specific one? Carbs and fats come under essential food groups required by the body to function at an optimum level. Depriving your body entirely of these nutrients will have an opposite effect than the one you're aiming for. Instead, stick to portion control while consuming a balanced diet of all essential food groups.
3. Snacking Through The Day
Trust me, I empathise with your urge to keep snacking out of boredom. It's perhaps, the most difficult dietary challenge to win, especially considering all the free time we now have, along with an absence of the pressure to look good in certain outfits. But mindless munching can put a serious damper on your fitness goals. Skipping calories in bigger meals won't do you much good if you end up consuming it all in the form of nibbles through the day. The other extreme of no snacking isn't a healthier alternative either. The best thing to do is to keep track of your snacks along with swapping junk tidbits with healthy snacks like nuts, fruits and trail mix.
4. Skipping Meals To Compensate
Contrary to what you might be tempted to believe, skipping meals won't help you achieve a healthy weight loss. In fact, skipping major meals will end up having the exact opposite effect, and may cause you to even put on a few pounds. When your body isn't getting enough food, your metabolism tends to slow down along with your blood sugar levels getting disrupted. Moreover, skipping a meal may also cause you to over-eat during the next one, thereby nullifying all your previous dietary efforts of the day.
5. Only Counting Calories In Food & Neglecting Beverages
This is perhaps the most frequently committed diet mistake, and also the easiest one to avoid. While counting the calories we've consumed in a day, we often tend to overlook the beverages and drinks we intake. But one glass of carbonated soft drink contains a whopping 11gms of sugar, along with around 99 calories. So forgetting to factor this in while creating your ideal diet chart, will cause you to be misled, and underestimate your usual calorie intake.
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6. Sleeping Late After An Early Dinner
You will come across a number of diet suggestions that swear by the rule of eating dinner before 7 PM. It's true that eating a late dinner, and crashing soon after can lead to several dietary problems like indigestion, heartburn, poor sleep and weight gain. However, having your last meal of the day at 7 PM won't be as helpful as you'd like it to be, if you don't follow it up with a proper sleep schedule. If you stay up long after you're done with dinner, you will be intensely hungry by the time midnight rolls around. And we all know how difficult it is to resist midnight snack cravings. You'll also wake up hungrier, which might cause you to consume more throughout the next day.
7. Not Hydrating Sufficiently
Drinking water is one of the easiest, and also the most neglected strategies to boost fat-burning in your body. Studies have indicated that people who follow a balanced diet perfectly tuned for healthy weight loss, will lose less weight if they are dehydrated than with optimal consumption of water. The logic is quite simple. When your body is dehydrated, it isn't able to burn fat effectively. If you're dehydrated, you're also likely to confuse thirst for hunger and thereby consume more calories to satisfy your hunger pangs, which are actually signs that your body needs more water.
8. Eliminating All Forms Of Dairy
If you're lactose intolerant it's a different matter altogether. But research studies indicate that your body is more likely to burn fat at an optimum level, when it's getting a sufficient amount of calcium. Simply put, your body tends to produce more fat when its calcium deprived, and burn more fat when it's getting an adequate supply of calcium. If you're sceptical about including dairy in your diet, you can opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy options.
9. Not Consuming Enough Fiber
When we plan our ideal diets, we tend to emphasise on cutting out carbs and fat, and loading up on proteins. But a nutrient that's often over-looked and yet has a significant impact on weight loss is dietary fibre. Your body needs roughage and fibre to break down calories at an optimum level. From boosting your immunity and metabolism to maintaining a healthy indigestion-free gut and achieving healthy weight loss, adequate consumption of food rich in roughage and fibre has been linked to several health benefits.
10. Eating At Odd Times
A consistent dietary schedule is essential for your metabolism to function at its optimum level. Eating at odd and inconsistent hours can not only negatively impact your metabolism, but some studies have also indicated meals at inappropriate times can have a major impact on our body or circadian clocks. Irregular meals have also been found to be linked with problems like obesity, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. So not just for the sake of being fit, but you should have a set eating schedule that allows for only rare exceptions, for better physical and mental well-being.
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