Even though they are often made with the best of intentions, there are a slathering of food choices out there that trigger weight gain, rather than help you slough it off. Don't let these stop you from getting results. Here's our guide on what not to do:
1. Skipping breakfast Trying to reduce your kilojoule intake by skipping breakfast is unlikely to help you lose weight. In fact, it may actually cause you to weight gain as you can feel hungrier later, and experience a drop in energy and metabolic rate. Look for breakfast foods that are healthy and easy to prepare, such as cereal with skim milk, or a skim milk smoothie.
2. Large portion sizes It is not just the type of food that you eat, but the amount that's important. Jumbo sized meals high in fat and sugar, and even large portions of healthy foods, can make it very difficult to lose weight. To help reduce your portion sizes, eat slowly to maximise the fullness potential of every mouthful.
3. Liquid kilojoules You might be eating well, but it's hard to lose weight when you drink a lot of liquid kilojoules. Soft drink, alcohol, cordial, and even fruit juice do very little to satisfy your hunger, so you end up consuming more kilojoules than your body needs. Drink water to quench your thirst, and have liquid kilojoules in small amounts for taste.
4. Failing to plan When you're busy or tired, it can be hard to find healthy choices. Don't leave healthy eating to chance. Planning your meals in advance is a high effective yet highly underused strategy for weight loss. Having a plan and a list makes it easier to resist temptation when you're grocery shopping.
5. A food-only approach A singular focus on diet towards health and weight loss is short-sighted. Food is just a part if the diet and weight loss jigsaw puzzle, and it's important to focus equally on other aspects of your health – such as physical activity, sleep and stress management.
6. Not eating enough fat A diet that is too low in fat can leave you feeling deprived and undernourished. While it's important to moderate your fat intake, especially the animal and processed varieties, some fats provide essential nutrients that help your metabolism function at its best. Include foods like avocado, nuts, fish and olive oil as part of a balanced-diet.
7. Cutting out carbohydrates Cutting out carbs might seem like the fast-track to weight loss, but it's more like a fast-track to fatigue. Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source, and like fats, there are good and bad options. Low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates are high in both fibre and nutrients – and fill you up while giving you energy to exercise effectively. Some of these include barley, beans, grain-rich wholemeal and rye bread, wholemeal pasta and oats.
8. Not drinking enough water The average adult loses around 2 1/2 liters of water each day. If you don't go close to replacing that amount, you will feel tired and hungry. Don't wait until you feel thirsty. Drink 1-2 glasses of water with each meal, and always keep a water bottle close at hand.
9. Overindulging on weekends If you feel like letting your hair down on Friday and Saturday night, try not to blow a weeks' good work. You can still enjoy restaurant meals, alcohol and chocolate, but moderate your intake, and balance it out with some physical activity.
10. Thinking short-term People often go on drastic diets in the hope of fast weight loss, but that almost always results in fast weight re-gain. Don't make dietary changes unless you can stick with them. Aim for slow gradual changes, and expect slow, gradual results. Your new path needs to look a little bit like your old path if you are going to stay on it.