• Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Beginning a Diet

Are you unhappy with your body shape and have made the decision to do something about it? First of all, well done for taking action. Before you begin a new diet there are a few things you need to know to ensure you don't set yourself up for failure. Add value to your life by making positive changes.

Here are the top 5 mistakes people make when beginning a diet.

1. Using the word 'Diet'

The first mistake people make when making changes to their eating habits is the use of the word 'diet'. Diets are restrictive and often require an 'all or nothing' approach. Diets are temporary. Permanent results require permanent changes. Instead of the word 'diet' try saying 'healthy eating plan'.

Be more flexible in your approach and think long term about the changes you are making. If you cannot maintain the lifestyle for more than 6 months you may need to reconsider the healthy eating plan you have chosen.

2. High expectations

Are your fat loss expectations too high? We would all love the ability to lose fat fast and we know it can be done, but are you willing to jeopardize your long term (physical and mental) health for short term results?

A high or unrealistic expectation may lead to failure and trigger a negative emotional response. This often leads to emotional eating and a feeling of self loathing (let's face it, we've all been here and sobbing over a tub of ice cream is never the answer). Before you know it you're back to where you started.

Avoid this vicious cycle by setting yourself small achievable goals. A great starting point is to ensure you eat a nutritious breakfast and drink 2 to 3 litres of water each day. These 2 changes alone will help you to gain control of your cravings and food choices.

3. Choosing meal replacements over real food

Fat loss bars and shakes look appealing for many reasons. The 2 most common are convenience and very cleaver marketing.

Our ancestors didn't face obesity and disease like we do today. Did they consume bars and shakes? No. They lived on the land and ate plants and animals that were free from chemicals and preservatives.

Humans are designed to eat the food that was available to us thousands of years ago. This includes vegetables, fruits and meats. Healthy eating is simple when you just think about what is natural. There is no substitute for real food. Real food is grown, not manufactured.

4. Adding stress to a highly stressful environment

Working long hours, getting less than 8 hours restful sleep each night, drinking coffee or energy drinks to make it through the day, stressing about financial or relationship problems, consuming a poor diet, sitting down for most of your day and exercising rarely or never.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, your body is already under a great deal of stress.

Your body does not recognise the difference between physical stress and mental stress, however both are contributing factors of disease. If you begin a diet in a stressful state you are overloading the system. Illness is often the result and it may cause you to actually put weight on! You need to work on eliminating stress from all areas of your life in order to achieve a healthy body. Start by ensuring adequate sleep and minimizing the amount of caffeine you are consuming each day.

Learn to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Your body knows best.

5. Taking advice from 'self-appointed nutritionists'

It feels great when your friends, family and colleagues take an interest in your health and wellbeing. Their support can help to keep you on track to achieving your goals. Keep an eye out for the 'self-appointed nutritionists'. These are the friends and family who have an opinion on what you should or should not be eating. They may have read something in a magazine, read a nutrition book or listened to poor advice from another 'self-appointed nutritionist' and feel very strongly about their beliefs.

There is no 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to nutrition. You are a unique individual and your nutritional needs are unique to you. Always seek the help of a qualified professional when making decisions regarding your health and fitness.

Lifestyle changes can be exciting, and the results will be worth it. Enjoy the journey to a healthier you.

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