A diet means different things to different people. However the most common mistake made by dieters revolves around the degree to which they cut their calories. Usually, in the excitement and novelty of a new diet, we tend to cut too much. This causes a serious caloric deficit that can actually work against our weight loss goals. You may not realize that when you cut your calories too significantly, your body enters a sort of “starvation mode” that slows the metabolism and retains additional fat. Further, extreme dieting is hard, if not impossible to sustain. Eventually, when we can no longer follow our diet, we return to our former bad habits and regain weight – sometime adding even more than before.
The above illustrates why it is so important to diet in moderation. But what exactly does moderation mean? To begin with, cutting out refined sugars is a surefire way to lose weight. Refined sugars are those empty calories that offer a short-term energy boost, but no nutrition. Reducing or eliminating these sugars can curb hunger and eliminate hundreds of calories every week without sacrificing nutrition. Start by forgoing one indulgence at a time – eliminating sugar in your your tea or coffee, cutting out sodas and energy drinks and foregoing dessert, for example. Reducing some of the saturated fats you consume is also helpful in maintaining heart health and healthy cholesterol levels. Replacing processed foods with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats is the fastest way to do so. Reducing the quantity of starches you eat can also go a long way in losing weight, but remember, good starches are part of a balanced diet.
Dieting is a fine balance between calorie reduction and appropriate nutritional intake. Many of us can eliminate hundreds if not thousands of calories a week just by forgoing some of the most egregious and unnecessary items in our diets. Recognizing that dieting in moderation may be a slower, but more sustainable weight loss option can help ensure our diets are effective, safe and long-lasting.