Small healthy changes can add up to make a big impact. But unfortunately, so can lots of small unhealthy habits. If the occasional splurge seems to happening more than occasionally, it may be sabotaging your weight loss and health goals. We asked Lindsay Wolhford, MD Anderson employee wellness dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center, how to avoid common diet downfalls. Here’s what she had to say.
Diet destroying habits and how to fix them
Aiming for perfection
Many people start a diet and are completely committed. They aim to do it perfectly to get perfect results. But this all-or-nothing attitude can cause big problems when a one little splurge derails your whole diet.
Expecting perfection can be restrictive and unrealistic. Think about it. Is there anything you do perfectly all of the time? Give yourself some wiggle room. Aim for progress, not perfection.
Never allowing yourself to feel hungry
If we never get hungry, we will tend to eat when we don’t need to. This leads to consuming calories we don’t need. Allow yourself to get hungry. Learn what that feels like so you can easily recognize the cues. Notice when you’re tempted to eat out of boredom or habit. Try drinking water or going for a walk instead in those instances, and learn to respond to your body.
Overdoing healthy fats
Healthy fats – poly and mono-unsaturated – are an important part of a healthy diet. They give you energy, support cell function and help your body absorb nutrients from other healthy foods. But a little goes a long way.
Healthy fats are still fat and can lead to unwanted weight gain. Consuming foods rich in healthy fats, like avocado, salmon and olive oil, is important, but remember to consume in moderation.
Skipping the support system
It’s challenging to be completely on your own when trying to make changes. A support system can provide accountability, encouragement to keep going and support for when you struggle. Plus, studies show that those who have support network lose more weight. Seek out family, friends, co-workers, online support groups or dietitians who can help you in the process.
Drinking your calories
We often forget about beverages when we think about our total daily calories, but many contain high amounts of calories, mostly from sugar. That’s why it’s important to always read the label. Look out for juices that are high in sugar and low in fiber. Stick to water whenever possible. If you’re drinking a flavored water drink, be sure to stick to a zero calorie option with no added sugar. Try to stay away from diet sodas.
Don’t forget that alcoholic drinks can be high in calories. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men have no more than two drinks per day. Alcoholic drinks come in three forms: beer, wine and liquor. A drink serving is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Avoiding these five diet destroying habits can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cancer risk.