Weight loss mistakes made by food experts
The adage “Do as I say, not as I do” applies to nutrition and diet advice as much as anything else. Even nutritionists can’t estimate kilojoules correctly, explains nutrition professor Marion Nestle, PhD, in her book Why Calories Count. In one experiment, nutritionist Lisa Young found that when dietitians were asked to estimate the number of kilojoules in several fast-food meals during a meeting of the American Dietetic Association, they underestimated the amount by about 30 percent. What’s more, even the most well-meaning health experts may give outdated advice. Read on to learn the biggest weight loss mistakes even health professionals make – and how to outsmart them.
Mistake: Cutting too many kilojoules
One of the most common weight loss mistakes is thinking that it’s: “Cut kilojoules, lose weight.” This is the most basic weight loss advice, but eating too little can actually slow your metabolism, causing the kilos to creep back on. “Even if you’re restricting kilojoules healthfully, it’s hard to meet all your nutritional needs when you go too low,” says registered dietitian Samantha Heller, author of Get Smart: Samantha Heller’s Nutrition Prescription for Boosting Brain Power and Optimizing Total Body Health. It’s a trap she says she’s seen experts fall into, thinking that an extreme weight loss program may help “get me kick-started.”
Smart weight solution
Don’t fall for big gimmicks. Depending on your size, activity level, and other factors, dipping below 5000 kilojoules a day isn’t a good idea for long-term weight loss.
Mistake: Falling for “health halos”
So-called “healthy foods” such as green juices, whole-grain bread, or organic-labelled anything may coax you into eating more than you usually would. “Last night, someone brought these coconut vegan doughnuts to a party I was hosting,” shares registered dietitian Brooke Alpert. “And this morning I couldn’t help but eat one after I dropped my daughter off at school, even though I would otherwise never eat dessert at 10 in the morning. I’m proof that even professionals fall for health halos!”
Smart weight solution
Read nutrition labels, and be mindful of your choices. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry right now? Do I need to be eating this?” and try sipping a glass of water first to see if those pangs go away.