When you consider how easy it is to put on weight, trying to shift a few kilos can be incredibly hard work. You could be beasting yourself in exercise classes and being vigilant with your Nutribullet breakfasts and yet still not see any real difference in your body shape. It’s frustrating and disheartening and enough to make us want to launch our Nutribullet at the closest wall (or fill it with bananas, ice cream and Nutella).
However, according to Atkins Lifestyle nutritionist Linda O’Byrne, people often sabotage their own diet plans without even knowing it, simply with poor lifestyle habits. She says, “Poor nutrition can tire you out faster and increase the chances that you’ll burn lean muscle mass as energy, which can slow your metabolism.” Here O’Byrne tells us the ten most common diet mistakes people make and how to change them.
1. Don’t cut calories too low
By doing so, you not only risk lowering your metabolic rate and therefore making it even harder to get fit, but you rob your body – and brain – of vital nutrients it needs to function properly. So cut the junk, but don’t do so to the point of starvation.
2. Include in-between meal snacks
Snacking keeps your blood sugar levels stable, so you feel more energised and less preoccupied with a rumbling tummy. Try the ‘Atkins Advantage Chocolate Brownie Bar’ which has only 1.1g of sugar, 3.1g of carbohydrates and 18g of protein per 60g serving.
3. Don’t skimp on fats
Fats are a pre-requisite when following a low carbohydrate lifestyle; they provide vital fuel for the brain. So add avocado to salads, drizzle veggies with olive oil, and eat fatty fish, such as salmon, at least twice a week.
4. Stay hydrated
Sometimes dehydration can result in brain fog, a situation described as feelings of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity. So aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. When you enter the low-carbohydrate lifestyle, your body sheds excess water, as carbs make the body retain water, so it’s important that you drink up.
5. Get your daily salt
When your body sheds the excess water, you may also lose some essential electrolytes. Get some table salt, soya sauce, or broth every day to replace the sodium your body has lost.
6. Have protein with every meal
Protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer and replenishes your body with vital amino acids, particularly when you are exercising intensely. So aim for 4-6oz of poultry, fish or meat, eggs and other forms of protein with every meal.
7. Reduce sugary foods and refined carbs
Refined carbs means white bread, pasta and white rice. These types of ‘bad’ carbs cause your blood sugar levels to rise and drop, making you feel energised for a short time, followed by a crash. These fluctuations can also affect your mood and leave you feeling upset and irritable.
8. Be prepared
Clear your cupboards of junk and stock up on proteins, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. Make meals in bulk and freeze them so that you have delicious, nutritious food available quickly.
9. Be kind to yourself
You’d not be human if you didn’t give into temptation every now and then, especially when dining out, having friends over, or going to a party. So if you slip up, move on from it. Beating yourself up will leave you feeling depressed and disappointed, so get right back on the wagon and you’ll soon be in fat-burning mode again!
10. Be patient
If you’ve put on some weight, then it’s not happened overnight – and neither will you be able to lose the weight overnight either. Remember, slower weight loss is easier to maintain so aim for 1-2lbs (0.5-1kg) per week and lose weight in a healthy way.
For more on Atkins Lifestyle, visit meuk.atkins.com.