ou snack on celery sticks
and rice cakes. You wake
up at the crack of dawn to
drag yourself to the gym.
You keep the 300-calorie
frozen meal manufacturers in business.
Dessert is always a 90-calorie carton
of yogurt. And what does the weighing
scale in your bathroom do to reward
your admirable efforts? It hovers at the
same old number. Sure, it excites you
now and then by nudging down a kilo or
two, but a few days later it springs back
to its usual place.
If that sounds familiar, it’s time to
take charge of your weight loss and
figure out what is causing this war with
the scale. The cause may be looking
back at you in the mirror. Although you
don’t mean to contribute to your weight
plateau, it happens if you don’t watch
for these six common mistakes.
just need to eat the calorie-laden foods
less often.” Concurs Ritika Samaddar,
H.O.D, Dietetics, Max Super Speciality
Hospital, “striking out your favourite
food is not a permanent lifestyle
change, which is required if you want
to lose weight.” She adds, “By allowing
yourself an occasional, treat you are
making your diet more feasible.”
If you love cake, Gans suggests you
have it once a week and eat fruits for
dessert on other days. Eating regularly
will also help you deal with cravings.
When you don’t eat regular meals,
you’re more likely to grab whatever is
around, which could be chips or candy.
Some diets allow for a cheat day or
a cheat meal, which helps people deal
with cravings all week, because they
know the cheat day is coming. If your
diet doesn’t have a cheat day or a cheat
meal, add one, if it helps you succeed.
You ban the foods you love
the most to lose weight.
The salad you ate can’t be
more than 300 calories.
When you diet, it seems like all your
favourite foods are no longer allowed.
That just makes you want to eat them
even more. Eventually the cravings win
out and you end up eating too much of
a favourite food. Then you feel guilty.
You go back on your diet and its strict
guidelines, which cause the cravings
again and the cycle continues. No
wonder the scale doesn’t budge!
“When you deprive yourself, you
set yourself up for failure,” shares
Keri Gans M.S., R.D., CDN, American
Dietetic Association spokesperson.
“Saying that you’ll never eat sweets
again is unreasonable. There should
be no forbidden foods on a diet. You
In addition to underestimating portion
size, you may also underestimate the
calories in the foods you eat. This is a
common problem when people eat food
that seems healthy but contains high-
“A lot of people forget about hidden
fats,” explains Keri Gans. “A person eats
a healthy salad but doesn’t think about
the dressing. Or she has vegetables but
forgets about the butter or oil used to
Fast food salads often confuse
dieters. For instance, a South-West
Grilled Chicken Salad with a packet
of ranch dressing from McDonald’s
contains 490 calories and 24 gm fat.
Your salad also
But a McDonald’s plain hamburger and
small fries have 500 calories and 22 gm
fat. The vegetables in the salad make it
a more nutritious choice, but calorie-
and fat-wise, not much difference exists
between the two meals.
To better estimate the calories,
watch your portion sizes, and make sure
you know how your food is prepared.
When eating out, take your own salad
dressing, so you know how many
calories you’re pouring over the salad.
Agrees Samaddar, “salads are best
eaten raw or with a tiny bit of dressing.
So if you are eating out, it is best to ask
for the dressing on the side.”
You walk an hour and reward
yourself with ice cream.
It’s hard to know how many calories
you burn when you exercise. Many
factors affect calorie burn, including
how hard you work, how out of breath
you become, your body’s condition, the
weather, and more. The calorie counts
calculated by treadmills and other
exercise machines usually overestimate
the calories burned.
It’s amazing how hard you need to
work to burn calories but how easy
it is to eat them. Most candy bars are
300 calories, yet they take just a few
minutes to eat.
“In order to reach your weight-loss
goals, you need to exercise and follow
a healthy diet,” elaborates Gans. That
means, if you really want to lose weight,
you need to take the walk and cut back
on or just not eat ice cream.
“You do need food to replenish
yourself after a workout, but it should
be a high-fibre carbohydrate and lean
protein, like a slice of wholewheat
bread and some natural peanut butter,”
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS | JANUARY 2012
ADDITIONAL INPUTS: VASUDHA RAI