The 7 Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes

healthy breakfast options( — The road to losing weight can be a very bumpy and frustrating one. As people reach obstacles and hit potholes, they tend to become discouraged. For all the different people there are in the world, most dieters actually make some of the same mistakes.

Recognizing theses mistakes early on, may prevent you from making them later.

You set unrealistic goals to begin with. The first mistake dieters make is developing unrealistic weight loss goals. Slower is better. Studies show that individuals who rapidly lose weight are more likely to gain it back. So if you’ve lost a few pounds this month, excellent! Don’t discount that, because you see someone on TV losing 15 pounds in two weeks.

You don’t realize that weight loss is different for everyone. While some people lose a lot of weight in the first few weeks, others might not lose any weight for a few weeks. Although this can be frustrating when you’re doing everything right, it’s not a reason to give up. Sometimes it just takes a little while longer to see the results of your hard work reflected on the scale.

You try too hard to be perfect (and kick yourself too hard when you’re not). You can expect to hit some bumps in the road, no matter how hard you’re trying. Setbacks are normal. The important thing is not to let those bumps get you totally off track, but to learn from them and move forward.

You don’t eat enough. A lot of people assume that the less you eat, the faster you will lose. Eating less isn’t always better. One of the biggest mistakes dieters make is not eating enough. Your calorie range is based on your current weight, goal weight, how aggressive your goal is (whether you want to lose weight quickly or slowly) and how much exercise you are doing.

You skip breakfast. Maybe you were in a hurry. Maybe you thought you could cut some calories. But now it’s 11 a.m., and you haven’t eaten anything for 15 hours straight. You’re so famished, you can’t decide whether to buy a bear claw at the bakery, steal candy from your coworker’s stash, or wait until lunch so you can pig out at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Studies continue to show that people who eat breakfast every morning tend to be (and stay) thinner.

You’re drinking your calories. Why is this a problem? The body doesn’t register liquid calories, so even if you drink 900 of them, you’ll still crave food. When Pennsylvania State University researchers gave people a caloric drink (such as fruit juice, sweetened soda, or even milk) with a meal, the participants didn’t consume any less food when they sat down to eat.

You eat fast food way too much. Hitting the drive-through once in a while isn’t such a big deal — the problem is that if you do it one time, you’re much more likely to do it again, and again, and again. And that’s when the pounds really start to pile on. A 15-year study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota showed that people who ate fast food more than twice a week gained 10 more pounds than participants who had it less than once a week. There were also health ramifications: The drive-through frequenters had a higher risk of diabetes.

You skip meals to make up for eating something you feel guilty about. Don’t. Skip. Meals. This is one of the most important rules of dieting – it throws your metabolism off, makes you cranky, and actually can just make you eat more later on. Why does this strategy almost always backfire? The day after your severe restriction, you’ll be eating everything, including the paint off the walls.

You don’t keep track of what you eat. We understand. Writing down every little thing you eat can annoying, boring and time-consuming. But if you don’t, it’ll cost you those pounds you’re trying so hard to lose. Why? Because most people don’t realize how much mindless eating they do every day, especially when you first start dieting. You taste what you’re cooking, or grab a French fry (or five) off your sweetie’s plate, or you eat the rest of your child’s cake at a birthday party. On average, there’s probably 25 calories in each of those mouthfuls. And please believe…all those random little bites do add up.

Green Foods 101

( — From avocados to Brussels sprouts to green tea, a surprising number of green foods can help fight disease and protect your health.

Americans Still Aren’t Eating Enough Veggies

Everyone knows veggies are a must in any healthy diet — the phrase “eat your greens” has been drilled into us since childhood. But fewer than 10 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies, a 2009 study found, and fewer still choose the dark green vegetables that boast a myriad of disease-fighting health perks.

Want some examples of what exactly green foods can do to help you stay healthier?

Green Beans & Blood Sugar

Also called string beans, green beans are a common side dish in Southern cooking. They’re loaded with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes.

Kiwi & Fiber

Research shows kiwifruit is surprisingly nutrient-dense. According to the California Kiwifruit Commission, this fuzzy green fruit provides 230 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (almost twice that of an orange), more potassium than a banana, and 10 percent of the recommended daily allowances of vitamin E and folate. It’s also a good source of filling fiber. Slice some kiwi into your cereal, yogurt, or salad for a refreshing health boost.

Green Pepper & Antioxidants

Colorful red, yellow, and orange peppers may get more health accolades for their cancer-fighting lycopene, but green peppers can certainly hold their own. They’re a good source of many important nutrients, including vitamin C, beta carotene (a type of vitamin A), folate, and vitamin K. Dip them in hummus for a healthy snack, add them to salads for extra crunch, or toss into stir-fries or Mexican dishes.

Kale & Cancer

Kale belongs to the powerhouse family of greens known as cruciferous veggies (a fancy word for the cabbage family). All cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting plant compounds and vitamin C. Kale in particular also has bone-boosting vitamin K, vision- and immune-boosting vitamin A, and even anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Edamame & Cholesterol

These soybeans are a longtime Japanese diet staple. A complete plant-based protein, edamame is a good protein source for vegetarian and vegan diets. While some experts caution that you should avoid soy supplements and processed soy foods because soy’s estrogen-like effects may contribute to health problems, whole soy foods like edamame are a smart and healthy choice. When eaten in place of fatty meat, soy may lower cholesterol by reducing saturated fat intake.

Asparagus & Digestion

This springtime vegetable is rich in vitamins K, C, A, and folate; it also has a number of anti-inflammatory nutrients. Asparagus is famous for a healthy dose of inulin — a “prebiotic” that promotes digestive health — and is high in fiber (about 3 grams per cup) and protein (4 to 5 grams per cup). Fun fact: Asparagus’s amino acid called asparagine, which helps cleanse the body of waste, is responsible for the odd-smelling urine some people experience after eating it.

Avocados & Eyes

Avocados do contain a lot of fat (about 23 grams in a medium-sized fruit), but it’s the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated kind that nutrition experts love. Avocados also contain lutein, an antioxidant that protects eye health, and they’re rich in vitamin E. Research shows that people who get the most vitamin E from their diet (not supplements) have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Avocados are a wonderfully versatile addition to salads, tacos, soups, and sandwiches.

Brussels Sprouts & Blood Pressure

Another potent cruciferous veggie, Brussels sprouts have vitamins A and C as well as birth-defect fighting folate and blood pressure-balancing potassium. Not into Brussels sprouts or kale? Consider such other cruciferous veggies as broccoli, arugula, and bok choy. To make Brussels sprouts more tempting, try roasting them.