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What Is The BIGGEST Mistake You Can Make On Your Diet?

By Sam Whitaker

Biggest Mistake on Your Diet

What’s the alternative?

The alternative is to avoid unnecessary food avoidance.

Which basically means you shouldn’t totally cut out all ‘bad’ foods.

For the general population looking to lose weight & improve general health, it is possible to include some ‘bad’ foods into your daily or weekly food intake if you desire.

How much and how often will depend on the individual though.

If you have a higher caloric requirement, you’ll be able to fit more ‘bad’ food into your calorie budget.

If you don’t have such a high caloric requirement, and/or you’ve got a deadline you want to meet, like a photo shoot or competition, then you won’t be able to fit in as much.

I just want to point out that some people aren't able to deal with incorporating just a little bit of 'bad' food into their diet. They don't cope with moderation very well.

That is, once they start, they can't stop. So, incorporating little bits of 'bad' food isn't really a viable option for them.

At least, not at first.

As is the theme of this article, there isn't a single best way of doing things. So not everyone will be able to follow the principle of allowing themselves a little 'bad' food.

But I believe with practise, most people can get to a stage where they can allow themselves some 'bad' food occasionally without it completely taking them of the rails.

I've said before that I feel exercising regularly & eating healthy are skills, (or a series of skills), that need to be practised & developed. 

And that you shouldn't expect to be good at them at the start, or without practise.

Being able to eat a little 'bad' food and not letting it turn into your eating everything in sight is one of these skills that can be developed, with practise.

Another thing to consider is satiety, i.e. how full you feel.

Biggest Mistake on Your Diet

Even though you probably could eat a little ‘bad’ food within your calorie budget, it’ll likely be a lot less food, so you might not feel as full after.

You might be better off eating more ‘good’ food, so that you’ll feel fuller.

Or you might feel that the enjoyment and pleasure gained from the ‘bad’ food is worth not feeling as full.

It all depends on the individual.

Personally, I like feeling full, especially in the evening/before bed, so I'd go for more 'good' food over less 'bad' food, even if the calories/macros were the same.

As mentioned above it’s also important that you don’t think of eating healthy, or dieting, in black and white terms.

Think of it not as an on/off switch but more like a dimmer switch.

A phrase/quote I heard that I really like goes something like, "It's better to be consistently good than occasionally perfect."

The problem I see many run into is that they’re either eating healthy today/this week or they’re not.

They're either eating (what they perceive to be), perfectly, or they're not trying at all.

There’s no in-between.

This is an issue that comes with thinking in black & white.

If they eat something ‘bad’ or eat too much one day, they think, ‘ah, screw it’ and go off the deep end and just completely go to town.

This isn’t a healthy way to live, physically or mentally.

You’re relationship with food, how you think about it, is arguably as important as the actual food you eat.

You could eat healthy most of the time, but if you’re relationship with food is such that you binge on anything and everything at the weekend, then you won’t be able to achieve the long term results you want.

You could even end up being miserable, unhappy & anxious around food.

I struggled with this for a long time, so I'm a little biased when it comes to this topic but I do realise that not everyone's the same

Not everyone will develop a poor relationship with food by cutting out 'bad' food. But I certainly did and I've seen it happen to plenty of other people to know that it's relatively common.

Biggest Mistake on Your Diet

I used to view foods as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.

I would eat ‘healthy’ during the week, but then go off the deep end on the weekend and eat as much ‘unhealthy’ food as possible, because I wasn't 'allowed' it during the week.

I now take a more flexible approach to food choices and I’m much happier and I have a much better relationship with food. 

And therefore have been able to get much better results.

So if you do have a day where you don’t eat as well as you could or eat more than you should, don’t think everything is completely ruined.

Get back on track, without feelings of guilt, as soon as possible and you’ll minimise any negatives of your overeating.

It isn't the couple of biscuits you might eat that has a massive negative effect, it's the rest of the pack you eat because you've gone the 'ah, screw it' route that will have a much bigger negative affect.

And even if you do eat the whole pack one day, don't think of your diet as completely ruined. 

Don't just completely give up and go back to eating how you were just because you had one 'bad' day.

What's the point of this article?

Well, I want to change the way many people think about dieting & eating healthy. Or at least make them aware that there's a different way of doing things than completely avoiding the 'bad' foods and completely giving up when they eat something 'bad'.

And that simply thinking of foods as inherently good or bad is overly simplistic & incorrect.

Biggest Mistake on Your Diet

Summary

- There are no inherently good or bad foods

- Some foods have the potential to be 'bad' if they taste so good you eat too much. But it's you eating too much that's bad, not the food itself.

- Avoiding certain foods can cause you to want that food even more

- Avoid unnecessary food avoidance.

- For the general population looking to lose weight & improve general health, it is possible to include some ‘bad’ foods into your daily or weekly food intake if you desire

- Think of dieting as a dimmer switch, not an on/off switch

- If you have a 'bad' day where you overeat, just get back on track the next day. Don't completely give up on your diet just because of one 'bad' day

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