Are you fixated on maximizing your weight loss? Did you clean out the fridge, stock up the pantry and set your mind on a new diet that's finally going to give you the body you want? This is the mindset of many people who start out on diets. While some people diet the right way, others tend to go off on extremes - in some cases, this means dieting too hard. A lot can go wrong with a diet, not the least of which is over-zealousness on the part of a dieter. Here are some warning signs that could indicate when a person is trying too hard to cut calories.
Warning Sign 1: Lack of variety in your diet.
Just eat white meat chicken and plain rice with a small serving of broccoli every single day for dinner and the pounds will melt away, right? While regulating one's food is good, strictly adhering to only specific foods while not allowing any variety is actually unhealthy for both the body and the mind. People with very rigid diets tend to be more likely to gain weight and suffer mood swings. Variety is the spice of life, eat to live, and enjoy those flavors.
Warning Sign 2: Super obsessive calorie counting.
Everyone knows that to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in. But this simple equation often has people obsessively counting every gram of food, determining every calorie in each grape they consume. This kind of behavior is detrimental both mentally and physically. Related to this kind of thinking is the concept of severe calorie restriction. Starvation will get you skinny, but the myriad of other health problems that can arise makes this dangerous. Speak to a doctor or nutritionist about portion control instead of calorie counting. Calorie counting apps can be helpful in making good food choices, but remember to let your body be your guide, not the numbers.
Warning Sign 3: You engage in binge exercising.
Regular, moderate exercise is key to sustained weight loss and physical health. If you're using exercise as way to "negate" bad eating choices, like consuming a whole pizza, by pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, this is dangerous. Develop a reasonable and sustainable exercise program and stick with it as much as possible. If you do mess up your eating and devour an entire pizza, don't beat yourself up over it. Accept that everyone makes mistakes, and start your plan anew the next day.
Warning Sign 4: Regular fasting or extreme detoxing.
The reality is that there are no shortcuts to sustainable weight loss. Like the danger of binge exercising, sometimes people will try to rectify poor food decisions by fasting or detoxing. There's no "reset" button for the human body. If you overindulge in sweets the answer isn't a weekend fast, it's simply to start the diet routine again the next day. Additionally, no matter what celebrities you may have seen touting the virtues of juice smoothies, actual science has shown that no drink can "clean the liver." The best way to flush toxins out of your body is by eating a healthy diet. Your body has an amazing capacity to heal and detox itself, give it the fuel and time it needs.
Warning Sign 5: You're always hungry.
Some people, when dieting, see hunger as a good thing, a sign that they're limiting their calories and thus will lose weight. Truth is, you'll never get thin if you're always hungry. Constant hunger can lead to depression, binge-eating, and other destructive behaviors. If you eat a meal and you're still hungry, you haven't eaten enough. That sounds counter-intuitive to a dieter, but it's true. Another good technique is to eat smaller meals more frequently. Instead of three squares a day, think four or five small meals. You may find that your daily intake is enough, but you're just not taking it in and burning it efficiently.