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Dieting Mistakes that Women Make and How to Lose the Weight for Good

Updated on September 23, 2012

What's the secret to losing weight and keeping it off? There are so many varied opinions that it can make your head spin! One rule for weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. This makes sense and seems to work, up to a point. But does that mean you could eat 1200 calories of cookies each day and lose weight? Probably not... So if it matters what you eat, what is it that you should be eating to drop pounds for good? Women in particular follow many weight loss myths that can actually compromise the ability to shed fat. Read below to debunk these myths and get on track to healthy weight loss.

You don't need to limit your diet to carrot sticks to lose weight.
You don't need to limit your diet to carrot sticks to lose weight. | Source

Losing weight doesn't have to be complicated.  Focus on eating a clean, whole foods diet with plenty of lean protein, whole grain carbs, vegetables, healthy fats and fruit.  If you do this and combine it with exercise, the weight will come off.

Diet Myths That Can Hurt Your Chances of Losing Weight

If you want to achieve lasting weight loss, re-think these common dieting myths:

  1. The fewer the calories I eat, the better: This is true to a certain point. If you go on a long term, low calorie (1200 per day or less) diet, you will lose weight in the short term. In the long term, however, you'll push your body into starvation mode. When you eat fewer calories, your body, being the sophisticated machine it is, will learn to slow down to compensate. In other words, your metabolism will slow down. When you increase your calories, your weight will increase, perhaps even higher than it was before. This is called yo-yo dieting and you want to avoid it. So what's the solution? Cycling your calories can help. You can create a calorie deficit for several days and then for one or two days you should eat enough calories to maintain your weight. This will trick your body and prevent it from going into starvation mode.
  2. Skipping meals is an effective way to lose weight: Not really. Again, when you skip a meal, your body will think it's starving and will compensate by slowing down your metabolism. As an added bonus, your muscle mass could be compromised as your body breaks down muscle for fuel. This is definitely bad because muscle mass helps us look toned as well as burn more calories at rest. When you finally do sit down for a meal, you'll probably overeat because you're so hungry from skipping the meal. What's the solution? Don't skip meals. Eat something small every few hours so that you're eating about 5 times a day.
  3. A vegetarian diet is best for weight loss: Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what kind of foods you eat as a vegetarian. Unfortunately, many vegetarians rely on refined carbohydrates like pasta and rice as diet staples. Not only do these lack complete proteins, but they also act like sugar in the body, increasing insulin and fat storage. To lose weight, you need minimize this insulin response and you need to get enough protein. Protein is great for increasing your metabolism (it takes more energy to digest), building and maintaining muscle mass, and satisfying hunger. Some experts say that you should eat one-half to one gram of protein per pound of body weight. You also need to stabilize your blood sugar by avoiding refined carbs. If you're a vegetarian, make sure you're getting enough protein and eat whole grains instead of refined carbs.
  4. Packaged diet foods are a convenient way to eat while on a diet: They may be convenient but they're a lousy way to lose weight. Most diet foods are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar. Things like store bought shakes and bars, and frozen dinners can make your waistline bigger by spiking your blood sugar, which releases the fat storing hormone insulin. They also fail to satisfy hunger, causing an eating binge later. Instead, rely on whole foods for weight loss. Whole foods contain more nutrition and fiber and require more energy for the body to digest, aiding weight loss. Instead of having a bar, try a hard boiled egg and an apple. Instead of a frozen dinner, heat up some chicken breast and have it with a salad and a side of brown rice. If you cook in large batches, you can eat some now and have some for later, saving cooking time. You can make a dozen hard boiled eggs at a time and store them in your refrigerator for a quick snack any time. Eating whole foods doesn't have to be inconvenient.
  5. I need to forgo all carbohydrates in order to lose weight: You can eat carbs and still lose weight, you just need to eat the right kind. Avoid everything that's white - white bread, rice, pasta, cookies, cakes, and candies. Instead you should focus on whole grains and unrefined carbs. Good examples are oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and beans of any kind. These carbs don't make your blood sugar spike like refined carbs do. Also, all vegetables are terrific for weight loss. You can also eat some fruit but limit yourself to a couple servings a day.
  6. I need to cut out fat from my diet to lose fat:  This is actually harmful to fat loss efforts.  Believe it or not, your body needs fat to lose fat.  This is because most hormones in our bodies, including the ones that help us burn fat, are made of fat.  If you consume too little, you'll have a difficult time losing weight.  Just like with carbs, it's about eating the right types of fat.  You should aim for about 30% of your calories from fat from sources such as almonds, walnuts, avocado, and flax oil.


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    • workoutdvdworld profile image


      9 years ago from Perth

      Awesome Hub. Heaps of useful info. Thanks for the gr8 tips. It totally agree that there is no quick fix to weight loss. Eating clean and exercising regularly is the only way to get it off safely and keep it off permanently.

    • Xinox Leugim profile image

      Xinox Leugim 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      At my age now I find it very hard to weigh down. A few years ago I could easily reduce my weight by skipping meals but two years back this no longer works and I had gained pounds more than I could imagine. I feel a bit desperate how I could I trim down fast since I don't engage in exercise. Am taking slimming pills now, hope this would be favorable for me...

    • profile image

      Betty Wilkinson 

      9 years ago

      Good article more useful to me, I will continue to pay attention, and I love discount evening wedding dress,I hope you lot just my site! discount aline wedding dresses

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 

      9 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      Love the article. You are right, so many people are just misinformed. I was at the store recently and a woman purchased potato chips instead of almonds because the chips had less fat than the almonds!! It seams like people don't understand that there are good fats. Fat is not taboo!

    • Miss Crayola profile image

      Miss Crayola 

      9 years ago from Sainte-Marie, QC, Canada

      There you go! At least someone tells the truth about nutrition and weight loss! Thanks!

    • SD Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      SD Dickens 

      9 years ago

      You're welcome!

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      these are indeed the most common misconceptions when having a diet, thanks for sharing.

    • Cashbackshopper profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm planning to make my diet schedule. This article has helped me a lot thanks

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      After I turned vegetarian, I not only lost weight but also became more active. Thanks for sharing this great hub on Otherwise, I wouldn't have got a chance to read this. I am giving my vote to your hub

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Any weight loss regimen MUST include exercise - walking is exercise! - along with a sensible diet. I **know** this, but continue to drive to the library only 7 blocks from home every other day while cursing the 15 pounds I need to lose. ;D

    • SD Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      SD Dickens 

      9 years ago

      Well, I'm lucky enough to have a space to work out at home with the weights I need. I can see how that could be an issue though.

    • Rob Winters profile image

      Rob Winters 

      9 years ago

      No Probs - In fairness aside from the misperceptions some women can have with this regard,a lot of gyms(inadvertently anyway) don't make it that easy. It can be intimidating enough for some men to go into a gym initially and start lifting weights if they're not sure what their doing or self concious of their bodies and what they can lift etc(you know what some guys are like).It must be so much more diff to mix in among groups of all men and start lifting weights if you're a woman - but as stated the benefits are great and it does get a lot easier with familiarity. Those intimidating faces lose their initial 'percieved menace' with a little time and mostly the guys are quite helpful to each other and any ladies brave enough to enter "their lair" so to speak.

    • SD Dickens profile imageAUTHOR

      SD Dickens 

      9 years ago

      Rob - Totally agree about the weight training comments you made. I also believe that many women are afraid to lift weights, thinking they'll bulk up too much. I used to be one of them but now it's what I do most for exercise. Thanks for your comments. SD

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Informative hub. Makes a lot of sense. I just started on Slim Fast as I have had success with it in the past. However I gained the weight back over the last seven years. I just may have to re think this diet now.

    • Ipeoney profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Hi this is very informative Hub. It is actually very easy to lose weight. Learning the basic nutrition and lots of self control.

    • Rob Winters profile image

      Rob Winters 

      9 years ago

      Just thougth i'd point out my eating habits described above are for someone trying to steadily and slowly(the best way imho) lose a pound or so a week whilst exercising relatively hard and not a maintenance type diet - where i wouldn't carb cycle so often but in general just stick with good carbs,proteins and fats every 3 hours + exercise and don't forget the cheat day :)

    • Rob Winters profile image

      Rob Winters 

      9 years ago

      Some Good info covered hear SD. Above all people need to find and build nutrition and workout plans they can stick with consistently. Yes there are some good basics like those you've covered.I've lost and kept off approx 50lb over the past year.I use a carb cyclng type of approach whereby i restrict carbs (not totally :))for two or three days before increasing them again on the 3rd or 4th day (good carbs - wholemeal breads and rices etc) and i pretty much eat what i like on a saturday (and beginning of sunday sometimes)This appoach keeps my body guessing so as to avoid triggering a starvation response and keeps me sane with the cheat day and extra carbs every few days - i always keep my proteins and good fats up and try to eat every 3 hours.I do also workout with weights X 4 Per Week + 3 X Cardio Per Week.Anyone can crash diet etc and drop pounds(water, muscle and fat usually)in the short term but soon are back to old habits and end up worse than they started -It's cliche i know but it's about a lifestyle you can stick with not diets per se. I also keep myself accountable my doing a weigh in + body fat measurement every monday - then adjust as necc if heading in he wrong direction.I realise your focussed more on women which is cool but i'd make the point that some women really miss out on a lot of the benefits that can be gotten from doing weights as if somwhow they think they'll build too much muscle or that there bodies should be worked in different ways.Obviously there's some hormonal and baseline strength diffs etc but i so rarely see women using resistance training effectively (if at all) that i thought i'd raise it too.Sorry didn't realise i'd write so much just got going and trying to share.If you're exercising & or dieting, keep yourself accountable, find what works for you,be consistent and don't ever give up.Good luck.

    • SummerSurf profile image


      9 years ago

      Trying to maintain my weight loss so thanks for helpful ideas :-)

    • whatastunner profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland

      I have done so many ways to loose weight , and really common sense never really prevailed ! thanks for this hub it was very useful.


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