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Calorie Count Blog

5 Diet Mistakes You May Overlook

By +Carolyn Richardson on Oct 17, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

By Carolyn Richardson and Leyla Shamayeva

Let's face it, knowledge really is power. Knowing what to eat, how to exercise and when to make it all work is great. But there's a missing link that will help you bridge the gap between old habits and a healthier lifestyle. Aside from the basics of good nutrition and physical activity are some overlooked lifestyle tendencies that you must change if you really want to stay on track to a life of good health and wellness. Even when you're doing everything right, these five mistakes could derail all your hard work.

Lack of Sleep

Numerous studies show that a good night's rest is essential to maintaining healthy eating choices. Aim for seven to eight hours a night, although the National Sleep Foundation says, "Our sleep need depends upon genetic and physiological factors and also varies by age, sex, and previous sleep amounts." The point is to get enough sleep to feel refreshed and rejuvenated upon waking. To get back on track, start by exposing your body to bright light in the morning and avoiding it in the evening. Screen time, including cell phone, TV, and computer use, should also be avoided within an hour of bedtime.

Lack of Planning

A hectic life is one thing, but an unorganized hectic life is unacceptable if you’re trying to maintain healthy habits. The key to your success is having a plan and staying organized. There is no shortage of tech-savvy tools to help with grocery lists and meal planners, let alone cell phones, email accounts, and tablets that can help with setting alarms and sending reminders. Just as important as having a plan, is having a plan B. Think of contingency strategies when life happens. That way you learn to cope when you get a curveball. Be flexible and realistic, and you’ll be a success.

Hiding Calories

An extra half cup of rice here and a small bite of cake there may seem like nothing, but calories add up and suddenly you’re 300 calories over your daily limit without even realizing it! Stick to your plan, and log everything you eat so you have a real picture of your caloric intake. That means counting condiments and other food additives. Add ketchup or mayonnaise calories in a sandwich, the milk and sugar in your coffee, and the added oils you add when cooking as well. By staying aware of these hidden calories, you’ll know how to keep them under control.  You may not think these small things count, but they do!

Letting Your Brain Go

Being healthy isn’t just about physical activity and eating right. Mental health is a huge part of being healthy and happy as well! In addition to exercising your body, make sure you don’t forget about your brain! Get away from the TV or your phone for a bit and work on activities that stimulate you mentally. Logic puzzles, crosswords, reading, writing, and memory exercises are a great way to keep your brain agile. Enroll in continuing education classes if you have the time, or use your local public library to explore subjects that interest you. You can also support brain health by lowering stress. Do this by taking time alone to reflect, relax, and release any negative thoughts and feelings that are a part of normal life. Social interactions also support brain health. Rather than Facebook and Twitter, get some face time with friends and family, join a club, or talk to a stranger. These will help you gain perspective and appreciate your place in the world.

Lack of Variety

Even though you may love that one food that you can’t get enough of, incorporating variety into your diet is important because it will provide you with a variety of nutrients. Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables as much as you can, and be sure to also include nuts, beans and legumes, proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. In the way of beverages, boost your intake of water and other nutritious beverages. As you limit your sugar-sweetened beverage and juice intake, incorporate healthy drinks into your diet. Raw juicing is a great way to add vitamins and minerals from time to time, and drinking a variety of teas can also supercharge your intake of antioxidants.

Your thoughts...

Give your strategies for overcoming the mistakes above to create a healthier lifestyle.


Some great thoughts's about being in charge of yourself rather than in control:

  • Control = the thought of deprivation
  • Deprivation = being unhappy
  • Unhappy = failure
  • Failure =  the self fulfilling prophecy of never being able to loose weight
  • The self fulfilling prophecy = bad choices
  • Bad choices = weight gain
  • Weight gain = Must take control

This is a cycle we all know too well - So try taking charge, eating only when you're hungry, stopping when satisfied and incorporating hypnotherapy to underpin the plan, making it a change for the better that will last forever!

I think getting enough sleep is a HUGE factor overlooked in weight gain...for me, if I am tired, I tend to overeat to try and get "energy" - but I really need energy coming from rest, not extra calories!

I'm prone to crave sugar when tired, again, trying to get that "lift" but, the more weight I gain, the more tired I am, the more I crave sugar...vicious cycle!

Better cycle: good rest, healthy eating and exercise = more energy, less craving leads to weight loss leads to feeling better physically leads to more ability to exercise and more healthy habits!


All are very true.  A big one for me is to keep tracking calories even when I go over my daily goal.  It keeps me aware of how much over plus it keeps me from throwing out my entire plan.  Keeps me focused on my goal the next day instead of throwing caution to the wind for a week or two.

I'd like to add the following. When "dieting" what you really are looking for is a lifetime change. So many people assume that a diet is something you do temporarily, to get the christmas ham off. that's a recipe for a failed diet. You need to make changes to your lifestyle that will work now, in a week, when the new-year-diet-fad ads go away around june extending to forever!

That being said, those changes that you make should be sustainable. You shouldn't be an extremist on your diet that doesn't play with their phone or doesn't watch TV because you cannot maintain that lifestyle forever. You need to find a middle ground that allows you to have a comfortable life while able to maintain a healthy weight - that's a trade-off, and you will have to make some hard choices.

I want to lose weight after giving birth to a now 7months healthy baby boy, but He is still not sleeping through the night....there goes the much talked about REST ... NOW WHAT? (".)

Original Post by: tsholofelo

I want to lose weight after giving birth to a now 7months healthy baby boy, but He is still not sleeping through the night....there goes the much talked about REST ... NOW WHAT? (".)

When I was in your shoes, I had to sleep whenever he slept. What I WANTED to do was catch up on all the stuff that wasn't getting done around the house. But what I NEEDED to do was get a shower, brush my teeth, and take a nap. When I started napping at the same time as the baby, we were all happier. The other thing we did was alternate who got up for the baby, so we parents each got a full night's rest at least every other day. We also chose co-sleeping, so whoever got up to get the baby brought him to bed with us, in the space between our heads; the baby was calmed, and if he did wake up again nobody had to wake up enough to get out of bed to go calm/feed him again.

So try that for a couple months while you're waiting for him to sleep through the night, and let all that other stuff just wait. Or maybe ask a relative to come help with the other stuff one day a week?

I want to add that baby steps work. This article has given us 5 things to do or do differently, but nowhere does it say we have to do them all at once, and it seems like trying to do TOO much is its own recipe for disaster. So make the changes in small, do-able steps, and approach the times we fall flat the way we approached them when the baby learning to walk fell down--with love and encouragement for ourselves.

Thats how I was defeating myself: If I failed to reach a goal, skipped a treadmill walk, or found myself eating chips while watching something on the Netflix I was mad at myself for days. That anger interfered with moving on and trying again. I am learning instead to see those things for what they are: falling down while learning to walk the walk.

Luck and love,


1-be patient. It took me a year to lose the baby weight with my first. With my second, when I was over 30, I lost the weight but my skin never bounced back!

2-keep nursing if you're so inclined. It burns a lot of calories!

3-Nap when he naps, yes. But sometimes prepare vegetables for the next time you need food. I remember getting up to make something when my baby was napping and then having to give up and grab what I could when she started to cry again. My go-to, which hubby would often make, was a slice of whole grain bread, a couple slices of tomato, and a slice of cheddar. Throw it in the toaster. When it's done, add a bit of avocado. It was healthy, quick, and great nursing food!

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