4 Common Dieting Mistakes That Make You Fat

You've created a menu plan and a fitness schedule, but one little mistake is all it takes to completely derail your weight loss progress. It could be a sneaky snack or an unproductive mental approach, but before you know it, your diet has tanked and any positive work you've done has quickly been reversed.

Targeting these potential areas of pitfall— especially before you even begin your diet—can help defend against backsliding. So as you get started on your weight loss journey, beware of these common dieting fails that work to make you fat:

1. You Drink Diet Soda Like It's Water
A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study found that when people swapped their favorite sugary soft drink for the diet variety, they ate more desserts and more bread than people who swapped their go-to beverage for water. Artificial sweeteners may increase your hunger for sweets, says study author Barry Popkin, PhD.

Related - Diet Coke Could Make You Gain 7 Pounds This Year

2. You Try Too Hard. 
Adopting a very rigid diet almost guarantees that your weight-loss efforts will be sabotaged by food cravings, suggests a new study in the journal Appetite. So cut yourself some slack. Flexible dieters have just as many cravings and give in to them just as often, says study author Adrian Meule, Dipl.-Psych. The difference is that they are more likely to get back on track quickly.

3. You Skimp on Sleep.
A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that scant sleep can cause you to overeat fatty foods. When people slept only 4 hours a night for 5 days, they took in nearly 300 calories more than when they slept 9 hours a night. Too little shut-eye may increase your appetite by short-circuiting your brain’s sense of reward.

Related - 10 Things That Happen When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

4.  You're Too Darned Optimistic. 
If you're like most people, you wildly overestimate the number of calories you burn during exercise. According to a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, people thought that a workout incinerated about 900 calories when it actually burned just 300.

Adapted from Men's Health Big Book of Uncommon Knowledge
Photo by Getty

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