Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

7 Diet Mistakes and Fast Fixes


WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

Good Housekeeping Magazine LogoYou were so good all week. But then you snuck a doughnut ... and then another. To get back on track quickly, start here.                                                                                                                                                              

There's that dreaded point in every diet — for me, it's after the first 10 pounds — when you start to slack off a little. You skip lunch one Saturday, and later that night at a restaurant with your husband, you're so ravenous that you order the salad, the soup, the entrée, and two glasses of chardonnay. Uh-oh, you think, I've blown it. And then you really blow it — by sampling half the dessert cart. To avoid facing the bad news, you go incommunicado with your scale. Feeling defeated, you begin to slack off even more and, before you know it, those 10 pounds are back. Now you have to muster the motivation to lose that stubborn weight all over again.

Can you say "yo-yo dieting"? It's a cycle, but it's not unbreakable. The first step toward success: Learn how to deal with setbacks. "I always tell people to 'fail fast' — the idea is to recognize your error but avoid wallowing in it," says Holly Wyatt, M.D., who's with the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). "One mistake isn't going to reverse everything you've worked for." Here, Dr. Wyatt and other weight-loss experts offer quick fixes for seven common diet goofs, plus tips on how to avoid future slipups.

"I skipped breakfast"

Maybe you were in a hurry. Maybe you thought you could cut some calories. But now it's 11 a.m., and you haven't eaten anything for 15 hours straight. You're so famished, you can't decide whether to buy a bear claw at the bakery, steal candy from your coworker's stash, or wait until lunch so you can pig out at your favorite Chinese restaurant. "Breakfast is a must," says Dr. Wyatt. "Otherwise, you'll end up wanting to eat everything you see." A survey from NWCR, which tracks more than 5,000 people who have kept off at least 30 pounds for a year or longer, found that 78 percent of participants have a meal every single morning.

Fast Fix

Eat something, but resist the junk food. You'll stay fuller longer if you have fruit, low-fat yogurt, or string cheese. An energy bar will also do the trick. But make sure you find one that has staying power — that means at least 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and less than 250 calories. Two of our favorites: Clif's Mojo Fruit Nut Crunch Bar and PowerBar Nut Naturals.

Next Time

Make breakfast simple. To guarantee you never skip this meal again, keep a week's worth of easy eats in the house. A few good picks (which you can also stash at the office for midday munchies): single-serve instant oatmeal (McCann's Instant Irish Oatmeal has three sugar-free varieties — apple and cinnamon, maple and brown sugar, and cinnamon roll); low-fat granola, which you can mix with plain yogurt; and single-serving cans of light fruit (like Del Monte's no-sugar-added pear chunks, only 40 calories). But beware of so-called breakfast bars, which are often packed with sugar. Make sure you read the labels carefully before you buy.

Eat every four hours during the day. That's about how much time it takes for hunger to return after a meal, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You'll do far less damage if you have a small snack mid-morning and in the afternoon than if you try to assuage your gnawing hunger at mealtimes, when the plates, portions, and your appetite are all bigger.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
Couple with troubles
Article
Bone density illustration
VIDEO
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 
Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow