10 Common Health and Fitness Mistakes

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Mistake management can be tricky. Stop mistakes before they start by sidestepping these common health and fitness errors. And if you do make a mistake, do your best to learn from it and get back to your goals right away.

Dashing OutSkipping meals: Breakfast jump starts your metabolism. Avoiding lunch or dinner can cause calorie-loading late at night, when your body is slowing down. Eat sensibly, with three balanced meals and at least two snacks daily. It will help you maintain a healthy body weight.

Avoiding gluten: While people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities have to avoid gluten, many others banish gluten in the name of weight loss. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Think about it. Grains that contain gluten (like wheat, barley, rye, etc) also contain beneficial micronutrients like iron, magnesium, folate, and fiber.

Eating huge snacks: Keep snacks to between 150 and 200 calories. Large snacks may cause weight gain.

Don't Overdo FiberOverdoing fiber: Get fiber from real foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Limit the processed inulin-fiber-enhanced products -- too much can stress your intestines.

Focusing on the scale: Skip the daily weigh in. Instead, focus on how your clothes fit. You can also measure the inches on your waistline instead of the pounds on the scale.

Dining out instead of cooking at home: Learn how to whip up simple and healthful meals. Dining out offers large portions and myriad temptations to overeat.

Don't Rely on Packaged FoodRelying on packaged foods: Although packaged meals can be calorie-controlled, encourage only occasional use of processed foods. Instead, foster a greater reliance on whole foods.

Fasting or “cleansing”: A three-day fast may be beneficial for some (as long as they are adequately hydrated), but what happens when it’s over? If people are juicing and getting nutrients in that way, that may be fine – but have a plan once the fast or cleanse is over. Without healthful habits, successful weight management is extremely difficult.

Believing that the gym is only place to exercise: Get moving wherever you are – physical activity counts anywhere. A bout of 10 minutes of stretch bands or 20 push-ups or even squats while you wash dishes – it all counts in the long run.

Skimping on sleep: Shut-eye is such an important part of your health routine. In fact, good sleep can help with weight loss. Try to aim for at least 7-9 hours every night.

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN, author of The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods.

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