As a health and nutrition expert with over 18 years of experience, I’ve seen many individuals struggle with improving their overall health and wellness. Often, they’re unknowingly making one or more of these common mistakes. Once we address these issues, they start to see progress in their health journey.

If you’re trying to enhance your overall health and wellbeing but feel frustrated with your lack of progress or consistency, read on. You might find the reason below:

Pitfall 1: Strict Calorie Counting

While managing your energy intake is important for overall health, being too restrictive can lead to hunger, excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar, and a tendency to overeat or binge. To avoid this restriction-binge cycle, focus on listening to your body’s needs and nourishing it with nutrient-rich foods.

Pitfall 2: Poor Nutrient Density

A health-focused diet should prioritise nutrient density, providing adequate vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Research has shown that consuming nutrient-dense foods daily like fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts can support overall health and wellbeing.

Pitfall 3: Inconsistent Eating Habits

Consistency is key to establishing long-term healthy habits. This means maintaining a balanced eating pattern throughout the week and avoiding drastic changes during weekends or social events. Often, this lack of consistency is the result of trying to ‘be good’ with your diet during the week, resulting in ‘letting the resigns go’ over the weekend. This black and white thinking with nutrition will mean you’ll find it difficult to find the middle ground. Remember, consistency doesn’t mean perfection.

Pitfall 4: Afternoon Munchies

Mid-afternoon hunger is often a sign that your body needs more nourishment earlier in the day. Increase your protein and vegetable portions at breakfast and lunch, and have a healthy snack ready for when those afternoon cravings hit.

Pitfall 5: Eliminating Major Food Groups

Cutting out major food groups without a medical reason can lead to imbalanced eating and, eventually, bingeing and disordered eating practices. Aim for a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, in appropriate portions. Get professional help from a dietitian so you feel confident with what those appropriate portions are.

Pitfall 6: Ignoring Post-Exercise Nutrition

Feeding your body after exercise is crucial for recovery and managing hunger. If you’ve been active, listen to your body’s needs and refuel with nourishing foods.

Pitfall 7: Overestimating Exercise’s Impact on Diet

Exercise is essential for maintaining overall health, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to not make healthy changes to your diet. Focus on consistently making healthy food choices, regardless of your activity levels.

Pitfall 8: Insufficient Sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital for overall health, and getting enough rest can also help you manage your appetite. If staying up late leads to unhealthy snacking, prioritise sleep to maintain healthy habits.

Pitfall 9: Excessive Alcohol Consumption

While an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your health, be mindful of your alcohol intake. Consuming too much can slow your progress towards improved health and wellbeing.

Pitfall 10: Relying on Unreliable Advice

Following misguided advice can hinder your health journey. Consult a dietitian or nutritionist for trustworthy, evidence-based recommendations.

Remember, the goal is to focus on improving your health. By addressing these common pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to building sustainable, healthy habits.

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