The 10 Worst Flat-Belly Mistakes Women Make

By Perri O. Blumberg

What if everything you did to lose weight were being undermined by one simple mistake? What if all the workouts, all the self-imposed discipline, all the passing on goodies were for naught because of a single error you didn’t know you were making?

That mistake: You don’t eat enough fiber.

Researchers compared two sets of dieters. One set had spent the previous year doing pretty much everything that I did: cut calories, reduced saturated fat, ate lots of fruits and vegetables, took the skin off their chicken, ate low-fat dairy items, cut sodium, ate more fish, reduced trans fats, cut back on sugar, and exercised a minimum of 150 minutes a week. The other group did none of those things. All they did was to eat more fiber, at least 30 grams a day.

Yet after a year, both groups showed identical weight loss.

That’s right: All our hard work is for naught if we make this one simple mistake. In fact, the road to permanent weight loss is lined with a bunch of similar landmines. Here are the top 30 mistakes women make when they’re trying to slim down. And after you’ve seen our list of mistakes many women make, reverse direction with these 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets From Skinny Women.

1. You and your roomie get cupcakes
every Monday night
to watch “The Bachelor”

cupcakes
cupcakes

Sugar-laden treats like cupcakes, cookies and even protein bars (which can pack a whopping 20+ grams of sugar) can contribute to serious pound creepage. Swap ‘em for these 50 Best Snacks for Weight Loss instead. We promise that fantasizing about meeting Ben Higgins will be just as fun.

2. You have “just one”
Soda instead
of tea

soda
soda

Just one soda each day—or even per week—can really add up, according to new research in The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. “Sugar-sweetened beverages, such assoda, sweetened coffee or tea, and fruit juice, can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain, specifically in the abdominal area,” explains Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN, Corporate Dietitian at Medifast. “Instead of having fruit juice, have plain water infused with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Instead of orange juice for breakfast, try plain water infused with slices of orange and lemon.” And melt up to two inches from your waist on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!

3. You’re obsessed with gluten-free
Pinterest boards

pinterest
pinterest

“Most gluten-free breads are made from refined grains, with white rice flour being the most popular. These breads have double the carbs of whole-wheat breads,” sharesSarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, a Nashville-based nutritionist and author of Schedule Me Skinny: Plan to Lose Weight and Keep it Off in Just 30 Minutes a Week. “Plus, studies show that people who eat whole grains have less belly fat than those who eat refined grains. If you must go gluten-free, due to celiac disease or similar diagnosis, look for gluten-free breads made with a mixture of seeds and whole grains, such as millet and amaranth,” she elaborates.

Lose weight for just pennies a day on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!

4. You don’t use chopsticks for Chinese
and Japanese food

chopsticks
chopsticks

Ladies, channel that mindfulness from the yoga mat and bring it to the dinner table (okay, coffee table). When you’re scarfing down lo mein with a fork, you’re probably eating a heck of a lot quicker than you would be if you opted for chopsticks. Navigating the ramen bowl or sushi roll with chopsticks will help slow you down, which in turn promotes eating more mindfully and can make it so you consume fewer calories. No chopsticks? Try eating dinner with your non-dominant hand holding your fork, which will produce a similar slow-down effect. For more easy tweaks to make, take a peek at the42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.

5. You only eat mini meals

mini meals
mini meals

So, it’s official: You’re that girl who shows up to your 3 p.m. meeting with a perfectly-portioned handful of almonds, an apple, two squares of dark chocolate and a stack of multigrain crackers. But if you think loading up on those small meals spread out throughout the day will speed up your metabolism, that’s not always the case. “Although eating frequent meals and snacks has been proposed to help control appetite and food intake, a review of controlled feeding studies in adults found that eating more than three times a day had little, if any impact on appetite or food intake,” says nutritionist Lisa Hayim, MS, RD, and founder of The WellNecessities. “If you like eating small meals throughout the day, keep them small and light, making sure that their total caloric intake is still within your body’s needs.” And while we have you, don’t miss the 25 Things You’re Doing to Slow Your Metabolism!

6. You eat the same thing over
and over and over

boring food
boring food

Are you about to have your fifth hummus and sprouts sammie of the week? “Many women eat the same breakfasts, lunches, and dinners repeatedly. Eating the same foods over and over lowers your metabolic rate and prevents probiotic diversity,” Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, MD, also known as “Dr.Taz,” a weight loss expert and author of What Doctors Eat and The 21-Day Belly Fix. “Food diversity improves your metabolic rate since your gastrointestinal system is challenged by change and given a new set of probiotics with each new food.”

Melt fat drinking delicious tea on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!

7. Your wine glass is as large as
Olivia Pope’s

jumbo wine glass
jumbo wine glass

“Pouring a glass of wine as large as Olivia Pope’s to watch her on “Scandal” is a mistake,” offers Bedwell. And boy, does she have that one right. “The recommended alcohol consumption for women is one (5-ounces, so much less than a typical Olivia pour) glass per day, with good reason. Each glass has roughly 120 calories, and your body burns calories from alcohol first to get it out of your system as fast as possible. That means any calories you consume from food get put on the back-burner, making it harder to shed unwanted pounds,” she explains. “Not to mention that alcohol tends to stimulate the appetite so that Olivia Pope-sized glass of wine may be making you consume more calories from [whatever you’re eating].”

8. You have Partner Comparison Disorder

pcd
pcd

PCD might not be an official diagnosis (yet), but when it comes to weight loss, the struggle is real. Hayim paints the picture well: “You and your boyfriend or husband have decided to commit yourselves to wellness. You both begin the journey together, waking up early, eating healthy for about a week or so. But your partner begins to fall off the trail, and he’s skipping the early morning workouts. But not you, you’re still on track day after day. A few weeks go by like this and you realize he’s sleeping in and seeing results, and you aren’t,” says Hayim. Sound familiar? “Well, stop comparing! Women, you will never be able to accurately compare your body composition to your male partner. We will generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men, despite eating proportionally fewer calories. In fact, a healthy range of body fat for women is 20-25 percent, compared to men who are at a healthy range from 10-15 percent,” she adds. Bottom line: Don’t beat yourself up, and quit measuring yourself against your beau.

9. “Egg whites only” is your mantra

eggs
eggs

It might be your brunch and breakfast go-to, but there’s reason to give the silky, golden yolks some love “Egg yolks are a source of Vitamin D (a vitamin most Americans do not eat enough of). Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to abdominal obesity. Also, the (healthy) fat within the yolks will help you feel fuller longer and less likely to overeat later in the day,” offers nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD at Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-supportive cooking school in New York City. For the head-to-toe amazing info on eggs, find out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs!

10. You only meet up with people at
restaurants and bars

socializing
socializing

Even if you’re eating the seemingly good-for-you choice when dining out, you still can’t fully control how much salt, oil or fattening ingredients go into a dish. (You might not even be aware of them!) “Research shows that those who prepare six to seven meals at home consume fewer calories than those who cook less, even when eating out. Find your niche in the kitchen and get connected to what you eat,” suggests Dr.Taz. And then make cooking at home even easier with these 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!

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