Diet Mistakes: 6 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight (cont.)

Check out our list of common diet mistakes people make, and see if any sound familiar to you.

Diet Mistake No. 1: Racing to the Finish

There's no reward for finishing your meal in record time -- unless you're a contestant in a hot dog eating contest! Our hectic schedules have led many of us to adopt the unhealthy habit of rapid eating.

"We need to adopt more of the leisurely, European-style eating so that we can savor our food, taste every bite, and get the signal of fullness before overeating," says Tara Gidus, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Diet Mistake No. 2: Skipping Meals

Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast -- or any meal -- saves calories. The truth is that most people who eat fewer than three meals usually end up eating more calories during the course of the day.

Strive for three meals a day. Always start your day with a healthy breakfast, but be careful to choose wisely.

"Even a low-fat muffin can have as many as 400 calories and 5 grams fat," says Joanne Lichten, PhD, RD, a nutrition consultant and the author of Dining Lean.

A healthy breakfast should contain both protein and fiber. An egg, a piece of whole-wheat toast, and half a grapefruit has only 250 calories and will keep you feeling full until lunch.

Diet Mistake No. 3: Too Many Liquid Calories

Liquid calories from alcohol, smoothies, coffee with cream and sugar, sweetened juices, teas, and sodas can really contribute to weight gain. One recent study found that Americans get approximately 21% of their calories from beverages.

"When you drink beverages, you don't tend to compensate by eating less because most beverages satisfy thirst and don't impact hunger," says Gidus.

Switch from calorie-laden beverages to water, club soda, skim milk, vegetable juices, and small portions of 100% fruit juice. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and choose lighter drink options.

Here are some calorie counts for common beverages:

  • 12-ounce light beer: 110 calories
  • 12-ounce regular beer: 160 calories
  • 8-ounce coffee with cream and sugar: 30 calories
  • 5 ounces of wine: 120-130 calories
  • 6-ounce wine spritzer: 80 calories
  • 16-ounce sweetened tea: 160 calories
  • 12-ounce diet soda: 0 calories
  • 12-ounce soda: 150 calories
  • 20-ounce smoothie: 410 calories

Diet Mistake No. 4: Oversized Portions

"We have gotten used to huge portions at restaurants so when we are at home, we serve up the same size and think it is normal," says Lichten.

Experts suggest a few tricks to help you trim your portions:

  • Leave a few bites on your plate.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls.
  • Periodically check your portions with measuring cups.