I don't know if you've ever watched somebody on a diet, but it can be really quite funny. Now, I've been on a diet (as most Americans probably have) and I've fallen into some of these traps before, but after taking a step back I can't help but find amusement in it all.
1. Taking the largest cookie from the pile
Because, after all, a cookie is a cookie, and when you enter it into your calorie logbook at the end of the day, it's going to be 120 calories whether it's the biggest cookie in the pile or the smallest.
2. Eating every crumb off of the plate
They're still going to go into your calorie logbook, even if you don't eat them, so you might as well.. I mean, otherwise you're wasting perfectly good calories on nothing.. literally, nothing.
3. Weighing yourself at different times every day
I don't know if you've ever had a 16-oz glass of water to drink, but I have. I've also eaten a 4 ounce steak, some veggies and some starch with that 16-oz glass of water. But since you stop going pee and sweating when you're on a diet, all of that weight should obviously be counted on the scale. So of course then it doesn't really matter when you weigh yourself, right?
4. Thinking you actually burn off an entire Gatorade of calories during that 20-minute run
Since I run a 5-minute mile pace, as do all dieters, I burn approximately 350 calories in 20-minutes. Therefore, I can have that Gatorade, and a granola bar, and ice cream. Again, this makes perfect sense. If I am trying to burn extra calories by working out more, I should definitely eat all of those extra calories, or I'd have a calorie deficit!
5. Burning more calories by running more efficiently
If you run more efficiently, you can run faster, and when you log that in your activity logbook, it says you burn more calories. Never mind that you're running more efficiently, so you waste less energy moving yourself forwards. What really matters is that a faster pace means you deserve that pint of Ben & Jerry's.
6. A meal with vegetables has fewer calories than the same meal without veggies
A hamburger with fries--a dieter's worst nightmare. A hamburger with fries and a side salad--a well-balanced meal. And well-balanced obviously also means low-calorie. So go ahead, enjoy your burger and fries, just make sure you also have some corn on the cob before you have dessert!
[No, seriously, Americans actually believe this one.]
Have you ever gone on a diet? What did you try that was absolutely ridiculous? What's your strategy now?