There are lots of reasons why a diet can fail. But, before you throw in the towel, the best thing you can do is to take a serious look at what you are currently doing. Are you being honest about your nutrition? Do you really know how many calories you are eating? Do you measure all your food or just on occasion? And do you let myths and non-truths about dieting rule how you go about your meal planning? Here are 5 dieting myths that could be hindering instead of helping you reach your weight loss goals.

Myth 1: You Can’t Eat Before Bed

Truth: It Doesn’t Matter WHEN You Eat, It Matters WHAT & HOW MUCH You Eat

Giving yourself a cutoff time to stop eating is not necessary and won’t help your weight loss, especially if you ate bad food all day. Instead, it’s better to pay attention to what you’re eating and how much. Use an app to keep track of your macros and your calories throughout the day. Eating at regular intervals, from morning to night, is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels sustained and avoid binge eating later on. Be mindful of stress eating or eating out of boredom, if you are at home in evenings. Keep your mind or your body active to reduce your chances of overeating.

Myth 2: Sweeteners Mean No Calories, Right?

Truth: Not All Sweeteners Are Created Equal

Have you ever really taken the time to read the ingredients on a box of sweetener? Besides the chemical name, you may notice there are a few other added ingredients, and depending on the brand, one of those additives might be sugar! That’s right, you might think you are doing yourself a favor by swapping out the sugar in your coffee for two packets of artificial sweetener, but you could still be adding upwards of 1g of sugar per serving! Think about the number of times you reach for a few packets of sweetener during the day – in your coffee, on your oatmeal, berries or maybe even your yogurt. Cut it out cold turkey, and start enjoying your food without this sugar imposter, or switch to a natural alternative like Stevia.

Myth 3: You Can Eat All You Want As Long As It’s Healthy

Truth: A Calorie Is Still A Calorie

Just cause its fresh, whole food from natural sources, a calorie is still a calorie. Case in point – nuts and nut butters. Yes they are full of good fats, but most of us tend to overindulge on this tasty, creamy goodness. One small tablespoon serving can quickly turn into 2 or 3 heaping spoonfuls, especially when you are hungry! Just remember, one tablespoon of Peanut Butter or Almond Butter provides 100 calories! And that can quickly add up, if you are not careful. If you lack control with certain ‘good’ foods, cut them out completely. Fill up on low calorie, bulking foods like leafy greens and broccoli!

Myth 4: Cheating On Your Diet Leads to Weight Gain

Truth: Cheat Meals Spark Metabolism

Over dieting and sticking to a very low calorie diet for extended periods of time can lead to deprivation and a state of starvation! And when that happens, your body’s metabolic rate comes to a screeching halt. Instead of burning off fat, your body holds on to fat since it thinks you are starving and turns to your muscle tissue for nourishment instead. Dropping your calories for too long will not only affect your fat burning hormones, but it can also decrease anabolic hormones needed to build and maintain your hard-earned muscle. Limit your ‘restrictive’ dieting and focus on ‘clean’ eating! Don’t be scared to give yourself the occasional ‘cheat’ to spark metabolism and prevent weight loss plateaus!

Myth 5: Eating Carbs Causes Weight Gain

Truth: Eating the Wrong Carbs At the Wrong Times Causes Weight Gain

Most of us can get enough carbs in our diet simply by eating low starch vegetables, fruit or fat sources such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Refined, processed carbs on the other hand can be a problem. Processed carbs tend to be higher in sugar and lower in fiber. Eating too many ‘bad’ carbs can lead to weight gain. Ditch the simple carbs and start eating fibrous carbs with a lower glycemic index that can keep you feeling fuller longer and provide your body with sustained energy. Also, consider when you eat most of your carbs. Eating carbs in the morning or after a workout, when your blood sugar and glycogen levels are at there lowest, is the best time to consume carbs. Instead of storing them in fat, they will be more likely to fuel workouts and re-stock lost muscle glycogen.