Whether it is a few extra pounds packed on from the holidays or you just want to feel healthier, it is important to know how to diet the smart way. The bottom line is- to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in. Find out how many calories your body requires and then make allotments for any extra physical activity, you may undertake in the day.

Common Dieting Mistakes

1. Following the Newest Diet Fad

They are fads for a reason. The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Zone, The South Beach Diet-- they all produce fast results. However, no one can sustain these diets for a long period of time. As soon as you revert to your normal eating style, you will probably regain the weight. Fad diets are hard on the body, weakening your immune system and leaving you susceptible to illness. It is best to stick to long-term, less intense forms of dieting, like cutting out alcohol or dessert.

2. Starving Yourself

Fasting or skipping meals will not speed up your metabolism. Your body needs calories to function. Skipping out on these essential nutrients will slow down your metabolism and force your body into survival mode, inducing it to store energy as fat. Instead of starving yourself, try eating more frequently. Four to six small healthy meals a day will keep your metabolism running and your body constantly using up fat stores.

3. Eating Out Frequently

There are many calories hidden in restaurant prepared foods. Dressing choices can add hundreds of calories to your salad and other additives can boost your daily intake by much more than you accounted for.

4. Using Food as a Reward

From an early age, it is important to teach ourselves that food should not be a measure of good behavior. This promotes the idea that healthy food is not as gratifying as junk food and can not be a satisfying alternative.

What Works:

1. Keep Your Expectations in Check

A big motivation for dieting is your desire to look and feel better. It is important to keep reasonable expectations about your weight-loss goals. Come up with a plan on how much weight you want to lose before you decide on how to do it. Ask yourself "Am I ready to do this? Is my incentive coming from my own desire? Can I deal with goal setbacks?" If you answered positively, you have a great attitude to begin your new healthy lifestyle.

2.Treat Yourself Occasionally & Keep Your House Stocked With Healthy Alternatives.

Depriving yourself can lead to binge eating, so allow yourself to indulge occasionally during dieting. Have healthy alternatives to desserts in your house, so if you are craving sweets, you should have something to satisfy that urge. Substitute a low fat frozen yogurt for ice cream and have fresh or frozen berries available as a topping. Just make sure your portion is in moderation.

3.Model Healthy Eating Habits to Your Children

​​If you ensure that you are taking the steps to show your family that your are making healthy food choices, you become accountable to someone other than yourself.

Remember the key to successful weight loss is the commitment to making permanent changes to your lifestyle through proper nutritonal choices and exercise.