Diet Danger #2: Running Too Low on Fuel
Not eating enough is one of the most health-hindering measures you can take when trying lose weight. “Eating too few calories makes it really hard to meet nutritional needs overall," says Mangieri. "In the short term, you might see some weight loss, but over time you'll experience a plateau. When you do go back to eating an appropriate amount of food, often times people end up gaining weight.” By cutting 500 to 1,000 calories per day from your normal caloric intake you could safely shed one to two pounds per week. However, drop below 1,500-1,000 calories a day for too long and you'll enter the danger zone, putting yourself at risk for serious health problems, including malnutrition, fatigue, dehydration, and in extreme cases heart arrhythmias or even death.
What's more, skipping meals only sets you up to binge later on. “Hunger is the no. 1 reason for diet failure," says Mangieri. "If you don’t fuel by day, you’re setting yourself up for diet disaster during the evening.” Sure, it’s easy to stay on track with your eating plan during the day when the rest of your routine is structured, but the end of the day is the real challenge, so it’s best to make sure you’re not completely ravenous come nightfall. Mangieri’s best tip: Close the kitchen after dinner.