This can be an extremely frustrating experience especially when you feel you are trying really hard to lose weight and you are not achieving your desired results. It, may be as simple as a couple of tweaks and changes to your exercise and eating habits which will get you to achieve your weight loss goals.
Below are mentioned the 18 common mistakes that people do when it comes to losing weight:
#1: The Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau. – Don’t panic ! It is incredibly common for the scale not to budge for a few days (or weeks) at a time. This does not mean that you are not losing fat. Your weight tends to go up and down by a kilo and it all depends on the foods you are eating, hormones and water retention.
Another popular reason is that you most probably gained some muscle mass especially if you started exercising. Which is a good thing as we want to lose body fat and gain a little lean muscle. It’s a good idea to check your progress by measuring your body fat percentage and of course don’t forget to use your skinny jeans !
That’s my favourite way of checking. If my skinny jeans are feeling too tight , yes you know the feeling, like you’re being squeezed into a toothpaste tube – then you definitely need to get back on track.. If the skinny jeans are starting to feel loose and you look and feel sexy in them – well, give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing great !
#2. You’re not keeping track of what you’re eating: Awareness is incredibly important if you are trying to lose weight. Many people don’t have a clue of HOW much they’re really eating or drinking for that matter. Study after study shows that keeping track of your food intake helps with weight loss. People who use food diaries or photograph their meals consistently lose more weight than people who don’t. A little note here, avoid tracking your food if you’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
#3. You’re not eating enough protein: Make sure you’re eating about 25-30% of your calories as protein. It has been shown to boost your metabolism, makes you burn an extra 80-100 calories per day and it can make you feel less hungry so you automatically eat fewer calories per day. Protein can have an incredible effect on reducing your appetite by regulating ghrelin the hunger hormone, it will also drastically reduce cravings and the desire to keep on snacking.
One of the best ways to load up on protein is to have a high protein breakfast – this will help keep you full and keep your cravings at bay. High protein also keeps your metabolism fired up and prevents you from hitting that weight loss plateau we mentioned earlier.
#4: You’re eating too much or too often ! Many people who have trouble losing weight are simply eating too many calories. You may think that this does not apply to you but again studies show that we tend to under-estimate our calorie intake and we are way, way off . Try using a calorie counter
#5. You’re not eating clean enough. – Food quality is just as important as food quantity. Choose whole foods rather than processed junk foods. An easy and very simple way to stick to this is to eat single ingredient foods. Basically this means, that you eat foods that don't have a list of ingredients on the packaging. For example fruit – when you buy apples – that’s all there is, vegetables, beans, meat, eggs, cheese whole grains – in a nut shell it’s foods that occur in nature.
#6. You’re not lifting weights or doing resistance training. – This is really important because as it helps to build or maintain muscle which burns more calories than fat and helps to keep fat off for the long haul.
#7. You’re binge eating. Whether it’s on junk foods or relatively healthy foods like nuts, dark chocolate or cheese – you’re still eating more than your body needs.
#8. You’re not doing cardio – this includes activities like jogging, swimming, cycling. Cardio helps to burn that stubborn belly fat which is the dangerous fat that builds up around your organs.
#9. Are you drinking your sugar ? Avoiding all sugary drinks is an excellent weight loss strategy. They often make up a large part of a person’s calorie intake. So read the labels and watch what you are drinking. Even fruit juices fresh or packaged are high in sugar. Zero calorie drinks also count as they have also been shown to sabotage weight loss.
#10. Sleep. Are you sleeping well ? Good sleep is sooo important for your body and mind. Did you know that adults and children that don’t sleep enough have a 55% and 89% risk of becoming obese. So make sure that you and the kids are getting enough sleep.
#11. You’re not cutting back on carbohydrates. This is super important if you want to lose weight or if you have a metabolic condition such as type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. On a side note, some studies have shown that a low carb diet is more effective at weight loss than a low- fat diet.
#12. You’re not drinking enough water. Water helps you lose weight. If you drink half a liter of water half an hour before your meals you will lose 44% more than your dehydrated counterparts. Drinking water helps you become a calorie burning machine !
#13. You’re drinking too much alcohol ! This is a tough one for most people – but if you want to lose weight faster, you’ve got to say goodbye to the alcohol. Drinking a spirit like vodka or gin with a zero calorie mixer is best. Beer, wine and sugary cocktails are very high in calories. Alcohol itself has about 7 calories per gram, which is high..
#14. You’re not eating mindfully: A technique called mindful eating may be one of the world’s most powerful weight loss tools. It involves slowing down, eating without distraction, savoring and enjoying each bite while listening to the natural signals that tell your brain when your body has had enough. Numerous studies have shown that mindful eating can cause significant weight loss and reduce the frequency of binge eating
#15. There are some medical conditions that can drive weight gain and make it much harder to lose weight. These include hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and sleep apnea. Certain medications like anti-depressants can also make weight loss harder — or even cause weight gain. Yet all hope is not lost, with the right diet and exercise, it is possible.
#16. Junk food addiction, in this case if you find yourself having very strong food cravings or a food addiction then the best thing would be to seek professional help in addition to incorporating a healthy diet. Step, by step you can beat it !
#17. Unrealistic expectations : Weight loss is generally a slow process. Many people lose patience before reaching their goal. Although it is often possible to lose weight fast in the beginning, very few people can continue to lose weight at a rate of more than ½ a kilo per week.
It is important to focus on creating better health and wellbeing through eating a nutrient -dense diet and add in exercise than to focus solely on weight-loss.
#18. You’re too focused on dieting. Did you know that there are studies that show people who diet actually gain more weight over time. Diets don’t work in the long term. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it and let weight loss follow as a natural side effect. Let your main focus be on creating healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits for life !
I know, weight loss is not always easy and numerous factors can bring it to a standstill.
Yet, at the most basic level, not reaching your weight loss goal can occur when calorie intake is equal to or higher than calorie use.
Try using strategies such as mindful eating, keeping a food diary, eating more protein, and doing strength exercises.
In the end, changing your weight and your lifestyle requires patience, and the 3 D’s which are discipline, dedication and determination…
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !