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…
I must confess that I am such a sucker for ice-cream. One reason I was ’nearly’ a vegan for years was because I couldn’t give up my ice-cream.
We all seem to like ice cream, don't we? It’s no wonder with that highly addictive combination of fat and sugar.
Truth be told, it is only recently that supermarkets have started stocking a variety of ice-creams to suit people’s nutritional needs.
I am sure there are quite a few of you out there that eat ice-cream, and experience the short-lived pleasure only to pay for it later with wicked indigestion, gas, bloating and even diarrhea from the dairy and sugar combination.
The good news is, like the grain industry have come up with gluten-free bread which can now be found everywhere, the ice cream industry is stepping up their game and creating healthier options for those that are lactose intolerant, Keto, Vegan, Paleo, or others that simply want to enjoy an occasional bowl of ice cream and not curse their decision a few hours later. So, the fact is, there's actually now some pretty decent store-bought ice cream options out there.
So, let’s get down to the nitty, gritty of what to look for in a healthy ice-cream.
Keto ice cream lovers now have more choices than ever. Traditional ice cream is generally high in carbs, mostly from sugar, and contains around 20g carbs per ½ cup serving. Nowadays you can find ice cream that has less than 5g net carbs per 500ml.
The only thing with keto-friendly ice-creams is that many brands may add indigestible fibre (such as inulin or tapioca fibre) to decrease net carbs. They’ll also throw in zero-sugar artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, which can cause uncomfortable gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea in some people.
Put simply, avoid eating a whole tub of Keto ice cream in one go – otherwise …. the toilet is exactly where you’ll be sitting afterwards !
Regular ice cream uses cream as its base (hence the name), while “high-protein” brands are usually made with skim milk along with whey or milk protein concentrate to increase protein content. However, they usually only contain around 6g protein per serving; but to be fair, that’s double traditional ice cream’s protein content (2-3g). Don’t forget to read the labels, as many high protein brands may add some nasties such as gums or carrageenans. If you are lactose-intolerant or you generally avoid dairy, it may be tougher to find a high protein ice-cream since most are dairy – based.
Traditional ice cream contains anywhere from 7-13g of fat per serving. Today, you can find quite a few ice creams lower than 5g of fat per ½ cup—and there are even brands with literally zero fat.
Low fat products in general are questionable as most often the fat is removed from the milk and is replaced with sugar, which we already know in large amounts is disastrous to a healthy, nutritious diet. We also know that without the fat you are more likely to eat more of it as you won’t feel satiated compared with the full fat varieties.
Your average ice-cream has a high content of sugar which can range from between 12 – 24g of added sugar in ½ Cup.
Today you can find dozens of low-sugar and even zero-sugar ice creams… for example; those that are labelled “low fat” or “high protein,” it’s important to consider what they’re replacing that sugar with to make it taste better than just a tub of ice.
Usually, sugar is replaced with ingredients such as artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes, which can often be worse for you than actual sugar.
Here are some general guidelines.
Consume in moderation:
In summary, I would probably choose ice cream with a few grams of natural sugar over one that contains zero sugar, or contains large amounts of artificial sweeteners or bloat-inducing sugar alcohols.
Traditional ice cream, which is rich in dairy and high in sugar, fat, and calories, contains a very simple list of real food ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks.
However, in order to create “healthier” ice creams that tailor to specific diets or health needs, many of these basic ingredients get swapped out for alternatives, some of which may be harmless whilst others are anything other than healthy.
Unfortunately, a large number of vegan and dairy-free ice-cream companies add vegetable oils as an emulsifier, to make up for the low-fat content. The most common vegetable oils used are soybean, canola and cotton seed. Avoid vegetable oils like the plague, simply put they cause inflammation in the body and are bad for brain and heart health.
When the label mentions natural flavours, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are natural. “Natural flavours” is a blanket term for any plant- or animal-based ingredient that a company wants to keep secret. In general, while most “natural flavours” won’t kill you in moderate amounts, I’d look for ice cream brands that use more natural flavouring ingredients, like cinnamon, cacao, peppermint, mastic, rum and which are actually listed on the label.
Gums, Stabilizers, and Thickeners
Look at most healthy or dairy-free ice creams, and you’ll notice the presence of gums such as xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, acacia gum, or carob bean gum. These are added to prevent the formation of ice crystals, which is key to a rich, creamy, smooth ice cream. While these gums are generally thought to be safe, they are in essence soluble fibres that the body can’t break down, so for some people, especially those with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or leaky gut problems, they can cause digestive upset.
Another very common stabilizer is carrageenan, which is an extract of red edible seaweed. It’s commonly used in ice cream due to its gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. However, it should be avoided as some animal studies link it to inflammation, diabetes and even cancer.
Taste, Texture & Thaw Times.
Even if an ice cream passes the test with macronutrients, sweeteners, and additives, along with quality and dietary considerations, you probably won't want to eat it unless it tastes good ! Two important factors are taste and texture.
Healthy ice creams also tend to be somewhat more limited in flavours because the more add in’s added to them – the more likely they would sabotage the health factor.
Most people want a creamier texture—regardless of whether or not there is any actual dairy in the ice cream—which is the result of higher fat content.
Finally, there’s the importance of thaw time. There can be quite a variation in the time it takes for different ice creams to thaw. If an ice-cream takes 15 minutes to thaw before you can eat it – it may dampen your ice-cream enthusiasm. I am willing to bet that when most of you want to eat ice cream you'd prefer to eat it right then and there and if you have kids, there’s absolutely no way they'd want to wait !
Whatever ice cream you choose to eat, it can absolutely be part of a healthy diet but always in moderation !
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 !