Losing weight can seem very tough. In doing so, I’ll tell you about weight loss mistakes I learned on my journey to a healthier me.
Have you ever wondered if you were making dieting and weight loss mistakes?
It turns out that there’s more in common than you think with this icky sitch and why your weight loss efforts are stalling to rush hour traffic-level heights.
In one experiment, nutritionist Lisa Young found that when dietitians were asked to estimate the number of kilojoules in several fast-food meals during a meeting of the American Dietetic Association, they underestimated the amount by about 30 percent. What’s more, even the most well-meaning health experts may give outdated advice. Read on to learn the biggest weight loss mistakes even health professionals make – and how to outsmart them.
Sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything right, yet still not getting results. You eat your vegetables and get some form of exercise on most days of the week. So when you step on that scale and the needle stays put, you wonder what the heck you’re doing wrong.
Common Dieting Weight Loss Mistakes
Only Focusing on the Scale Weight
It’s very common to feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough, despite faithfully sticking to your diet.
However, the number on the scale is only one measure of weight change. Weight is influenced by several things, including fluid fluctuations and how much food remains in your system.
In fact, weight can fluctuate by up to 4 lbs (1.8 kg) over the course of a day, depending on how much food and liquid you’ve consumed.
Also, increased estrogen levels and other hormonal changes in women can lead to greater water retention, which is reflected in scale weight (1Trusted Source).
If the number on the scale isn’t moving, you may very well be losing fat mass but holding on to water. Fortunately, you can do several things to lose water weight.
Additionally, if you’ve been working out, you may be gaining muscle and losing fat.
When this happens, your clothes may start to feel looser — especially around the waist — despite a stable scale weight.
Measuring your waist with a tape measure and taking monthly pictures of yourself can reveal you’re actually losing fat, even if the scale number doesn’t change much.
You Overestimate Your Daily Calories.
Only 11 percent of Americans correctly estimate their ideal daily calorie requirements, according to one survey. The rest of us tend to overestimate, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. For example, you assume that you consume 2,000 calories a day, but it’s really going to take 1,800 calories a day for you to lose weight.
Those extra 200 pounds are enough to keep about 20 pounds on your frame. However, it’s important to note that while you should be mindful of how many calories you’re consuming, you shouldn’t let it rule your life. It’s better to focus on the quality of your calories and eat foods that are nutrient-dense, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
You Eat Meat Every Day
“A recent study of almost 14,000 people showed that those who ate the most meat were 27 percent more likely to be obese,” reveals Hever. “Several studies illustrate that those who consume plant-based eating patterns tend to have lower BMIs and body fat levels, including a recent study of over 55,000 women that showed the fewer animal products consumed, the lower the incidence of overweight and obesity.” To get in the habit of eating less meat.
Thinking You Just Need To Cut Calories
Sure, losing weight typically involves cutting calories. But, it’s essential to know that reducing your calorie intake isn’t all there is to a weight loss plan.
In fact, if all you do is cut calories, well, you are setting yourself up for failure. Taking in fewer calories often means that you begin to rely on drinks like diet soda, and food items labeled fat-free that are full of refined sugar. You will then lack energy and feel tired and worn out.
It’s dang near impossible to live in a calorie deficit forever and feel happy about it. Plus, it’s not necessary!
Instead, concentrate on eating clean. You will naturally consume fewer calories – and they’ll be healthier calories at that. It’s good to be careful of portion size, but if your plate is full of vegetables as opposed to fatty foods with creamy sauces, you can count on weight loss. Nutrient-dense food will fill you up and make you feel more energized.
Eating patterns, such as frequency and distribution of eating throughout the day, can have a huge impact on your weight loss progress.
Many people think reducing calorie intake by skipping meals will help speed up weight loss. But in reality, skipping a meal can often lead to overeating at the next meal because you are even hungrier. Plus, skipping meals can negatively impact your blood sugar level, metabolism and energy level.
Consuming So Called ‘Health Foods’
A lot of companies falsely advertise their product as being healthy, when in fact they may not be as healthy as you think. Products like protein bars and fruit juice are often advertised as healthy products, but they are packed with unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats and added sugar, which will only make your journey towards losing fat harder. (Image: Pixabay)
Focusing On Cardio and Ignoring Strength Training
You can safely say that some exercise is better than no exercise at all. But if you’ve been watching your diet, doing cardio, and leading an overall healthy lifestyle, yet your weight loss is not as good as you think it should be, the reason might be the lack of strength training. Resistance training not only helps you build muscle, but it also boosts you metabolism and promotes belly fat loss.
Do this instead: combine cardio and resistance training for best results. You can do them on alternate days or even on the same day if you have enough time.
Focusing On What You Can’t Eat
“So many people embarking on a weight loss journey focus on what they can’t have—[such as] no sugar, no alcohol, no dessert, no bread, no cheese. I like to tell my readers to focus on what they can have and tally up all the filling and nutritious superfoods out there.”
Not Consuming Enough Protein
Getting enough protein is extremely important if you’re trying to lose weight. Protein has been shown to help with weight loss in several ways. It can reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake, increase metabolic rate, and protect muscle mass during weight loss. Hence, high-protein food is recommended in weight-loss diets to make it more effective. Foods like paneer, chicken, eggs are great sources of protein. People with a plant-based diet can opt for lentils, chickpeas, peanuts quinoa, and soy-based products like tofu and tempeh.
You Forget To Keep Hydration
When we talk about lifestyle changes, we often think only about a healthy diet. People focus on what they eat, but they often forget about getting enough water. Insufficient hydration reduces the amount of fluid in the stomach and subsequently mistakenly considers it to be hungry. Thus, the feeling of hunger can be caused by thirst in the absence of water. Therefore, if you are hungry, try to drink water first, wait 20 minutes and see if your hunger was not only thirst in disguise.
A 2014 research showed that drinking water before meals also reduces appetite. Researchers drank 0.5 litres of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a result, they experienced loss of weight, body fat and appetite.
Not Lifting Weights
Performing resistance training is incredibly important during weight loss.
Studies show lifting weights is one of the most effective exercise strategies for gaining muscle and increasing metabolic rate. It also improves overall body composition and boosts belly fat loss (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
In fact, a review of 15 studies with more than 700 people found the best strategy of all for weight loss appears to be combined aerobic exercise and weightlifting
You Make Your Workouts A License To Eat Whatever You Want
Weight loss is as easy as calories in, calories out, right? Not exactly. If you run on the treadmill for an hour each day, it doesn’t mean you can have a cheeseburger and fries every night. The only way the CICO diet works is if you consume fewer calories than you’re actually burning, but most of the time, people aren’t sure how many calories they’re consuming. Instead, focus on consuming quality calories from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. This way you won’t have to worry about how many calories you’re burning at the gym.
You Grab Items At The Grocery Store That Are Labeled ‘Fat-Free,’ ‘Gluten-Free,’ Or ‘Sugar-Free’
File this under: S-T-O-P. Think you’re being virtuous? Not exactly. “Reading the actual ingredients in a product is a fundamental part of weight loss. Unfortunately, many of the health claims put on food are misleading and unregulated. Instead of grabbing for marketing terms, get to know what is in your food—and make an informed decision based on that,” suggests Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities and TWN collection.
Falling Into The Fake Healthy Foods Trap
A food package may say gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, high fiber. and more but the reality is, eating these foods is replacing one bad-for-you item for another. This is how it goes:
A sugar-free product will contain sugar substitutes that are bad for you. Aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin are just three of the replacements for sugar.
While a food may be touted as fat-free, that doesn’t make it healthy. In fact, cookies and cakes, for example, that have a fat-free label are highly processed and filled with added sugar.
Fake healthy foods are full of salt, sugar and a whole heap of chemicals that you really don’t want in your body.
Don’t make the mistake of eating packaged foods that are claimed to be high in protein. Bars, super processed powders, and pre-made protein shakes are typically full of fat and high in sugar content. Just like I shared in my video on 5 easy high-protein shakes, there are protein powders that are better for you than others, so make sure to look at the ingredient labels and make sure to reduce the number of ingredients as much as possible.
The simplest way to avoid the “fake healthy foods” mistake is to stick with clean-eating. Don’t eat from a package; eat whole foods like grains, full-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, beans, and more. The list of foods you can have when trying to lose weight is so long when you choose to eat natural foods. Simplify things and stick to nature’s offerings!
Relying on Low-Fat and Diet Foods
When trying to lose weight, many people adopt the habit of looking for ‘low-fat’ or ‘diet’ labels before deciding whether a food is diet-friendly.
Such foods, however, may contain abundant fats and hidden calories as well as artificial sweeteners.
Furthermore, eating such foods can cause sugar cravings, reduce your energy level and lead to weight gain over time.
Foods high in saturated fats should be replaced with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. This means you should focus on eating foods made with liquid vegetable oils but not tropical oils.
Just like low-fat foods are not always the best choice for weight loss, switching to diet drinks is more harmful than good.
Diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners that may trigger your appetite and even inhibit the brain cells that tell you that you are full.
For weight loss, it is better to follow a low-carbohydrate diet. This type of diet is highly effective, as it helps reduce insulin resistance and even addresses the underlying problem rather than just treating the symptoms.
Consuming Liquid Calories
Liquids like sodas and fruit juices should be avoided while on a weight loss diet. They contain a significantly higher amount of calories as compared to solid food, and they do not make you feel satiated. The calories from liquids are also quick to get digested, so the body absorbs the high amount of calories easily, making it harder for you to lose weight.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
At first glance, it doesn’t look like sleep and losing weight have anything in common, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sleep deprivation leads to the levels of leptin (the “fullness hormone”) to plummet down while ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) gets overproduced. As a result, you’ll always feel hungry, so you’ll eat more and your body weight will increase.
Besides, the less sleep you’re getting, the more you crave high-fat and high-carb foods. And since you’ll be feeling so tired, you find it practically impossible to say no to those cravings.
Do this instead: make sure you get enough sleep. Adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to stay healthy. If you have trouble falling asleep, try creating a bedtime routine and sticking to a schedule.
Replacing Meals With Liquids.
“Green juices and smoothies are very popular right now, and a lot of people will use these as meal replacements. Unfortunately, oftentimes these beverages aren’t made up of the right mix of nutrients. Green juices lack fiber and protein, which are key nutrients in keeping you full and helping you meet your nutrient recommendations, and smoothies are typically loaded in sugar from juice, sweeteners, or too much fruit, and can be really high in calories from oversized portions of healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds.”
“Most people exercising diet control remove soft drinks and other sweetened beverages to lose weight. However, they still continue to take packaged drinking fruit juice. Even 100 per cent fruit juice is loaded with sugar and may lead to health and weight problems similar to those caused by sugar-sweetened beverages. One should instead consume 4-5 litres of water. You can add lemon or mint leaves to give it a different flavour. Unsweetened green tea is another suitable alternative,” he shared.
You Eat To Fast
A hectic time and a number of responsibilities reduce people’s time to eat. We have been in a hurry since early morning and we have no time to dine in the evening. Eating food too fast is not only annoying but also harms our health. When you eat quickly your body will not be able to send a signal to the brain that you are starting to feel satiated. The brain needs information from the stomach, as well as instructions from hormones that partially digested food already travels through the digestive tract. These processes usually take 15 to 20 minutes. 
A study in Japan examined three groups of people over a period of 5 years. The subjects ate fast, at normal pace and slowly. 11.6% of people who ate fast had a predisposition to developed metabolic syndrome. The results in the other groups were significantly lower. People who ate at normal pace had a predisposition of 6.5% and those who ate slowly only 2.3%.
Metabolic syndrome is not the disease itself, but a group of risk factors that lead to the disease. These include obesity, high blood pressure, increased levels of “bad” fats and blood sugar. The occurrence of one of the above-mentioned factors can be considered as this syndrome. Combining multiple options further increases the risk of other diseases. However, the positive thing is that you can get the metabolic syndrome under control. However, this requires a sharp change in lifestyle.
Thinking Fat Is The Enemy
“At this point, anything low-fat makes my skin crawl,” says Alpert. “Fat is such a necessity in our diets, but people are still petrified of fat.” Alpert, who is confident that eating more healthy fat and less sugar is how we should be battling the obesity epidemic, is surprised to still see others recommending strict low-fat diets to clients.
Smart weight solution
Eat some filling, healthy fat at each meal: nuts in your breakfast cereal, an olive oil-based dressing on your salad for lunch, grilled salmon for dinner. When processed foods cut out fat, they typically have to add in sugar, salt and other unhealthy ingredients to compensate for taste; these can still make your body cling to weight.
Not Eating Enough Fiber
A low-fiber diet may be compromising your weight loss efforts.
Studies show a type of soluble fiber known as viscous fiber helps reduce appetite by forming a gel that holds water.
This gel moves slowly through your digestive tract, making you feel full.
Research suggests all types of fiber benefit weight loss. However, a review of several studies found viscous fiber reduced appetite and calorie intake much more than other types (29, 30Trusted Source).
When total fiber intake is high, some of the calories from foods in mixed meals aren’t absorbed. Researchers estimate that doubling daily fiber intake could result in up to 130 fewer calories being absorbed
You Cook Everything In Olive Oil
Perhaps you’ve heard olive oil, like avocados, falls under that “health fats” bandwagon. Maybe you remember reading a study about how the Mediterranean Diet is a boon for weight loss so you’ve been guzzling it ever since. Or maybe you just dig its rich and filling taste. Either way, too much of a good thing ain’t a match made in healthy weight loss heaven. “Olive oil is definitely a ‘healthy fat,’ meaning it has heart protective properties and can lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol,” explains Hayim.
“However, all oils are fat, and fat will always be calorically-rich. Even though these calories are ‘healthy and good for your heart,’ a small amount can calorically add up fast! Use olive oil mindfully; instead of cooking all your food in olive oil, choose one food out of an entire meal to complement its taste, and use alternative cooking methods like steaming or blanching [which just require water!] for the rest of the food you prepare.
Drinking juice, as opposed to eating fruit in its natural form, is a huge weight loss mistake. So often I hear people going on juice cleanses, and I just don’t understand why because it’s a huge mistake. Why is juice not the best choice? When eating a piece of fruit, you not only get the pleasure of the crunch-factor or juiciness, but you also get the benefit of the fiber contained in the pulp or skin.
Drinking the calories also means you are filling up on sugar. Your body does not get the workout it needs to process a piece of fruit, and that can lead to weight gain and sugar dependency. Sugar spikes from drinking juice are the result of an instant release of sugar to the blood.
Instead of drinking fruit juice, take advantage of the fiber and nutrients in the pulp and skin. Because a piece of fruit takes longer to process, your body gets to use the sugar as an energy source. Drink water and eat a raw piece of fruit for maximum benefits.
Being Too Busy To Be Healthy
What over-extended professional hasn’t felt like there’s no time to squeeze in a workout or eat a home-cooked meal? This can’t-do-it-all mentality affects health and nutrition experts as much as the rest of us, says Alpert. “When I start neglecting myself – skipping my morning run or spinning class – I feel it a couple of days later. I’m more lethargic, I lose my patience more easily. I have to tell myself ‘OK, mama needs to eat a salad’ to get back on track and feel better.”
Smart weight solution
Life’s busy traps ensnare the best of us. When they do, remember this mantra Alpert uses: “The healthier you feel, the better and more efficient you’ll be at your job, and the happier you’ll be with your family and friends.”
Start by trying out these easy tricks that can make anyone healthier, and you’ll be turning them into regular healthy habits in no time.