COMMON WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKES » + how to avoid them
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Weight loss diets are all the rage these days but tricks, gimmicks, and money-grabs are abound. If you've fallen into a weight-loss trick or gimmick, don't give yourself a hard time. Most people have at one point or another. I'm sure your intentions were pure, but now you're probably feeling more restless than before and don't know what or who to believe… right?!
As a registered dietitian I see loads of weight loss "mistakes". By sharing with you the 12 most common mistakes I see, I hope you can avoid become victim to these pitfalls. I'll also offer suggestions on where to focus your energy for maximum results.
1. Following a diet.
Distinguish between a diet and a lifestyle. A diet is something short-term gain. A lifestyle is something you can truly see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If you're following a diet to lose those 10 pounds or 5 kg in 1 week, it might work! But it won't stay that way. People following these crash diets often gain the weight back, plus more! But you already know this, so ask yourself: why do I keep going on a diet? One thing I recommend my clients to remind themselves is this: if there was a diet that really worked, we would all be skinny by now.
2. Short-term Gains.
Anything that promises instant results is a gimmick. This might not necessarily be a diet, but could be shakes, bars, pills, laser treatments, light therapy… the list goes on. Sorry to break it to you but at least now you can save your money. Instead, spend you time focusing on long-term gains; things you can do slowly and strategically to get to the results you want.
3. Restricting calories.
Restricting calories puts our bodies into a state of "ketosis". This does indeed supress appetite, and weight loss does follow. There is no doubt about that. But like the previous point, this is not sustainable in the long term. In fact, calorie-restriction slows the metabolism and may impede your attempts at weight loss in the future. You'll likely gain the weight back, plus more. What's more? Calorie restriction has been shown to lead to unhealthy relationships with food, even after the calorie restriction is over.
4. Skipping breakfast.
Time and time again studies show us that those who eat breakfast daily are of lower weight and are able to maintain this for longer, compared to people who skip. Skipping breakfast might seems like an easy way to cut calories, but it inevitably leads to grazing, unplanned snacking, and overeating later in the day. Include more fiber in your breakfast like whole grains, fresh fruit and nuts and seeds to help curb your hunger for the remainder of the morning.
5. Losing track of snacks.
Mindless munching really adds up. Don't deprive yourself of snacks if you find you need them, instead just plan for them.
6. Not snacking at all.
Some people do fine without snacks, but if you know this isn't you, then certainly have snacks! Just plan for them. By planning your snacks and not depriving yourself, you'll be better able to control your hunger and lose weight; snacking helps keep the metabolism in high gear. Try some fruit, or a small handful of nuts. Some studies have shown those who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those that don't. There's a few suggested reasons as to why, and one might be that the higher fat and protein keeps you more full for longer and revved until your next meal.
7. Sipping calories.
For some people, this is a silent culprit. Many don't realize just how much liquid calories can add up! I'm all for smoothies and occasional juices but I'm talking about excess juice, alcohol, soda, and gourmet coffees like mochas and lattes - some can have over 500 kcal per cup! That's an entire meal in a single cup! So stay hydrated, just sip smart.
8. Drinking too little water.
Water is essential for burning calories. If dehydrated, the metabolism drags, which means slower weight loss. Try getting in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times, and try having a glass at every meal and snack in the form of water or tea.
9. Eating Out.
Drive thrus and cafeterias add more oils to make the food taste better to keep you coming back for more… this means more calories than if you had made it for yourself at home. Enjoy eating out for special occasions or as a special treat, but not as a ritual. One solution to eating out less might be to meal prep so the thought of making a homemade meal doesn't feel so daunting during the busy week.
10. Focusing on will-power.
Again, studies continue to show us that will-power is a depletable source. If you rely on will-power to help you eat less or work out more you might find this tactic does not work. Instead, focus on your why-power. What is the true reason you want to eat better, or be more active? Right it down, and reinforce the "why", instead of the "will". Try writing this down in a journal, or on a post-it note that you can put on the fridge or the mirror as a daily reminder as to why you are wanting to lose weight.
11. Tunnel Vision.
Are you focusing on just one thing as being the source of your weight loss? Is only the food changing? Only the exercise? Food or exercise in isolation will help a little, but to reach your weight loss goals it's likely not enough… it's the whole package/approach, including hydration, sleep, lack of substances, positive emotional state… yes - even your emotional state affects your weight loss! Being stressed increases cortisol levels which has been shown to cause weight gain and may also impede your efforts at losing weight.
12. Setting unrealistic goals.
Again, you're intentions may be pure, but do you find you keep setting goals you can't achieve? Are you being realistic about them? One-on-one counselling or coaching might help. Think about the most successful athletes out there: their success is no doubt because of their relentless effort, but in part due to the on-going coaching , guiding and mentoring they receive. Having a coach or someone to check in with is more powerful than you can imagine.
And that's it! Did any of these resonate with you? Let me know in the comments.
Remember: extreme diets and plans are not sustainable in the long-term. Ditch the "quick-results" mentality and focus on long-term changes... otherwise you may find yourself worse-off in a few months than when you started. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus on LIFESTYLE changes, find your "why-power", fall in love with the process, and the rest will follow.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Read this previous nutrition article called LATE NIGHT CRAVINGS » 5 ways to deal
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