Many of us have either tried to lose weight or have at least wanted to lose weight and it’s easy to be misinformed or to waste time by relying on the wrong solutions. Here are some of the most common weight loss mistakes.
1. RELYING ON THE SCALE
One of the most common weight loss mistakes majority of us are guilty of is relying on the scale to detect our progress. Although it can be a helpful tool, especially for those looking to lose an excess amount of weight, it can actually hinder weight loss. First off, this is because most of us don’t understand that there is a difference between weight loss and fat loss. We use the phrase, “weight loss” to describe wanting to lose fat.
Second, the scale doesn’t know the difference between muscle and fat, so even though you might be exercising and eating clean, the number might not go down because while you’re losing fat, you may also be gaining muscle in the process. Be mindful of this the next time you look down at that pesky number, because it typically does more harm than good and isn’t always accurate like you think. Learn more about the scale here.
2. DOING TOO MUCH CARDIO AND NOT ENOUGH WEIGHTLIFTING
One common myth we are told is to run for weight loss. Too much cardio can actually do the opposite and cause weight gain because your body will eventually burn muscle instead of fat. According to Health Magazine, too much cardio can cause the body to store energy as fat and increase your appetite, making you more inclined to overeat. A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat, so that’s why it’s advised to strength train if you’re looking to lose fat.
3. EATING TOO MANY HEALTHY FOODS
Yes, you can gain weight from healthy food. This is because eating too much of anything is not good. Fat loss takes place with a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you consume, which is why it’s imperative to practice portion control if you’re trying to achieve weight loss.
4. EATING LESS BUT NOT HEALTHIER
Eating too little and too much both hinder weight loss, especially if your diet is small amounts of processed junk food. Not only is it not enough food to satisfy hunger cues, but junk food lacks nutrients, which leads to deprivation, overeating and ultimately, weight gain. In order to reach your weight loss goals, you need to eat more healthy foods like vegetables, lean meats and whole grains and indulge in moderation.
5. BEING IMPATIENT
Weight loss takes time, and this isn’t just because it feels like forever to see results, it’s actually scientific. It takes 12 weeks of consistency to see measurable changes in your body and often times, most people fail to lose weight because they aren’t patient.
So, the next time you see something online or on television that promises to help you lose weight fast, it’s safe to say that you won’t keep the weight off. Keep in mind that even though it might take some time to lose weight, the good news is that it also takes time to pack on the pounds. One good meal won’t make you fit or thin just like how one bad meal won’t make you fat.
6. EATING “DIET” FOOD
We are convinced that something is better for us or will help us lose weight if the label says “diet” or “low-fat.” Take something that is fat-free for instance.The product has been stripped of fat but replaced with added sugars to make it taste better. According to Healthline, low-fat or fat-free foods contain higher amounts of sugar, which increase hunger signals and cause you to actually consume more calories.
Rather than focusing on labels, maintain a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods like fresh vegetables, protein and whole grains. You’ll have a lot better luck at losing weight this way than relying on diet foods that contain hidden ingredients and added sugars.
7. RELYING ON OUTLETS OTHER THAN DIET AND EXERCISE
Like it or not, there is no “magic pill” for weight loss–at least not for long-term results. There are “fat burners” and crash diets out there that might help you shed a few pounds initially, but the cold truth is simple–you have to eat right and work out to lose weight, and to keep it off, stay away from dieting. It’s not a realistic weight loss approach because people typically don’t maintain it.
8. REWARDING YOUR WORKOUTS WITH FOOD
It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself sometimes, but it’s also easy to get carried away and set yourself back if you aren’t mindful. According to Reader’s Digest, a study found that people claimed to have burned more calories than they actually did during a workout and then consumed more food than usual as a reward for exercising. Having that mentality can sabotage your weight loss goals because you can’t out-train a poor diet, so instead, eat clean 80 percent of the time and reward yourself 20 percent.
9. CUTTING OUT TREATS
On the contrary, it’s also a common mistake and habit to feel like we have to deprive ourselves of our favorite guilty pleasures. Once this happens, we immediately crave them more because it’s not realistic or sustainable to quit something we love cold turkey. Just like with rewarding yourself, practice everything in moderation instead of restricting yourself to the extreme.
10. DRINKING YOUR CALORIES
This includes alcoholic beverages and “healthy” smoothies that many dieters drink as meal replacements. It’s easy to ignore liquid calories or not count them, but these calories definitely matter and can easily skyrocket your daily intake. “Healthy” smoothies or shakes often contain hidden ingredients and added sugars that spike your hunger cues, leaving you hungrier and reaching for more food, according to Reader’s Digest.
11. COPYING SOMEONE ELSE’S DIET AND EXERCISE PLAN
Although clean eating and consistent exercise is better than a poor diet and no exercise, what works for someone else might not work for you. Everyone has different lifestyles, body types and habits, and some even have medical conditions that hinder weight loss. If you’re unsure about what works for you, get with a personal trainer that will push you harder during workouts and help your form custom meal plans.
12. DINING OUT TOO OFTEN
Even if you order on the lighter menu or you order something that’s supposed to be “healthy,” there’s definitely a good chance it’s actually not good for you. Sure, some restaurant items are worse than others and it’s important to be mindful when you go out, but many dishes have hidden ingredients and are packed with excess sugar and fat. Limit dining out to once a week and cook healthy meals for the remaining days.
13. LETTING GO ON THE WEEKENDS
You eat clean and exercise Monday through Thursday but once the weekend rolls around you dive head first into greasy food, alcohol and skip the gym. This probably sounds familiar to you since it’s a very common weight loss mistake and is typically the main culprit for stubborn fat that sticks around. By over-indulging on the weekends, you’re taking two steps forward and one step back. Avoid this by limiting alcohol intake and being mindful when you dine out. Moderation is key to realistic and healthy weight loss.