These Are the 10 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes You Need to Recognize and Avoid
You have a picture in your head of how you are going to look with your svelte new body, after you lose that weight that you are determined to shed. Visualizing is fantastic! Whether you’re motivated by an event like swimsuit season, a class reunion, a wedding, New Year’s Resolutions, or you just decide you want to make a change, we have the ten biggest weight loss mistakes to avoid, so you get to enjoy the results of all your hard work!
1. Eating Diet or Low-Fat Foods:
A lot of “diet” foods are packed with preservatives and added sugar. This can not only sabotage your work to lose weight, but it can strain your pocketbook as well since they are often spendy. However, it’s not just “diet” foods trying to fool you, but a lot of low-fat or fat-free foods are disguised as good for you as well. In order to create low-fat or fat-free versions, the fat is often replaced with added sugar or a sugar substitute so that flavor isn’t compromised. Added sugar and sugar substitutes are in so many foods that you really want to steer away from them when possible. Instead, opt for foods that are fresh and full of variety in colors and flavors.
2. Not Staying Hydrated:
The human body is 50-75% water depending on age and fitness level. You hear it over and over to drink more water. This can be easy for some, but not others. Why is it important and how can it help with your weight loss goals? Being well hydrated helps to eliminate the waste in your entire body. This helps so the body feels and functions better making you more likely to want to keep on the path you are going down.
Do you eat mindlessly, habitually, emotionally, or when you aren’t hungry at all? Substituting drinking water during those times can help so you don’t sabotage your goals. Be mindful though, and don’t go overboard.
Is it daunting trying to consume enough water in the day? Don’t despair, foods you eat can contribute to your water intake so that it can ease the burden of the amount you need to consume alone. Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, and mangoes are some great options to get extra water and have other benefits that will aid your weight loss as well. If you have a hard time drinking plain water you can also add fresh fruit or mint into your water to add some flavor without added sugars.
3. Not Enough Fiber:
Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables into your eating plan is excellent not only for the nutrients they provide, but for the fiber they add as well. Fiber helps keep your digestive tract moving so that what goes in comes out in a timely manner. Foods with fiber also help you feel fuller longer, so you aren’t hungry as often. Some other good sources of fiber are oatmeal, beans, legumes, peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and flaxseed. On average it is recommended that men get 38 grams and women get 25 grams of fiber per day.
4. Only Counting Calories:
Not all calories are equal. 100 calories from cookies or pastries versus 100 calories from a balanced protein/carbohydrate snack are very different for your body and your overall weight and health goals. By adding better foods into your nutrition program, you are more likely to keep those habits as you ebb and flow with how attentive you are to your weight loss. This will also fuel the body better so that it has the energy and nutrients it needs to function well. By getting caught up in only counting calories, it discounts all the other nutritional properties of the food you eat.
5. Going to Extremes:
It’s common to make the decision and jump into weight loss head first. This can be wonderful and give you a great start so you are motivated to continue going. However, be mindful of developing an all or nothing mentality. If you do fall into this trap, don’t give up completely if you have a day where you don’t work out or you eat something that doesn’t fall within your food plan. You might find better and longer lasting success by easing into changes and opting for more moderation. Instead of being on a diet, adopting positive changes for life will help you see lasting results.
6. Not Including Good Fats:
Instead of trying to cut all the fat out of your diet, include fats that will benefit you the most. Fats in avocados or nuts are excellent for your overall health and they help you feel fuller longer along with tasting great and satisfying. Just be mindful of portion control as you would with all other foods.
7. Using Food as a Reward or Punishment:
If you are going to reward yourself for the weight loss, don’t make the reward food. Try not to make food a punishment either. Food can hold power when we attach emotion to it. Take the power back and use food for its intended purpose – to fuel and nourish your body. Fully enjoy it while you give your body the nutrients it needs, and reward yourself with non-food items.
8. Unrealistic Expectations:
Trying to lose weight too quickly is not only harmful to your health, but is also unrealistic. If you are working toward a certain date, plan accordingly. While numbers can vary and some weeks might be higher or lower, aim for losing one to two pounds per week. Realistic goals can help keep you on track and motivated so that you hit your mark.
9. Lack of Variety:
Eating the same foods or doing the same exercises over and over will not maximize the potential benefits or help you lose weight, and is one of the most common weight loss mistakes. The body needs variety in the foods you eat so that it gets the nutrients it needs from various sources. You need variety in your workout as well. When you continue to do the same exercises without mixing it up, the body adjusts and becomes more efficient. It doesn’t have to work as hard then to perform the same action. Change it up so you work different muscles, don’t overuse and open the body up for injury, and keep it fun so you don’t get bored.
10. Not Building Muscle:
While you definitely want to get cardio in your workout sessions, don’t forget to build some muscle. Maintaining muscle requires more calories than maintaining fat does. Studies aren’t clear on how high the difference is (due to differences in measuring values), but the benefits are there. Adding weight training into your routine twice a week will help tremendously in your weight loss, maintenance, and in how good you look and feel. With all activity, be mindful of your body so you don’t strain or over train.
Be sure to work with your health care provider to address any health issues that might need to be considered in your weight loss program. Along with avoiding these weight loss mistakes, set small goals in addition to your end goal so you have milestones to hit along the way and evaluate your progress. As Robert J. Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” If you have a set-back, don’t let it completely derail you, and with the continued small efforts you will be that svelte new you that you visualized.