The 14 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Experts See from The 14 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Experts See
The 14 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Experts See
The 14 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Experts See
You have been trying to lose those last 10 pounds, but regardless of how healthy you have been eating and how often you have been hitting the gym, the number on the scale just won’t budge. You feel like you’re doing everything right, when the reality is that you may be sabotaging your weight loss goals without even knowing it.
Ignoring the Importance of Cravings
“If you’ve ever been on a diet, you will have noticed that you start craving the foods that you’ve restricted within a couple of days of dieting, or sometimes before you even start,” Fadela Hilali, Life Coach and author of STUFFED: How to feel so good about yourself you won't have room for cake,” says. “When we learn to anticipate eating chocolate whenever we are sad or stressed we, often unconsciously, develop a habit that strengthens over time – we learn that eating chocolate, or another type of food, soothes us.” When we are sad or stressed, but don’t get the “fix” we anticipated, we end up with an unfulfilled craving that leads to frustration.
Relying on Willpower
Oftentimes you will hear that willpower or a lack of it is one of the main reasons people fail in their dieting endeavors. “What many of us do not know is that willpower has limits and research shows that it gets depleted throughout the day,” Hilali says. “The more tired we feel, the less willpower we have for self-control and decision-making.” This is one of the reasons why it sometimes feels very difficult to motivate ourselves to go to the gym after a long challenging day at work, she adds.
Emotional eating is one of the main reasons people struggle to lose weight. “We all intellectually know that regular overeating and being overweight go hand in hand,” Hilali says. “We can also identify what’s good for us (wholefoods, vegetables, etc.) and what’s not so good (refined sugars, highly processed foods, etc.). And yet, we go straight for the cookies at work or order dessert even when we’re full.” This is because we have come to use eating as a way to distract us from uncomfortable emotions. Unless we develop alternative ways of coping with stress, we will always struggle with food and our weight as a result, she adds.
Not Eating Enough
People are still under the impression that to lose weight you have to cut down on food. “Sometimes, they cut down so much that they don't eat enough,” says Anne Iarchy, Personal Trainer and Nutritional Therapist, “which then results in no weight loss at all.” It's not just about cutting out calories, it's about eating right for your lifestyle and needs, she adds.
Doing Endless Cardio Workouts
“Just doing cardio such as running on the treadmill is not enough,” Iarchy says. “To lose weight, you need a good combination of cardio and strength training.”
Thinking That Eating Low Fat Products Will Help With Weight Loss
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Over-using Energy Drinks
“Energy drinks have become a staple in many workout routines, but unnecessarily so. Endurance athletes use them because they’re not working as hard in the short term, BUT they’re out there doing their thing for a long time,” says Julia Buckley, fitness trainer and author of The Fat Burn Revolution. “They’re sweating a lot over a long period of time. Think marathon training. You need to replace your electrolytes for safety reasons.” Energy drinks are loaded with empty calories, sugar and sodium - they’re supposed to be. But they were really not intended to supplement beginners’ workouts, she adds. “As a beginner, you don’t need to replace what you haven’t lost a significant amount of.”
Staying at the Gym Too Long
Logging more workout time doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing your body any extra good. “You could spend an hour at the gym but if you’re not putting all your effort into it that whole time, it’s not time well spent," Buckley says. “Shorter, more intense workouts like HIIT are much more effective. You’re working out less, but you’re doing more in that shorter amount of time.” A 20-minute high intensity workout is much more effective than 45 minutes at a low intensity setting on any machine, she adds.
Trusting the Scale
“If you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a close eye on your weight is probably one of the worst things you can do, especially in the very beginning,” Buckley says. “Weight fluctuates. You gain muscle. Fat loss takes more time than most people’s patience allows.” Yes, aiming to lose weight is a great goal, but it’s very easy to get discouraged when it starts to feel like the results you want aren’t happening as fast as you want them to, she adds. “Stick to goals you can count on, instead of something you can’t always control.”
When you count calories, you begin to focus more on the amount of food you are eating rather than the quality of the food. “There is also a tendency to focus on reading the nutritional panel, rather than the ingredients list which is more important,” says Jordan Pie, Changing Habits Nutritionist. “Counting calories begins to shift your focus from how you eat to how much you eat, which promotes a stress based relationship with food.” Instead try to focus on consuming REAL, whole, nourishing foods; choose quality over quantity to invest in your health now and to prevent illness costs in the future, she adds.
Food Equals Energy
“When people are stressed, and choose to eat food while they’re ‘on the run’ or in front of their computer/TV, they don’t properly digest the food because they’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode,” Pie says. “As a result the nutrients and minerals aren’t properly absorbed from it.” This may lead to feelings of being unsatisfied, lethargic, and potentially experiencing uncomfortable gas and bloating, she adds.
Reading Nutritional Panels, Instead of Ingredients Lists
Food products may look as if they have a number of amazing health benefits, but the reality is that it’s important to understand what’s behind the ‘marketing claims,’ Pie says. “Don’t focus on the fat, salt, sugar or protein content of the food; instead learn to read the ingredients list.” If there are ingredients in there that you don’t recognize, chances are your body won’t either, she adds.
Skipping on Protein
“Skipping protein is not a healthy option and it won’t make you lose weight faster. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, the body doesn’t store protein; it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low,” Pie says. “It’s important to become in tune with your body and to eat when you are hungry and learn to listen to what your body needs on a daily basis.”