44 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals from 44 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

44 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

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44 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

Losing weight is not rocket sense, and that means a lot of bumps and mistakes along the way. Due to the fact that having smaller waistlines and toned legs are such popular goals, there is a ton of bad information out there.

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Sipping on plastic bottles

You know that drinking a lot of water is always a good idea, not only to lose weight. It turns out that you have to be careful about how you store the water. Studies suggest that Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastic, prompts more fat in the body.  Research has showed that people with the highest concentration of BPA in their urine had bigger waistlines and were more likely to be overweight.

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It’s not about willpower –it’s about want power

In the process of change – the most difficult stage is the action phase, Jaime Brenkus, a fitness coach for Evergreen Wellness, says. “You need to create that desire. How much do you desire to lose weight …for good this time?” That mental aspect can be the difference of starting on your journey or staying where you’re at, he adds.

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You are avoiding desserts

It’s all about moderation. That includes how many sweets you eat a day. It’s never good to gut them off completely. In fact, a study showed that eating some kind of dessert in the morning can actually help you lose weight. Participants who ate something sweet with breakfast lost more weight than those who did not and, maybe more importantly, kept it off.

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You want perfection

Staying focused on your goals is not an easy task. You have to ask yourself again what is the real reason that is motivating you to start this weight loss program, Brenkus says. Once you have that burning desire, you have to give yourself a chance to succeed, he adds. “There’s going to be times that you are going to not eat as healthy as you want –it’s OK; a slip is not a fall.” Just dust yourself off and move on, he adds.

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Emotional eating

In order to fix stress-induced eating you have to retrace your steps, Brenkus says.  What is it at that moment that you turned to food for your comfort?  Is there a pattern in your behavior? “That’s why it’s important to keep a food journal for the first few weeks to see what you’re eating and  how you react to that day’s meals, or stressors. If you nibble it, scribble it!”

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You rely on protein bars

Protein bars and shakes are “healthy” treats that are sabotaging weight loss goals because they have too many artificial sweeteners, Felicia Romero, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert, says. While this is a zero or low calorie alternative, it has been found that adults consuming diet beverages tend to have increased consumption of solid-food matter; so much so that it offsets the calorie savings from the artificial sweeteners, Matt Thorsen, masters in Exercise Science and product specialist at SportsArt, says. “Acute and chronic intake of artificial sweeteners can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity which can set one down the path of type 2 diabetes.”

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You’re eating sweets at the wrong time

You shouldn’t cut dessert out of your menu, but you can eat it at the best time possible. “I would say try to eat around your workout times,” Romero says. “You will burn it off a lot faster and the sugar will be used during the workout.”

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You set the bar too high and in the wrong place

A “complete workout” is not a function of time, Andrea Marcellus, fitness expert and founder and CEO of and/life, says. “It is about balanced work of the muscles: pulling weight toward you and pushing weight away; working your legs in both parallel and in turn out; moving your spine in every direction – flexing your torso forward, twisting both directions and bending your body both backward and from side to side.” The and/life app features a 5-minute “complete” workout – exactly the kind of thing you need for a pick-me-up or on a day when you’re just moving to “maintain.” 

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You hand out with the wrong people

Often times people can make you feel bad and make you feel guilty for not partaking, Romero says. Do you get a lot of “oh c’mon one meal won’t hurt you!”? “You really must be true to your goals and make the decision whether you want to partake in happy hour etc., she says. “That’s why it’s really about consistency over time; a meal or two a week won’t throw you off but when doing that several times a week could keep you from your goals.

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Hopping on the scale

This may seem counterintuitive but weighing oneself regularly can be detrimental to overall weight loss, Thorsen says. “Success towards a weight loss goal is more beneficially measured by adherence to a set plan than actual weight loss.” A 2014 study found that successful weight loss in one week actually negatively affected the weight loss for the following week because individuals felt they had attained some success and, afterwards, slackened up on their hard work, equating to diminished results the following week, Thorsen says.

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You like meal replacement product

Don’t buy into the marketing. Many of these foods are super-calorie dense and chock full of sugar in the form of concentrated fructose, Marcellus says. “Dried fruit packs more sugar into a smaller bite.” Even if there were no additives or unpronounceable ingredients, meal replacement products never actually replace real food, she adds, because they do little to create the kind of lasting stomach-satisfaction that keeps you from overeating at night. “By the time you get to dinner, it’s like opening the hunger floodgates.”

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Your friends and family can be saboteurs

For example, they may have good intentions to ask you to go out for ice cream after a meal –just because it’s “our” routine, Brenkus says. “Let them know that you’re trying to really watch your weight, and that you would like to go for a walk instead. Or, you can go to events –and don’t make food the focal point.”

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You eat “healthy” snacks

Granola is always considered a ‘health’ food –however, it’s riddled with sugar and added fat,” Brenkus says. “The flavored yogurts have tons of sugar too.” Sugar is your nemesis –as it provides no nutrient and plenty of empty calories.  Keep it low, he adds.

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You cut out an entire food group from your diet

“The biggest misconception I’ve heard is that you need to completely get rid of carbs to lose weight,” Romero says. In fact, cutting out a food groups (fats or carbs) is not recommended. “That would work initially but it’s not great for long term,” Romero adds. “Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to certain foods I would suggest focusing on the quality of the foods vs the stigma behind carbs or fat.”

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You get too bogged down in the why’s

“We waste tons of time asking why and chewing on the possible answers over margarita’s and tortilla chips with our girlfriends,” Marcellus says. The why’s don’t matter so much as the “what” you’re going to do about it, she adds. “Hint: the “what” needs to be something close to how you actually live so that the results are actually achievable and, even more importantly, sustainable for the long haul.”

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You only do cardio at the gym

Cardio is very easy to fit into your day to day routine – the simplest way being to walk whenever and wherever you possibly can, Marcellus says. It’s imperative to get your heart rate up for 20 consecutive minutes every day. “No gym, no problem. And when in doubt, just go for a brisk ‘10 & 10’ walk at lunchtime – ten minutes in one direction and ten minutes back. Done.”

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You don’t stand up enough

“I’m also a huge advocate of standing more during the day – which will allow you to burn more energy throughout the day,” Marcellus says. The other great thing about standing is that you’re halfway there to doing some moves every now and then like 20 squats, 20 ballet plies, 10 pushups against your desk or counter, she adds.

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Lack of sleep

“Missing out on sleep doesn’t just mean you’ll be more tired for the next day, it can actually have a deleterious effect on your weight loss goals, Thorsen says. Studies have shown that individuals who sleep less tend to consume a greater number of calories during the day. In addition, they are missing out on all the reparative benefits of a good night’s sleep, he adds. “So strive for that golden rule, 8 hours, and keep shedding those pounds.”

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Poor planning

If you are prepared mentally and physically it is easier to circumvent temptations, Thorsen says. “One of the best ways to prepare is with meal prep.” Having your meals prearranged and prepared means that there is no moment of vacillation when selecting what to eat.”  In a moment of strength you have selected healthy, balanced eating choices so that future you can be more successful, Thorsen adds. “Plan your day so you fit in a workout, look up menus ahead of time so you know what you will pick, or bring healthy snacks so you don’t have to get food from a fast-food drive through.”

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You are over-exercising

No matter what your goal is, overdoing it will only lead to unnecessary soreness, a high probability of overeating, and all around frustration when you don’t achieve the body of your dreams after considerable and dedicated effort, Marcellus says.

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You’re only doing cardio

People spend long, tedious minutes doing cardio. “Yes, it’s better than nothing,” Brenkus says. “However, if you want to see results, you need to focus on strength training so you can get the ‘afterburn.’”  It’s the after burn effect, which can help you burn more calories long after you’ve worked out. “This is pure physics. When your muscles are stressed and stimulated they grow and get stronger and the result is that they burn more calories at rest,” he adds.

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You are doing the same exercises

You should switch your routine at least every 4-6 weeks, Romero says. “Listen to your body and try something new.” Changing the sequence, the weights or timeframe is important, Brenkus says. “I believe when it comes to exercise –consistency beats intensity.  You need to choose something you like --- and stick with it. If you don’t like a certain exercise –you’ll never do it on a long-term basis,” he adds.

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You trust the scale

When someone is so obsessed about those 3 numbers on the scale –it is a detriment when it comes to fitness, Brenkus says. “When you start an exercise regime and start putting on lean muscle tissue the scale becomes deceiving; it might not change or may even go up.” Muscle is denser than fat, but you’ll be burning plenty of calories, he adds. However, this may throw a “weight loss” only person to get discouraged and give up. “The focal point should be inches, not weight.”

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You count calories

Counting calories can make you crazy, is totally unsustainable and a social downer, Marcellus says. “Instead, I advocate for a common sense approach: eating simple, nutritious foods that are ‘one step away from a tree’ as I like to say.” By focusing on simple, whole ingredients, combined with portion control, Marcellus teaches a technique that uses the size of your own hands as a first-step barometer and the feeling in your stomach as the second – you get the same benefits of counting calories, but without the headache or the eye-rolls. 

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You drink your calories

The only “calorie talk” Marcellus does is in asking people to try not to drink them. “Caloric drinks – juices, sweetened nut ‘milks,’ blended coffees, sweet teas, etc. – are always a place to look if you don’t seem to be reaching your fitness goals. A glass of wine is OK each night, or strategizing as close to only 7 alcoholic drinks per week as possible, she adds. “And, pouring a little less than you usually would or using a smaller glass can make a big difference to your waistline.”

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Too strict, too fast

Guidelines are good to have but cutting out too many things or making your weight loss plan too strict right off the bat can create unrealistic expectations, Thorsen says. “It becomes difficult to follow and if you ‘fall off the wagon,’ the feeling of failure makes it harder to get back on.”

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You overeat on healthy foods

Almonds and avocado, for example, are very healthy for you.  However, they are also high in calories and fat, although it’s a good fat, Brenkus says. “The key is portion control.  Like any type of food –if you eat too much of it—even though it’s healthy –it still can be stored as extra calories.” Too much fat can be an overeating of calories, Romero adds.

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Fat avoidance

“Our body needs fats for standard bodily function; therefore, complete fat avoidance in a diet can actually be harmful,” Thorsen says. Additionally, many studies have found that a low-carb diet rather than a low-fat diet is more effective in weight loss, he adds. “Don’t be afraid to consume some healthy sources of fats: nuts, avocados, oils, etc.”

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Excessive alcohol consumption

Having a glass of red wine has been proven to be beneficial for overall health, largely due to polyphenols; however, excessive alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on weight loss, Thorsen says. “There are 4 calories in 1 gram of protein, 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate, 9 calories in 1 gram of fat, and 7 calories in 1 gram of alcohol. So it is easy to see that a mixed drink combining alcohol and sugary mixers can easily start to rack up the calorie count.”

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You can eat gluten

Unless you’re sensitive to it, don’t cut it from your diet. Listen to your body—you’ll know if a food doesn’t agree with you.  “And gluten free is not calorie free –so if you’re watching your weight, keep that fact in your mind,” Thorsen says. “I think people think that if it’s gluten free that it’s going to be fewer calories because it’s ‘good’ for you,” he adds.

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You follow someone else’s exercise program

It’s important to strategize the type of exercise you do to match the physique you are trying to create: i.e. using free weights results in a rounder musculature than bands, Marcellus says. Way too many exercise programs out there today push way too hard and lack the appropriate customization for individual needs, she adds. “The set-up for injury aside, a competitive approach to exercise – whether against a person or just your wearable – can keep you from ever leaning out because you need to eat so much to sustain your workout programs.”

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Not moving

Diet AND exercise are so often clumped together but not always equally put into practice, Thorsen says. Diet has a major contributing factor but so does being physically active. Along with simply burning more calories there are a host of additional benefits to exercise, and resistance training specifically: “increased muscle mass helps to burn more calories throughout the day, improved strength, osteoporosis prevention, improved blood lipid profile, more energy, and psychology benefits.” 

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You don’t eat enough

“I believe in eating when you’re hungry,” Brenkus says. “It goes without saying, that if you’re starting an exercise program, it will require you to eat more often and having extra calories – food is fuel.” You may not know it, but starving is actually dangerous.

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You’re not doing HIIT

High intensity interval training is very effective and is ideal for when you only have a few minutes, Romero says. Burpees, jumping jacks , squat jumps , frog jumps will definitely make you feel “the burn.” Time yourself – 20-30 sec intervals with 10-15 sec rest, Romero says.

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You don’t exercise when you’re tired

A hard day at work should not be an excuse to sit on the couth all night and eat chips. Do at least some stretching and core exercises, Romero says. You can easily do that while watching TV. “Use your kitchen counter as a bar and do a few sets of kick lunges or plies before you’re down for the count,” Marcellus adds.

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Sugar-sweetened drinks

Sugar-sweetened drinks are one of the most easily consumed, high-calories food sources, yet they lack any real nutritional benefits, Thorsen says. It can be surprising how easy it is to drink 1-2 cans of soda a day, equating to roughly 300 calories and over 70 grams of sugar, he adds. “Next time, skip the soda and choose tea or water to cut down on calorie consumption.”

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No support system

An aspect that can keep someone from successful weight loss is not having a support system, Thorsen says. There are many smart phones apps with online communities that work to keep each other accountable, he adds. “Find a friend, family member, or significant other that can be there to support you and help you make the right decisions.”

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You are too concerned with “cheat days”

“I can’t stand the term ‘cheat day,’” Marcellus says. It implies that food you find satisfying as a matter of taste, tradition or emotion is “bad” – and in turn, you are also “bad” for eating it, she adds. “Any diet that creates or perpetuates a judgmental relationship with food – i.e. ‘good’ foods vs. ‘bad’ foods - is a recipe for unhappiness” By developing smart habits around your favorite foods, you can feel satisfied all the time and without ever being a “cheater” – which is just another word for failure, she says.

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Not using proper form when exercising

“One of the most common mistakes I see people make in the gym is to use bad form,” Russell Wynter, Personal Trainer & Co-owner of Madsweat, NASM- Master Trainer, CPT, CES, PES, says. Improper form will prevent you from achieving your goals and puts you at risk for injuries. “Joint and soft tissue are the majority of these injuries, some of which can set you back on reaching your goals taking weeks if not months to heal,” he adds.

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Not having a goal or a plan when you get to the gym

“Going to the gym without a goal is like saying ‘I want to drive from AZ to NY without a map or a compass,” Wynter says. If you don't have a map, how will you know where you are and when you will get there? “Goals are important as they give us the direction to follow and a way to measure our progress,” he adds.

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Too many sets

There is an inverse relationship between sets, repetitions, and intensity, Wynter says. “You’ll usually perform fewer sets when performing higher repetitions at a lower intensity (endurance adaptations) and more sets when performing lower repetitions at a higher intensity (strength and power adaptations). Muscular endurance and stabilization is best developed with 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions at 50 to 70 percent of 1RM intensity.

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Doing exercises that involve very few muscles

“Unless you are a professional bodybuilder – one who goes to the gym twice a day, seven days a week – you want to maximize your workout time to maximize your results by performing multi-joint exercises, like a push-up or a squat,” Bowflex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland says. These moves engage numerous muscle groups at the same time, giving you the best results in the shortest amount of time. “Doing a few targeted exercises like a biceps curl or triceps kickback is perfectly fine, but you definitely want to mix in other multi-joint/multi/muscle moves to really make the most of every session,” he says. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to spot-reduce your problem areas. “It is a myth and cannot be done.”

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Eating junk food after working out

“I often go to my local deli after a morning workout and order an egg white omelet, only to see numerous other members of my gym there eating large amounts of unhealthy foods after their workout sessions,” Holland says. The metabolic window, a short period of time (30-60 minutes) right after your workout, is when your body is best able to rebuild muscle. This is accomplished by consuming a combination of healthy carbohydrates and lean sources of protein. “When you eat low-quality/highly processed foods right after you exercise, you not only undermine the potential weight loss effects, you also negatively affect your muscle-building and toning,” he adds.

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Long rests

Muscular endurance and stabilization and hypertrophy adaptations are best developed with relatively short rest periods; generally 0–90 seconds, Wynter says, depending on the load, volume, and the current fitness level of the client. Maximal strength and power adaptations are best achieved with relatively long rest periods, generally 3–5 minutes.

44 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals