Losing weight can be so hard.
We feel like we’re doing everything right, yet still not getting results.
There’s so much information out there about what we should and shouldn’t be eating.
It feels as though we eat less and less but continue to gain weight.
It’s so discouraging.
Don’t despair! I’ve put together for you some of the most common mistakes I see people make in their weight loss efforts. Let's get right to it!
1. Not Eating Enough Fiber
I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to fiber. In my opinion, adequate fiber intake is at the top of the to-do list for weight loss.
If fills you up, so you eat less, and it keeps you full so you don’t get hungry as quickly. Soluble fiber forms a gel that holds water, and moves slowly through the system. It takes longer to digest than many other foods.
All types of fiber help with weight loss, but this soluble (viscous) fiber has the most impact
Find it in oats, barley, apples, citrus fruits, strawberries and legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
2. Skipping the Weight Training
As we age, we lose muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so as we lose it, our metabolism slows down. It’s a vicious cycle. As our metabolism slows down, we burn fewer calories. And so on.
To avoid muscle mass loss, or to reverse it, weight lifting is crucial.
Weight lifting increases our metabolic rate, so we burn more calories, even at rest. It keeps us strong, confident and able to keep up our daily activities as we age.
3. Focusing Too Much on the Scale
It’s so discouraging to be working so hard to lose weight, then step on the scale and see no change (or not as much as we expect). It’s sometimes enough to make us throw in the towel.
Don’t do it! Scale weight doesn’t measure body composition. Two people who weigh the same amount may have very different amounts of fat vs muscle. And if you’re weight training, as you should be, the number on the scale may not move as much as you like.
It’s also influenced by the amount of fluid in your body and how much food remains in your system. Women can also retain water based on hormonal fluctuations.
So don’t be too invested in the scale. Instead, focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel.
3. Not Drinking Enough Water
Speaking of fluid retention – if our body is not getting enough water, it retains what it does get. We’re smart. Our body needs water to survive. If you don’t give it enough, it will hang on to it. If it knows more is coming, it doesn’t. Simple as that.
4. Skipping Exercise
When you lose weight, particularly without weight training, you lose muscle mass, as well as fat. If you don’t exercise, this muscle loss will be amplified and your metabolic rate will decrease. (Which is a hamster wheel you don’t want to be on.)
Exercising (cardio and weights) will minimize the amount of lean mass you lose, boost fat loss and keep your metabolism up.
5. Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein (like fiber), fills us up, which decreases how much we eat (our calorie intake), and keeps us full. It also helps build and protect muscle mass during weight loss, to increase our metabolic rate.
Be sure that all your meals and snacks include some protein.
6. Eating More Calories Because You Exercised
So many people justify eating more because they just had a great workout. When, in fact, all the calories they burned during exercise, and then some, were just wasted due to eating too much the rest of the day.
Yes, exercise increases metabolism and burns calories. Exercise, in combination with cutting calories, leads to weight loss. Exercise, in combination with extra calories, leads to weight gain.
7. Setting Unrealistic Goals.
Everyone wants to lose weight right away. But our goals have to be attainable. It’s not realistic to expect to lose 20 pounds in two weeks. Or 50 pounds in a couple of months.
And the problem is, oftentimes, when we don’t meet our unrealistic expectations, we quit altogether.
Talk with your doctor or a personal trainer to determine realistic, attainable goals. If those goals seem too far out, set mini goals. Maybe for every 10 pounds, you treat yourself to a facial or something else you’ve been wanting.
8. Eating ‘Lite’ or ‘Diet’ Foods
Most of the foods you see in the grocery store labeled low-fat or (other modified calorie adjectives) are highly processed. They often replace the fat with extra sugar or salt. The usually don’t have fiber and they just make us hungrier.
The best foods, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, are whole foods. Foods in their natural state, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and unprocessed or minimally processed grains, meats, eggs and dairy products.
9. Not Being Aware of How Many Calories You’re Eating
Food tracking, at least until you can develop an understanding of what you’re eating, is a great way to determine how much you’re actually eating. Most people highly underestimate. When you have to track every serving, every bite, and every teaspoonful of sugar in your coffee, for example, you often come to a shocking realization.
The bottom line is – calories in, calories out. If you don’t have a handle on how much you’re taking in, it’s hard to determine portion sizes.
10. Not Considering Beverages
Often overlooked, many beverages are high calorie and can completely sabotage weight loss efforts. Soda, of course, but also fruit juice and alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and calories and are completely empty calories, meaning there’s not nutritional value at all.
If you’re trying to lose fat, keep these tips in mind and contact me if I can help!