Are you making these 9 weight loss mistakes?
If there's anything my 80 pound weight loss taught me, it's that there's whole more to weight loss than simply counting calories and exercising more.
Weight loss is a learning process of what works for you. What works for one, may not work for all. Anyone who has lost weight knows there are things that can sabotage weight loss. If you've ever attempted dieting and failed, read on to find out if these are mistakes you've made. Today I share with you 8 diet mistakes and how I overcame them to reach my weight loss goals.
Not Eating For Your Hormones
I don't know of a single diet that teaches women to eat for their hunger and fat loss hormones. This is something I teach my weight loss clients and it works.
Learning how food, exercise, sleep and stress affects your hunger, your cravings and ability to lose weight is a game changer. Once you understand these things, your reliance on willpower goes out the door.
This free weight loss training explains more.
Bottom line: learn how to eat for your hunger and fat loss hormones BEFORE jumping into any diet.
OD'ing On Protein
High protein diets remain to be a popular method for shedding pounds. As with any food, if you have too much of it the excess will be stored as fat. While protein is important, it’s not the only thing needed to support optimal health. It should be balanced with carbohydrates and healthy unsaturated fats.
The percentages of my daily calories usually break down into something like this: 20% fat / 40% protein / 40% carbs. For me, I’m at my best when my protein and carbs are at a similar ratio or when my protein is a bit more than carbs. Too much of one of the other and I’m not functioning like I should. Everyone needs to find the right balance for themselves.
Keeping a food journal is a good way to track your numbers. I track mine using an app called Lose It. I enter my food daily and the app does the math providing my calories and nutrient percentages so I know if I need to a little more or less of something.
As for protein supplements, they’re just everywhere these days. Protein bars and protein shakes galore!
I’ll let you in on a little secret. During my weight loss, I never once ate a single protein bar or protein shake. You really don’t need them to lose weight. You also have to be selective about them. Some are really healthy while others are packed with calories, sugar and other processed weird gunk.
Bottom line: Eat a balanced diet.
I admit, I wasn’t a vegetable lover most of my life. I’m sure I fell short of the 2 ½ to 3 cup daily recommended amount in my diet, but I'm making up for it now. I quickly got on the #eatyourveggies train when I had a big aha moment during my weight loss.
I realized through counting calories & monitoring my portions that I could eat a whole lot more vegetables compared to one measly donut and guess what? It kept me full a whole lot longer! Vegetables are great for losing weight because with such few calories you can have so many of them.
They’re packed with fiber not to mention all those minerals and vitamins. Before my weight loss, my meals centered on the protein. Now veggies are the star. My goal is to fill half my plate with vegetables.
Bottom line: #eatyourveggies lots of them....more than you can imagine!
Overestimating Calorie Burn
A mistake often made is overestimating the number of calories burned during exercise which leads weight watchers to think they can eat more. For dieters this is a problem because you may not be eating at a deficit which is needed to lose weight.
So here’s the skinny. Most activities take less calories than we think. For instance, a 30 minute brisk walk will get you ~150 calories and a 30 minute swim 200 calories. This is a baseline. It could be more or it could be less as everything depends on the person.
How hard are they working i.e. how much energy they’re exerting in their workout? What’s their current weight & BMI? Bigger people tend to burn more calories than smaller people. How old are they? Yes age matters too. As we age, hormones change which impacts metabolism and weight loss.
Another common mistake in overestimating calories is believing the number on gym equipment. These always overstate calorie burn. They aren’t calibrated to you and your body and therefore, aren’t a reliable source of data. The most reliable source is using a heart monitor that pairs with a sports watch.
I used a heart monitor for all my workouts during my weight loss to accurately calculate my calorie burn. It’s easy to do. The heart monitor will send data to your watch with your workout expenditure based on the weight, height, age, etc. that you entered.
This is really the best method for calculating calorie burn. The second best option is an activity tracker. While it doesn’t have a heart monitor, it can come close to your actual burn. I’ve used both together in the past and they are relatively close depending on the type of tracker and how you wear it.
Bottom line: Machines lie, get techy.
Slacking On Shut-Eye
I can’t tell you how important sleep is for weight loss and weight management in general. What do you do when you’re tired? Eat more!
For me, it usually starts with coffee in the morning to peel my eyes open so I can get through the day. Then as the day progresses and I begin to crash, the hunger monster strikes. That’s when I begin searching for food especially the sugary stuff. That’s exactly skimping on sleep sabotages your goals.
Bottom line: Get your zzz’s.
Consuming Sugary Drinks
Surprisingly you are what you drink and what you drink directly impacts the number on the scale. I remember being shocked when I realized this during my weight loss.
True story. I never knew drinks had calories and sugar. After all it’s a liquid not food. I never thought it could be attributing to my weight. You really do have to be conscious of what you’re drinking.
Sports drinks, juices, coffees, teas, flavored waters, sodas and alcoholic beverages are all suspects. Consuming drinks high in sugar raises your blood sugar causing the body to produce more insulin. This can make you feel hungrier causing you to overeat.
Throughout the course of my weight loss, I cut out all sugary drinks. Once I began eating healthy for a few months, these drinks began tasting gross to me. I actually noticed the large amount of sugar and made me feel sick. Eventually I didn’t crave them anymore and I stopped drinking them altogether and I've never looked back.
Bottom line: Watch what you drink.
Following Fad Diets
Usually fad diets turn out to be just that. A fad. Now I’m not about to bash a particular diet because at the end of the day everyone has to find what works best for them, but there are a few things I do not believe in when it comes to weight loss.
Number one - diets that force you to buy their pre-packed foods. Anything pre-packed is not real food.
They’re usually processed foods high in sugar and sodium. Even if you were willing to sacrifice your health for these foods, eating food that tastes like cardboard through the duration of your weight loss and into maintenance is not practical.
Number two – liquid or cleanse diets. A friend once asked me if she could lose weight doing this. My answer was of course you will, but as soon as you eat normal again the weight will come right back.
Your goal with losing weight should be teaching yourself healthy habits for life. This includes learning how to eat and what to eat to keep your fat loss hormones balanced, cravings away and improve your overall health so that you maintain your loss long-term. Remember there is no shortcut to weight loss. Find healthy foods you love and stick with them.
Bottom line: Eat real, whole food, not 80 calorie light 'n fit yogurts packed with sugar.
Making Too Many Changes At Once
My Dad always said “small snowflake makes big pile.” That phrase has stuck with me my entire life and it’s so true. Small changes make a big difference. With weight loss, we’re often excited about the prospect of losing weight, getting healthy and fit that we make too many changes at one time then we fail and stop. We forget to make small goals along the way to get us to that one REALLY BIG goal.
Making healthier choices when it comes to food and beginning an active lifestyle is a serious shock to the system. It’s a challenge for the mind and body to adopt them which is why so many give up. For me, I found it easier in my weight loss to accept changes because I did them in stages. First I began walking 30 minutes a day.
Then a few weeks later I swapped my daily café mochas for regular coffee. I suggest the same who wants to make a change. Try eliminating one sugary drink a week and eating a full serving of veggies with lunch 3x a week. Then a week or two later try eliminating two sugary drinks a week and adding a serving of veggies to your lunch every day. When making small changes, it’s easier to stick with them long-term.
I recommend building in rewards for yourself with each milestone you achieve. Get yourself a pedicure, buy yourself new lip gloss or treat yourself to new shoes. Whatever it is, celebrate the little wins along the way. You’ll feel more motivated to stay on the path when you do.
Bottom line: Small snowflakes make big pile. Go slow!
Not Being Accountable
Track what you eat, track what you do and be honest with yourself. It’s one thing to track food and exercise. But being honest with yourself is a whole other thing. When I talk about holding yourself accountable, I really mean being truthful & accepting your choices.
What I realized during my weight loss is we often justify our decision and behaviors to make ourselves feel better about making ones that we really don’t feel good about and we know we shouldn't be doing. The beauty about life is it's like a marathon. You won't run every mile perfect, every time. Treat life the same.
You don’t have to be perfect at being healthy all the time just most of the time. If you fall off the wagon one day, get back on it the next. Swallow your pride and move on. Words are power. When you see them in front of you written down, they become actionable. By disclosing honesty to yourself, you’ll begin to see patterns in your behaviors and make healthy changes overtime.
Bottom line: Be honest with yourself!