Your diet isn’t working – or at least, it’s not the way you thought it would. You’re not losing weight like you expected, and your body composition certainly isn’t changing the way you want it to. What gives? If you are trying to lose weight and actually want to see results, then here are seven mistakes that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Fix these, and you may just find your goals more attainable than ever before!
1) Cutting out whole food groups
Cutting out whole food groups can seem like a good idea because it limits your calorie intake and takes away some of your favorite foods. However, restricting your diet to too few calories causes your body to go into starvation mode, where it slows down your metabolism and makes it harder for you to lose weight. Instead of cutting out entire food groups, choose foods from each group (fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and fats) at every meal. This ensures that you’re eating a healthy balance of macronutrients at every meal. Your cravings for unhealthy foods will also likely be less intense if there are only small amounts of unhealthy food in each meal or snack—as opposed to sitting down with a huge plate full of high-calorie pizza.
2) Skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast is probably one of the most common weight-loss myths out there, and it’s also a favorite reason to claim I don’t have time to work out. But let’s get real here: if you think skipping breakfast is going to help you lose weight or burn more calories, let me be crystal clear about something for you: it won’t. Breakfast is just as important as your workout routine in helping with weight loss, if not more so. It gets your metabolism going and helps control cravings later in the day. Plus, it jump-starts your day—if there was ever a silver bullet for productivity purposes, eating breakfast was it!
3) Not drinking enough water
It’s no secret that drinking water can help you lose weight—it’s a simple but effective strategy, and one study found those who drank two cups of water before each meal lost 35 percent more fat. I don’t know about you, but I am always dehydrated! Sometimes it’s because I just forget to drink, and sometimes it’s because I’m too busy or lazy. Water helps flush out toxins from your body, keeps your skin glowing and organs functioning properly. You need to drink a minimum of 50 oz of water a day in order to keep your body working efficiently. The best time to drink? Whenever you’re thirsty—don’t force yourself to sit down with a glass in front of you!
4) Choosing unhealthy fats
When you think of fat, what do you think of? Cheese and burgers probably come to mind. So it might surprise you to learn that some types of fat are essential for a healthy diet. Choosing healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, salmon and avocados is one key to losing weight fast. You’ll want to avoid unhealthy fats such as trans-fats which can be found in margarine and spreads, vegetable oils and processed foods. These will clog your arteries and raise cholesterol levels; if these levels get too high your heart may have a hard time pumping blood around your body. If left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease or a stroke.
5) Taking diet pills
diet pills can be addictive, and if taken over a long period of time, they’re unhealthy. They also suppress your appetite which can lead to binge eating when they stop working. The only way to lose weight is by increasing your activity level and cutting back on calories—especially junk food and fast food. Taking diet pills might help you lose some pounds in the short term, but they’ll set you up for failure in the long run. Don’t take them! Instead, use a simple calorie counter app to stay aware of how many calories you consume every day. You should eat about 2,000 calories per day (men) or 1,600 (women). If you need more guidance with counting calories check out our guide here .
6) Focusing on the scale instead of your habits
We tend to focus on scale more than we should because it’s easy and quick. However, just focusing on a number isn’t an effective way to keep tabs on your weight loss. If you don’t remember to weigh yourself once a week, then there is a good chance you aren’t paying attention to other things in your life (like counting calories) that would be important in helping maintain your weight. Instead of automatically weighing yourself every day, try stepping back and focusing on your behaviors instead. If everything looks good after 2 weeks, then it’s time for another official weigh-in.
7) Ignoring non-scale victories (NSV)
Weight and health improvements come in many different forms. What’s important is to not discount positive changes, even if they aren’t related to your scale. In fact, when tracking your progress, it can be helpful to focus on non-scale victories. Whether it’s increased energy or stronger hair, pay attention to how your body is changing instead of simply how much you weigh. It’s easy to use a number on a scale as an excuse for losing motivation, but remember: Progress isn’t always linear and you may lose less than what you hoped for one week only to lose more than anticipated in another week. Ultimately it doesn’t matter—as long as you’re moving forward.