Weight Loss Mistakes I’m going to give you a list of 101 mistakes (give or take a couple) that are often committed by people like you and are trying to lose weight. Read them carefully so that you can avoid these pitfalls, stay motivated, and achieve the goals you set.
Who else wants to get a slim, sexy body?
Everyone does, or at least most people do. Does that include you?
If so then you need to read the rest of this or risk not losing any weight and missing out on that body you want.
That’s why I’ve compiled the biggest and most common mistakes that people make whilst trying to lose weight. Learn from these mistakes so that you don’t fall down these pitfalls yourself!
There’s so much to cover that I had to distill everything down to 101 mistakes (since 101 seems like a popular number), and had to split it into a 10 part series.
The series covers everything regarding the journey to losing weight and becoming the healthiest you can be.
weight loss mistakes everyone makes
Read them carefully so that you can avoid these pitfalls, stay motivated and achieve the goals you set.
Exercise mistakes – why your workouts aren’t effective
Diet mistakes – things you’re missing and misjudging
Psychological mistakes – why you’re struggling to get started or keep going
A mistake of choosing certain products – the fads and gimmicks that you need to stay away from
Dangerous practices – avoid these like the plague and never look back
Going on a crash diet
Crash diets might seem like the logical thing when you realize that you really want to lose weight. Maybe your diet and weight problems have been years in the making, and now you are desperate to get rid of it.
Crash diets will help you lose weight and initially, you will see significant results, however, they are not sustainable and before long you’ll have to go back to eating more food. Once this happens it’s almost impossible to not put the weight back on. So avoid going down the so-called “quick weight loss” route!
Who told you that missing meals was a good thing? It’s certainly not! More than a few people have been misguided into believing that simply eating fewer calories than you use up is all you need to do to lose weight. This is true overall, but that just overall. There are certainly wrong and right ways to make sure you consume less than you use.
In a pseudoscience kind of way, it makes your body think there is a lack of food. Your metabolism will slow down after missing meals, and you may develop headaches and feel a lack of energy.
Taking weight loss pills and injections
These products are marketed as near miracles and draws vulnerable people into its dishonest lair. An example is the HCG supplement which is derived from the uterus and naturally present in pregnant women. The effect it has on you is supposed to suppress your appetite, thus making you lose weight. Unfortunately, it also tells you to eat 800 calories a day, which brings it into low-calorie diet territory.
Not eating enough calories for many consecutive days is starving yourself, it lowers your metabolism and once you finish the diet (and lost significant weight) you’ll put on loads of weight very easily.
Doing the same exercise routine over and over
So you start a healthy weight loss plan, everything’s going great and you’ve lost quite a few pounds. You’re eating the right foods, sticking to mealtimes, and following some great exercise routines. But you notice that you’re not losing any more weight, what’s going on?
Your body has got used to your little routine, you not going to get any fitter or change your body anymore once you’ve adapted to your activities and diet.
Increase the intensity and/or do different workouts to start seeing more weight loss and increased fitness.
Not taking action – I’ll start tomorrow!
I should make an “I’ll do it tomorrow” box, then I’d be rich. I witness people put things off that matter the most all the time, afraid to start doing something today, right now.
It’s easy to give in to insecurities and fear, it stops you from becoming the person you want to be and actually is on the inside. I know all too well, I suffered from it myself. I put off not quitting my miserable job and leaving exercise until the following week (only to do it all over again).
Don’t be afraid to begin, it’s the only way you’re going to make a change in your life. Worry not about the details, find one thing and try it out – an exercise, cutting back on soft drinks, anything.
Comparing yourself to others
I know that when you look around you see fit people everywhere, it’s what you want to look like. Even worse is when you see other people successfully losing weight, and looking very happy about it. You’re wondering why you’re not making the same progress.
Let me tell you, we are our own harshest critics. When you are desperate to achieve something patience is not a thing that comes naturally. You must remember that everyone is different – we have different genes, mindset, diet, exercise routines, and more. It’s not right for you to be comparing your progress with others, it’s just not the right kind of comparison.
Just compare your progress with yourself. Look at the results you’ve achieved and go from there, which brings me on to the next mistake.
Not tracking your progress
When I say tracking I mean keeping a journal and entering information into it regularly. I recommend a weekly measure of vital stats – weight, inches, body fat content (if you have the equipment) – and daily food consumption. Also include exercise – workouts and how much you do of them.
With these stats, you can very clearly see how much progress you are making, and nothing is more motivating than seeing results.
There’s another highly valuable side to tracking stats and that’s for reviewing and adjusting your diet and/or fitness plan. Only by adjusting every few weeks or so will you experience highly effective weight loss and fitness gain.
Using big plates
No jokes. You’ll naturally want to fill up the plate you’re eating from, by using a small plate you’ll put less food on it thus limiting your portion size to avoid overeating.
Eating too quickly
There’s around a 20 minute lag between eating and your brain acknowledging the intake of nutrients. Eating fast means that you won’t get a chance to realize if you’re actually hungry or not, and this usually leads to overeating.
Make a conscious effort to chew your food more, take a breath between mouthfuls to slow your pace. More than occasionally I’ve eaten so quickly that I thought I was still hungry, after a short break I regretted eating so much and just had to slouch on the sofa for the next hour.
Even go as far as making your meals harder to chew if you must. But once you get into the habit of eating slower it’ll not be a problem, it’s getting the habit that needs some conscious effort.
Watching sports and not playing sports
Most people enjoy watching some kind of sport or another, and I know that they would really enjoy playing if they thought they could. Well, guess what!? You can!
If you enjoy football, go join a football team. Don’t be afraid that you’re not good enough as there’s usually something for everyone at all levels. Playing sport is fun and builds fitness, not to mention helping you to burn many more calories and lose weight.
Drinking too much alcohol
You may or may not have come across the alcohol diet, we don’t know who came up with it – but the twisted logic behind this is (probably) when you’re drunk you don’t give a monkey about being hungry so you won’t need to eat anything. Someone obviously tried to justify downing the beers whilst drunk.
What you have to know is that alcohol is high in calories, higher than most carbohydrates, and comparable to pure sugar. So drinking large amounts of highly digestible and easily stored alcohol is definitely not good for weight loss.
Not only that, alcohol is a diuretic which means that it makes you urinate more making you dehydrated. All of those nasty hangovers were largely caused by dehydration.
Dehydration is certainly not good for weight loss since water is the main constituent of body cells including blood cells – blood volume is directly correlated with the efficiency of the transportation of metabolic byproducts including that of burning fat.
For each bottle of beer, you drink you should replace it with another bottle and a half of water.
Worst of all, alcohol reduces your fat burning capacity by up to 73% which virtually pauses any progress your making. You’ll feel hungrier quicker and crave starchy foods, this will pile on the fat and it’ll take you days to get back on track.
Not doing resistance training
Much of the most over marketed advice tells you to eat a low-calorie diet and do lots and lots of cardio. This is actually not the most effective way to lose weight and certainly not the healthiest. Cardio is great for general fitness and burning calories, but it only does so whilst you are doing the exercise.
A lot of people miss out on resistance training or anything that’s the higher intensity and are also missing out on burning excess fat quickly.
1 pound of fat requires 3 calories of day to maintain, whereas 1 pound of muscle uses 8 to 50 calories per day depending on how physically active you are. The process of muscle repair is where the difference comes from, when you do a lot of exercises your muscles are damaged more (don’t be alarmed this is completely natural and safe).
Resistance training builds up muscle mass and also decreases insulin resistance which is one of the causes of feeling hungry when you’re not supposed to.
So start doing resistance training – it’s anything which you can sustain for a long time – think weights and sprinting. Combine it with adequate cardio exercise too.
Not joining forces with others
Nothing can compare with the motivational power of other people and the community, and this is certainly true for dieters and people trying to lose weight.
If you go about your weight loss and dieting alone you’re much more likely to fail than if you have a dieting buddy or are part of a community of people doing the same thing (think Weight Watchers and gym classes).
Tell your friends and family about your goals and keep on talking to them about it, even better if you can find a local group in which you meet regularly and discuss diet, progress, etc.
It’s very tempting to do more than what is planned in the hopes of losing weight quickly. This is a false logic because overdoing things greatly increases the risk of injury, and when you’re injured there’s no exercise to be done.
Overdoing things also means it feels much more difficult to do and is not a good factor for reinforcing your feeling of progress. It’s easy to lose motivation when you feel that something is not achievable. Small steps, small increases to motivation, esteem and you’re well on your way to success.
Remember to think about the long game because life is a long game, and achieving a healthy lifestyle (weight loss included) is part of life. Stick with the long term.
Not being active when you’re not working out
So your task for the day is done, you’ve done the workout, now it’s time to slouch on the couch. Don’t do this!
You’re wasting valuable time to increase your calorie burn, but even more importantly you’re not reinforcing your healthy habits and not just from a mentality point of view.
By be still for extended periods of time you build up much more fat on your internal organs, this is called visceral fat and is part of the metabolic syndrome – a major factor in heart disease and diabetes.
Move around when your watching TV, and don’t sit for long periods of time when you’re working, get up and move every 20 minutes or so.
Cutting out fat from your diet
You’ve been told more than once that reducing fat intake is healthy and a must for weight loss. This is misinformation because fat is an important group of nutrients that your body needs to function. Hormones are derived from fat, they control the vast majority of bodily response, there’s no sense in not eating enough fats.
The type of fat however is the issue. Avoid saturated and trans fats and opt to eat more unsaturated fat and specifically monounsaturated fats. Things that are high in monounsaturated fats are nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
Not dealing with stress
Stress is something that almost everyone experiences on a daily basis, but a lot of people experience high levels of it for extended periods of time, and frequently. These are people in pressured jobs, have family issues, financial issues, etc.
I can’t solve any of these problems, but there are many techniques you can use to reduce stress and there are many negatives with increased stress levels.
Stress causes you to release the hormone cortisol which increases belly fat build-up, reduces bone formation, and reduced your immune functions.
Interestingly enough exercise is the easiest solution for reducing stress, which is also what you want to do anyway for weight loss. But it might not be enough, so try something like yoga which is great for calming the mind and toning your muscles.
Not cooking your own meals
Eating out and prepackaged meals are convenient, but you also won’t be controlling what goes in them. Not only will you lose track of what and how much you’re eating you’re also going to be consuming unwanted preservatives, and other additives that keep packaged foods edible.
This is a major fact in overeating and losing focus on your goal.
Cook your own meals, do your own grocery shopping to be sure what you are eating and how much.
Not eating breakfast
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, fill out or fall out. Eating a nutritious diet that’s high in protein, unsaturated fats, and complex carbs is the way to go.
If you don’t eat breakfast your starting the day on the back foot – headaches, tiredness, and hunger are among the things you might experience.
Remember to eat breakfast and make a special effort to do so. Also, keep in mind what you are eating, not any old food is good for you, especially when you are trying to lose weight.
Eggs, high fiber grains, and lean meats are good.
Going the surgery route
There is only one situation where I think surgery should be accepted, and that is for people whose health is already affected but their weight situation.
Things like liposuction, gastric bands, and bypasses are in my opinion not the way to go for a number of reasons.
Liposuction – sucks out excess fat from the belly and other body parts. It doesn’t change your habits and health situation, carrying excess weight is bad for your joints and visceral fat is part of the metabolic syndrome. Liposuction only deals with excess weight, it doesn’t do anything to visceral fat and your lifestyle habits. Very short term solution (possibly too complimentary a word).
Gastric bands and bypasses – simply limit your appetite because your usable stomach space is significantly reduced. Not good either because it’s the equivalent of starving yourself, not only that your stomach has the capacity to expand in size over time. It very likely that your stomach will grow in size to accommodate relative overeating. This is also not a long term solution.
All surgery carries the risk of infection, allergic reactions to the anesthetic, and hospital superbugs. Surgery should always be considered as the absolute last resort.
Self-deception – Over-optimism and pessimism
We are exposed to numerous weight-loss claims and promises on TV, in magazines, and on the internet. Most of these are exaggerated or doctored, claiming to lose you 10 pounds per week or more.
It’s easy to get drawn in, as it preys on your hopes and desires, and expect to lose a comparable amount of weight in the same amount of time.
You become disillusioned when you realize that those claims were unfounded and that you’re not losing weight as you hoped. This can trigger a lot of people to simply give up… until the next bout of enthusiasm.
To avoid over-optimism and unrealistic expectations – Stop exposing yourself to these weight loss ads, stop reading gossip magazines, and start focusing on a healthy diet and exercise plan.
To curb pessimism and thinking you aren’t making progress – Track your progress by writing in a journal, taking note of your weight, measurements, and food intake. You’ll soon see that you are making good, steady, and sustainable progress.
Misjudging calories spent
Most of the tables and calculators that tell you how many calories you burn doing a particular exercise are a good indication. However many people make the mistake of taking that number at face value and thinking that’s the number of extra calories they’ve burnt.
In fact, it’s an estimate of the total amount of calories spent, not the extra calories, and includes your base metabolism. So when it says you will burn 500 calories an hour cycling it includes 100 or so if you were reading a book instead.
Workout your basic metabolic rate and subtract it from exercising expenditure to get an estimate of the real extra amount.
Training too much
Enthusiasm is great, but training every single day can lead to injury and a lot of downtimes. It’s a good idea to take a day off between intensive exercise days, it allows time for your muscles to heal and regain energy stores. Training too hard will only lead to damaged muscles that aren’t ready to be exercised as intensively, leading to injury and putting a stop to your exercise plan.
Once you’ve adapted to your exercise routine you can increase the frequency and intensity gradually.
Feeling the pain and giving up
Don’t give up! That’s what everyone says, and they’re right. If you give up then you have no chance of getting to where you want to be.
Exercising when you’ve had a lack of for a long time is extremely difficult. Your muscles start burning after what seems like just a few seconds, your breathing is maxed, you’re starting to feel like stopping.
It’s actually OK to stop, if you’re jogging you can slow down to a walk, if your cycling you can slow down a bit. But just make sure you increase your pace again as quickly as possible and maintain it as long as you can. Stopping and going home is what will halt your progress.
This is progress, and better than what you were doing otherwise, which was not exercising and putting on more weight.
This is mentioned many times in my other posts because I think it’s very important. People very easily misjudge the number of calories in a can of cola or a glass of pure fruit juice. They also justify drinking pure fruit juice by saying that it’s like eating fruit, but fruits contain lots of sugar – highly digestible, highly calorific.
A can of cola has 140 calories, a small glass of orange juice contains 90 calories. These are the common things that are overlooked by a lot of people trying to lose weight. It throws their meal plans off course, takes in more calories than expected, and of the sugary kind which is the worst for maintaining a good diet plan.
Drink plain water, or if you think it doesn’t taste good enough I have even got some ideas to make water taste great.
Tracking stats too often
I advocate tracking your progress, but taking measurements too frequently is not good. You need to focus more attention on the actual actions that will get you the results – that’s your diet and exercise.
Measuring too often also gives a false picture of your progress, for example, your weight will fluctuate by a few pounds throughout the day being lightly in the mornings. This is a result of many factors including how the water you’re holding, large meals, dehydration, etc.
What you should do is measure at most once per week, and do it at the same time of day.
Using food as a reward
Exercise is good, tough, and helps you lose weight. But not when you reward your efforts with food, by doing this you are replacing whatever calories you’ve just spent and more.
Craving high fat, starchy, sugar foods after exercise are natural, and giving in to the craving is terrible.
Instead, you should try to plan your exercise session in a smarter way.
Exercise when the body is at its optimal state – that’s usually in the early evening. This way you will get the most for your efforts and time, and not feel as exhausted. Many sporting world records were broken during early evening events.
Exercise before meals so that when you finish, you can start preparing your meal and eat it soon after.
And certainly don’t reward yourself with food for nonexercise matters, that’s just asking for trouble!
Not drinking enough water
A hydrated body will function efficiently, and include the process of burning fat. When you’re dehydrated your fat burning capacity is limited, and also puts a burden on your liver to deal with toxic build-up.
Dehydration also makes you feel tired, dizzy, experience headaches, and a lack of energy. All of these things impact your daily tasks and especially so with physical activity.
Exercising whilst dehydrated means that you will achieve far less in terms of endurance and intensity, burning fewer calories, and not increasing your fitness. It also hampers your recovery after exercise as blood volume is lowered and thus the capacity to transport byproducts from your muscles.
Another interesting fact is that the brain sends the same signal in response to hunger and thirst, so if you are dehydrated you’re likely to feel false hunger. Not good for trying to lose weight.
Drink water at regular intervals and often, make sure to drink at least 1.5 liters a day for a small-sized person and up to 2.5 liters if your a large. Drink even more on workout days.
Don’t wait until you are dry-mouthed and feeling the above symptoms to drink water.
Proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates and fat, they are also a requirement for maintaining the body including muscle repair. It keeps you full for longer, so make sure you are eating protein at every meal.
Don’t go all out Atkins style and only eat protein and fats, that’s asking for trouble again! (See the next mistake for why.)
Eat a large serving of protein at breakfast – around 30g or a bit more.
Consume at least 20g of protein at each subsequent meal, this will keep you full until the next meal.
Going on a low carbohydrate diet
Probably one of the worst pieces of misinformation in the dieting world, and arguably sparked by the Atkins diet. The misconception comes from the fact that carbohydrates are digested and are released into the blood which increases the blood sugar level, this requires regulation from insulin. The result of these fluctuations is firstly feeling hungry, and also the impedance of using stored fat.
This is partly true but not all carbs have the same effect, that is where the glycemic index (GI) comes in. Low GI carbs make your blood glucose level spike much slower and so require much less regulation, these are the carbs you should be eating. Things that taste sweet should be avoided, they are on the very high end of the GI spectrum.
The goal of ultra low carb diets is to make your body go into a state of ketosis where fat is the primary source of energy. There are many issues with this.
Going into ketosis is not pleasant – hunger pains, headaches, lack of energy.
Give you bad breath – no one likes that!
The burden on the liver – fat must be converted to glucose in the liver, it puts a huge burden on it.
Poor mood – a lack of carbs can make you cranky, lack concentration, and even cause depression
Not keeping a diet diary
I can’t stress this point enough because the amount of people who fail to keep track of what they are eating is astounding. Sometimes you could call me a hypocrite because I also am prone to this.
When you (or some expert) make a diet (and exercise) plan with the goal of losing weight it’s usually one which requires some discipline on your part. Without taking note of what you’re eating at every meal you are in essence sabotaging your own careful planning.
It’s very easy to serve portions that are too large, and even easier to forget how big they were! By keeping track you can review your progress and make adjustments when necessary.
Not getting enough sleep
Sleep is a vital part of living, we spend a third of our time asleep, and for good reason. The repair process of our body and mind takes place during phases of sleep, and without you would not live long.
Getting enough sleep every night is important if you want to lose weight efficiently and improve your health. Not resting properly makes you cranky and more likely to break away from your weight loss plan. It also hinders your body’s recovery from your workouts.
Go to bed at a reasonable time and don’t stay up when you are feeling sleepy at night, however, don’t mistake after-meal doziness as a sign to go to bed.
It’s a good idea to train yourself to go to sleep at the same time eat day and the same for getting up in the mornings. Your body will get used to this sleep pattern and your sleep phases will be more efficient. You’ll wake up full of energy and ready for anything – including exercise and going by your diet.
Taking a hot shower or bath shortly before bed is a good way to induce an easy transition into sleep.
Eating too much-refined food
Refined grains are generally high on the GI scale, which means that they make your blood glucose level fluctuate with greater peaks and quicker dips. It makes you hungry relatively quickly after eating and is easily digesting and converted to fat.
Stay away from refined foods, they include the following:
Most sweet baked goods
Instead, opt for items that are low on the GI scale, these take a lot longer to digest and absorb giving you a slow release of energy and keeps you full for longer. Items you opt for are:
Legumes – lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc
Whole grains – whole grain bread, bran flakes, etc
Doing boring workouts
Exercise is important for effective weight loss, but lack of motivation is effective for stopping this from happening. A major motivation drainer is a boring exercise routine where you’re doing repetitive things that seem like a chore.
The best kind of exercise is the kind you can’t wait to do, many people would agree that these of sports that they enjoy participating in. So find something you really like doing – it could be something competitive or a team sport, these types of activities are what drives most people’s determination and enthusiasm.
Not having a goal
It’s well and good to start something which will change your life for the better, but all things which are vague stop you from taking the right steps towards it (it being something vague). it’s impossible to plan for something which isn’t clear.
When did you say I want to lose weight you have to think of a clear goal – How much weight? What does it involve? These questions will point you towards more concrete goals from your research into the answers.
It’s easy to fail at something when you don’t know what something is, you’re automatically failed. Think I want to lose 50 pounds, what do I need to do to get there? Then you can start finding out what you need to do – exercise, diet, motivational support, equipment, scheduling.
With these aspects all clear in your mind and on paper you can start taking concrete steps towards accomplishing those very clear tasks. When you’ve made progress you have something to compare against which is another motivational boost.
Depending on willpower alone
A positive mental attitude is preached in sports, business, self-help books, and weight loss advice. However, you shouldn’t solely depend on your willpower (even if you think you have it in abundance) because there will be days (many of them early on) when you feel like giving up. Exercise is tough, new diet plan makes eating feel like a chore, but these are all because you are not use to it yet.
Instead, you should consider in your weight loss plan that sometimes you won’t be able to will yourself to do things, you must design into your plan activities and other things which will make the level of determination less of a factor to success.
For example, you can vary your exercise schedule to include different activities, it’ll keep things fresh and steer your mentality away from boredom.
Meal plans should also be varied for the same reason and also focus on making them as tasty as possible, there are plenty of resources on the internet for this – it shouldn’t be a problem.
Schedule certain activities to coincide so that you’ll have less of a chance to flake out. Things like exercising on errands are perfect, you get the task and workout done at the same time. Listen to music whilst doing workouts at home, go to a gym class where there are other people participating. Be creative with how you can mingle activities into your day.
Not realizing weight loss is a byproduct of healthy living
It’s natural to first consider the short term than the long term goal, and in today’s society, short-term thinking is widespread. There are plenty of pressures from media sources (TV, magazines, the internet) of slim and fit people as well as stories of extreme and rapid weight loss. This certainly doesn’t paint a complete (or often truthful) picture. So a lot of people fall into the quick weight loss trap of fad diets, gimmicks, and ultra marketing.
Losing weight (if you’re overweight) is a natural response to tending towards a healthy lifestyle – which is a combination of a good diet, physical activity, and mental health. So you have to realize it’s not the losing weight you need to ultimately be focusing on but your lifestyle, work towards being healthy, active, and feeling fulfilled. This is your true challenge in life, and it’s not competing with anyone else it’s becoming the best version of you.
Prioritizing exercise before the diet
Exercise is vital for effective weight loss, but the right diet is even more essential. Your diet is the foundation of your health, don’t even think about what you can do for exercise before thinking about what you should be eating.
With the right diet and eating at the right times, you will ensure that you have the energy to do an exercise properly, focus on work, have a good immune function, and massively reduce the risk of many diseases.
Once you have your food sorted out you can start thinking about what to do to get fit and burn more fat.
Purging to limit calories
Making yourself vomit in the hope of reducing the number of calories you consume is one of the worse things you can do.
It messes with your diet plan, you might as well forget about it altogether
Can lead to long term eating disorders such as bulimia – this is the habitual practice of binge eating followed by purging via vomiting. It occurs more often in teenagers than in any other age group, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. If you starting purging it may turn into a habit, and then a more serious nutritional and mental health concern.
You are starving your body. By purging you aren’t going to get any of the nutrients from the food you just ate. This is not good for losing weight as it decreases your metabolism, making it easier to store fat. AND may lead to the above point which is malnutrition, lack of energy, poor immune function, and psychological factors.
Thinking that Feeling Hungry is Right
A common misconception is that as part of the process of losing weight feeling hungry a lot is expected and should occur. This is not right, feeling hungry means that you are starving yourself and/or eating the wrong foods, both of which act against your weight loss goal.
Starving yourself is obviously not good for your health. A good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is needed at every single meal. The amount of food needs to be sufficient to keep your body functioning efficiently, which keeps you in optimal condition. How can you expect to improve your health if you are not doing right by your current health? Weight loss is a result of healthy living.
Starving yourself slows down your metabolism. This is a natural response to a lack of nutrients, particularly that of energy sources (carbs and fat), your body will try to build up as many fat stores as it can. In the meantime, it can reduce your muscle mass to conserve energy, because on average muscle requires more energy to maintain than stores of fat.
Eating the wrong things such as heavily refined grains, too much sugar, drinking soft drinks makes you hungry very quickly. Cut our all pre-processed snacks, soft drinks, fruit juice, and sweet foods (possibly including some fruits) and see if your feelings of hunger improve.
Blaming your genes and other things
Only in very exceptional cases will faulty genes be culpable for excess fat stored, but for the very vast majority of people, this is far from the case.
It’s too easy to push the blame of your overweight problem on other people and your genes, and it certainly won’t get you anywhere.
Start focusing on what you can do to improve your situation because as individuals we should and can only work with what we have.
Blaming external factors is not taking responsibility for your own health
Not stopping when you are full
Overeating is what makes you overweight in the first place, so one of the things you need to do right away when trying to lose weight is to control your meal size.
It becomes a habit to finish your plate of food and eating to excess. I know this very well myself. Having a huge appetite as a growing teenager I never really got out of the habit of eating my old portion sizes, and it took years to get to grips with it once I started to gain unwanted weight.
Part 4 told you to use smaller plates, this is a simple and effective method. You can’t fit as much food on a smaller plate, and it makes the portion look large.
Eating slowly helps too because there is a roughly 20 minute lag time between your brain acknowledging/responding to the food you just ate. So it’s easy to overeat if you eat very quickly, and feel very very full afterward.
Being happy with any kind of weight loss
Don’t just accept any old weight loss product with ridiculous claims and no details. There is a big difference between healthy weight loss and the kind that does harm to your health.
Stay away from over-hyped claims, lack of details, crash diets, and gimmicks.
A real weight loss plan includes detailed information regarding diet and exercise as well as lifestyle as a whole, this is the only acceptable form of plan in my opinion.
There are, however, some decent weight loss plans whose sales copy contain some exaggerated claims. You need to look past the sales page (good or bad) and try and decide for yourself whether or not it contains valuable advice and/or tools.
Taking the first weight loss plan that lands in your lap
Further to the mistake above not doing your own due diligence is warned against. It easy to accept what falls into your lap without much effort. But what falls out of the sky is usually a load of air, and heavily marketed (that’s why it landed in your lap) nonsense.
If you really want to lose weight, have a great body, and be all-around healthy you need to do your own digging. Look for reviews, go onto forums, ask questions, and see if anyone else who actually used it liked it.
In part 4 I talked about vomiting in the hopes of reducing the number of calories consumed. Using laxatives to purge is very similar, but over time it can lead to malfunctioning of the bowels.
If you use laxatives regularly and frequently it can weaken your lower gastrointestinal track making it difficult to pass normally.
Laxative abuse can lead to you being dependent on them for passing stools (which in this case want really resemble a stool).
Using laxatives means that what you pass out contains a lot more liquid, this dehydrates you much more easily (which if you’ve been reading this series will know that not good for weight loss). It also drains your body of vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy function.
When taking other medications using laxatives can have an impact on how the medication works, it may weaken its effect.
There’s an increased risk of developing kidney stones
If you are thinking about using laxatives to help you lose weight then I will warn you not to. If, however, it because of constipation then an initial use of laxatives will relieve you. But then you need to make some diet and lifestyle changes to prevent it from happening.
You’ll more likely to experience constipation if you sit for much of the day, start being more active, and walk often. I’m sure you’ll notice a difference (and it good for burning more calories as well as reducing other potential ailments).
Drink more water and regularly – dehydration makes your body absorb more water from your stool. Drinking a load of water in one go and then not drinking anything for an hour later is not solving this problem. Drink water regularly to keep your body hydrated.
Eat high fiber foods – fruits, vegetables, and seeds are a great source of fiber. It helps your bowel movements and retains more liquid preventing constipation.
Natural laxatives – figs, flax seed, papaya, apples are all great natural laxative which you should incorporate into your diet often.
Going on a binge after falling off the wagon
I would be pleasantly (very) surprised to find anyone who manages to lose weight and not to have fallen off the wagon once. It’s happened to us all before, the diet plan is going well and then fall. The common outcome is disappointment cured by a binge eating session followed by a decent amount of guilt, which also leads some people to go on crash diets – the vicious cycle begins.
If you recognize this pattern then I’ll let you know that it’s OK for this to happen, we all slip every now and then and it’s perfectly natural. By acknowledging this you can feel less bad when it happens, and then you can try and stop yourself from the binge.
A binge session may not be all that bad, but overdoing will destroy the dieting you did in the days before).
Focusing on the scales
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and is completed with many more – not by constantly thinking about the thousand miles.
Although the goal is to lose weight putting yourself on the scales too often is not the way to go. Keeping track of your progress is a valuable method to use when going on a weight loss journey, but measuring too often will lead to a lack of action. Additionally, weight is not the most important factor (even though it’s weight loss we’re talking about), the really important bits are your diet and exercise.
Like the thousand-mile journey, although the goal is to travel the miles the action that will get you there are the steps you take. So in trying to lose weight you need to focus less on the weight (the journey) and just work on the diet and exercise (the steps).
Plus there are other problems with looking at the scales too often.
Your weight fluctuates by a few pounds throughout the day – so you may be bitterly disappointed if you weigh yourself multiple times a day or at different times of day each time you scale up.
No one likes obsessive behavior and it’s genuinely a waste of your time and mental energy – use to it focus more on what matters (like everything else).
Too many supplements
Weight loss pills are being promoted everywhere, and some of them actually do work. Most of them are about reducing your hunger, which can be very useful for weight loss. They are all very expensive for what they are, better to spend that money on a gym membership, exercise equipment, or some higher quality organic food.
Don’t get used to taking supplements as it can form a habit of dependence, I’m thinking more from a mentality and behavior point of view. Dependence from a physiological standpoint shouldn’t really be a problem.
The foods that you incorporate into a healthy balanced diet are more than enough to supply you with all the nutrients required. Additional supplements are not needed, so don’t fall into the trap of being marketed a magic pill that will make you feel full and give you lots of nutrition.
As for the other kind of pill which promises to curb your hunger and/or do other things your normal physiological mechanism – I can only give you my personal opinion. Don’t take them. Your body is perfectly capable of regulating itself, and there is a 100% natural way to reduce hunger, and they are very expensive.
Not sticking to the plan
So you have a plan and you’ve started on it, adjusting your diet accordingly and doing the workouts. A few days later you aren’t seeing the results you expected or start to get bored with it. You start looking for a new program to follow. DO NOT do this!
It’s the worse thing ever to be hopping between weight loss plans in quick succession, it’ll make you stressed and ultimately hinder your potential progress.
Once you settled on a plan of action stick to it for at least 3 months, only then will you see if it’s making the impact on your body you wanted. If it isn’t so effective, and only then, you should start looking to tweak things a bit.
Forgetting to reward yourself (nonfood related)
Earlier in this series, I said that you shouldn’t reward yourself with food every time you do some exercise. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reward yourself at all, in fact, I highly encourage it but just don’t do it with food.
You’ve been working hard on keeping to your diet and exercise routine, so it time to give yourself something to enjoy. It could be a trip to the cinema, going bowling, small gifts for yourself (don’t go crazy), or anything that will put a smile on your face.