Weight loss can be challenging for many, with many shortcuts, diet plans, myths, facts, false claims, etc. It is sometimes challenging to decide which way to go or whom to follow. But, it is not as complicated as you think, and you can achieve your body goals by making small changes. Weight loss is about 70 percent diet and 30 percent exercise, so if you’re making any mistake in your journey towards weight loss, then the problem mainly lies in these two domains, i.e., workout and your diet plan. All you need is to identify the problem and work on it to get better results. So, let’s get into the mistakes which people usually make in their weight loss journey.
Weight loss is not a week or a month journey; it is about a lifestyle change. Therefore, it is essential to set realistic goals and choose sustainable practices to reach your body goals. Do what is good for your physical and mental health.
Weight loss mistakes you’re making:
- Skipping meals: This is the most common belief that you must skip meals or reduce your intake drastically to lose weight. But, this is partially true; if you want to reduce weight, you have to reduce your overall calorie intake, but that reduction is not up to the level of starvation. One should strictly maintain a balance because this problem can result in nutrient deficiency, increased craving and can even put you in a vicious cycle of weight loss.
- Dehydration: The zero-calorie drink water can impact your weight loss process very quickly. Reduced water intake will increase your chances of binge eating, as, again, our brain often fails to differentiate between hunger and thirst. So, focus on this zero-calorie drink as well. No detox juices can help you more than water.
- Neglecting the calories: Most of us have made the mistake of ignoring calories. We are often advised to track our calories to check if we’re in surplus or deficit. We include almost everything leaving sauces, dippings, sugar-rich fruit juices, small bites while tasting, or sometimes even finishing the child’s leftovers (in the case of parents). All the things which we don’t include still counts in our daily calorie intake. So, even if you’re consuming a healthy salad or whole wheat pasta with loads of sauces or calorie-dense dressings, it can still cause weight gain if you continue ignoring them. No matter how much you track your calories, they’ll still be more.
- Not giving time to your food: Yes, your food needs time too. And, most of the time, the busy schedule doesn’t permit us to sit and eat. But, this way, your chances of eating more than needed increases. Slow down, relax and eat, this way you can enjoy the food and give yourself a sense of satisfaction. And, this is how you can practice mindful eating also. Try to wake up on time and prepare a healthy breakfast for a better start. And, this will allow you to prepare healthy food and eat peacefully.
- You’re storing junk: When it is out of sight, it is out of mind. Avoid storing candies, chips, chocolates, etc., in your home or keeping them on your study table or work table. Please don’t keep them with you, or else you’ll grab them when you feel hungry. Instead, try healthier alternatives like fruits, yogurt, dry fruits, etc. Swapping the unhealthy snacks with more nutritious substitutes will help you manage hunger and calories efficiently.
- You love weighing scale: I can understand your curiosity about weighing yourself. Your enthusiasm to weigh yourself, track your progress, etc., is correct, but the weighing scale doesn’t define fitness. Many things contribute to overall weight, like water weight, muscle mass, etc. So, you might not see changes in scale if you’re holding water weight or if you’re gaining muscles. Various factors contribute to fluctuations on the weighing scale. So, your weight might be changing but will not reflect on the scale.
- You’re not sleeping well: Sleep can create an impact on your weight, as you’re more likely to rush to snacks if you’re up. You will find yourself mindlessly snacking if you’re watching T.V, series or scrolling your phone. And, also if you get proper sleep, you can spend some time in the morning cooking something healthy for yourself, rather than running to the office or school and eating anything.
- You love drinks: Not all fruit juices, smoothies, diet coke, etc., are low calories. People often don’t consider them while tracking their calories. They contain loads of sugar to enhance the taste. You can control the ingredients and calories if you’re preparing them at home, but if you’re getting them from outside, you can’t do much. So, prepare them yourselves or go for unsweetened tea, water, etc., when you feel thirsty.
- You rely too much on front claims: Front claims like fat-free, gluten-free, zero calories, etc., are added to attract customers. And, people usually end up buying them, and sometimes even in bulk, thinking that they could enjoy their favorite snack in almost negligible calories. Here’s a trap. Turn your product and look for its nutrition facts/ labels to get the bigger picture. There is always something else added to enhance the taste of your favorite product or at least to maintain the flavor. Read the list carefully before filling your baskets with your favorite sugar-free, fat-free snacks.
- You love shortcuts: We can understand your excitement of fitting into a new pair of jeans or your favorite dress, but weight loss is not just about losing weight. Weight loss is about changing the way you live, move, eat, and much more. And, this excitement often leads people to the vicious cycle of fad or crash diets. You lose weight, gain weight and again try to lose it the same way. And, this is yo-yo dieting which will harm your physical and mental health. Go slow, make small changes, develop healthy habits, exercise, and live a healthy life.
- You overestimate the calories you’re burning: This usually happens when people don’t track their calories properly or depend too much on their fitness bands. A Stanford inquiry into the accuracy of seven wristband activity proved that six out of seven devices measured heart rate within 5 percent. None, however, gave accurate results on energy expenditure, i.e., calories burned. So, calculate the calorie deficit wisely.
- You’ve no cheat days/ meals: It’s good to follow your diet plan properly and learn healthy habits, but it is equally essential to have a cheat meal. Rather than depriving yourself of your favorite foods, go for a cheat meal, or later you will binge on them. Instead, learn to balance your calorie intake and enjoy your food. A balanced diet will help you in this.
- Not eating enough fiber or protein: Protein can help you lose weight in many ways. It can reduce your appetite, promote the feeling of fullness, and help you lose weight by reducing your calorie intake. Protein will also help you preserve muscle mass during a weight loss process. Whereas fiber will also help you reduce appetite and cravings, which are sometimes the major contributor to weight gain.
- You fail to balance your exercise routine: When it comes to weight loss, the most important thing is to adopt sustainable practices. Maintaining weight is more challenging as compared to losing weight. So, if you’re over-exercising, you’re probably doing something unsustainable. And, if you’re not exercising and just restricting calories, the chances are that you will lose more muscle mass. So, it is advisable to balance both and make exercise part of your daily routine. Not too much, not too less.
- You don’t like weights: We always recommend everyone to do what they love to stay fit and active. And make fitness a crucial part of their lifestyle. But, lifting weights or doing exercises that help you build some muscles is essential in the weight loss journey. Building muscles will help you improve body composition and maintain healthy muscle mass.
Many other factors influence weight loss and vary according to various health conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to consult someone and make your decisions.
Also, check here about the weight loss plateau to know why you’re not losing weight and what you can do about it.