Have you been struggling to lose weight for weeks or months?
Tired of not seeing results despite your best efforts?
Ready to get yourself back on the right track to weight loss?
Every year, millions of people begin a journey to lose weight and achieve their ideal body.
Without fail, many people throw in the towel and wait until the following year to become inspired again.
Let’s review 4 weight loss mistakes everyone makes and how to fix them.
1. Not Setting a Daily Calorie Limit
Not calculating your recommended daily intake of calories in order to lose weight is like trying to get to a new city without a map or GPS: it probably won’t happen.
You already know that you must burn more calories than you take in on a consistent basis. In order to make sure that you’re burning enough calories, you need to find out your recommended personalized caloric intake.
There are very specific mathematical equations that you can use to determine the number of calories you should be eating each day to lose weight. They are based on gender, age, activity level, and basal metabolic rate.
Lucky for you, these equations have been conveniently formatted into online caloric calculators. All you need to do is enter a few details about yourself and within seconds you’ll have the number of calories and macronutrients that you should be eating on a daily basis.
2. Not Tracking Your Diet
Continuing with the idea above: Once you have your daily caloric intake, you need to make sure that you are reaching it and not overdoing it.
The best way to do this is by calorie counting.
If you’re like most people, the idea of jotting down every meal and the calories that go with it will quickly become tiresome. However, as long as you have a smartphone or tablet, technology gadgets have you covered.
On iTunes and the Google Play Store, you’ll find a variety of calorie counting apps that will make your journey to weight loss much simpler. You type in the name of the food and the app finds it in a database where the calories are calculated for you. There are plenty to choose from but the app with the most extensive database is, hands down, MyFitnessPal.
Get into the habit of punching in your meals as you are preparing them or when you sit down to eat them. Don’t wait until you’re about to go to bed to input your caloric intake. If you overeat and you don’t find out until you’re about to fall asleep, there’s nothing you can do about it.
3. Buying the Hype of “Fat-Free”
You have your daily caloric intake set and you’ve been consistent with entering your meals as you eat them. Now, it’s time to make sure what you are eating isn’t causing any issues.
It’s easy to believe that in order to lose fat that you must avoid eating it.
This is the myth that spurned an entire category of convenient and processed store-bought foods. The overly marketed “fat-free” foods that you are considering buying to help with your weight loss may be doing far more harm than good.
Let’s face it: Fat is tasty. Many supposed diet foods need to compensate for flavor when they remove the fat and they do so with sugar. Numerous studies have confirmed that it isn’t fat that is making you fat; it’s sugar. (1-2)
Excess sugar intake is one of the leading causes of weight gain. When you buy into the hype of going fat-free, you are investing in food products that are loaded with sugar. (3)
What do you do then?
Eat a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, complex or low glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Believe it or not, fat is an essential macronutrient for your health. Some great examples of healthy fats include coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, and extra virgin olive oil. (4)
4. Exercising vs. Being Physically Active
As mentioned above, it is a necessity that you burn more calories than you ingest on a daily basis. That means you need to get moving.
Exercise can come in the form of weightlifting, cardio classes, running, and biking, for example. However, it is more important to be consistently physically active and not just have exercise be your only source of moving around for the day.
Being physically active should never stop once you are outside of the gym. Look for other ways to go the extra mile and your body will have more chances to burn more calories.
Here are some examples you can try:
- Park further away from your destination
- Take the stairs when possible
- Arrange walking meetings with friends or co-workers
- Walk or bike instead of using your car
- Do squats, push-ups, or sit-ups during commercial breaks
The calories you burn from doing these activities will quickly add up, helping you to achieve a higher level of caloric burn.
- Nguyen PK, Lin S, Heidenreich P. A systematic comparison of sugar content in low-fat vs regular versions of food. Nutrition & Diabetes. 2016;6(1):e193-. doi:10.1038/nutd.2015.43.
- Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2006;84(2):274-288.
- Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2010;83(2):101-108.
- Champagne CM, Broyles ST, Moran LD, et al. Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2011;111(12):1826-1835. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2011.09.014.