Have you been trying to lose weight but can’t figure out why you keep tipping the scale in the wrong direction? You might be falling into one of these 6 common weight loss mistakes that are preventing you from achieving your optimal weight levels.
6 Common Weight Loss Mistakes that Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts
Weight Loss Mistake #1: Avoiding all “sugars”
In our complex food environment, you can’t say the word “sugar” and mean one thing anymore, it’s become more complex than that with the advent of refined processed foods. But all sugars have come under attack and some health professionals are recommending people steer clear of all “sugars”, including the nutrient-dense, whole-food sugars contained in fruits – this is a major weight loss mistake. When thinking about sugar, a distinction needs to be made between refined sugars and the sugars found in whole foods. Fruits are one of the healthiest foods we can eat: they are high in water and fiber, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, co-enzymes, phytonutrients. The water and fiber content in fruit allows the natural sugars to digest more slowly and also prevents over-consumption and best of all, it’s low in calories. Cutting out fruit as a food group could be doing you more harm than good. When it comes to “sugars” stay away from the processed kind and stick to whole-food sugars found in fruits and vegetables.
Weight Loss Mistake #2: Eating Too Much Salt
It’s a common nutritional myth that eating salt hydrates the body. It’s true when people say that water follows salt, but most people fail to acknowledge that when you eat salt it creates a elevated sodium ratio in your interstitial fluid (the fluid around your cells) and pull water from inside your cells to help dilute it. Eating salt literally dehydrates the body on a cellular level. Salt’s high sodium content is what keeps countless people holding on to excess water weight, and going out of your way to add “healthy” salts to your meals and beverages because of it’s mineral content is a definite weight loss mistake. I’ve watched my clients drop 15 pounds of excess water weight in only a month (myself included) after removing salt from the diet and not putting it back on (like most “lose 20 pounds in 20 days” weight loss gimmicks that cause more harm than good.) Cutting out salt was one of the best nutritional changes I’ve ever made. However, sodium is essential, that’s why I choose to get my sodium through whole foods like celery, tomatoes, cantaloupe and coconut water. If you want to know more about salt and how it might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, download my free report here.
Weight Loss Mistake #3: Eating Too Late at Night
Some experts say that a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter what time you eat it. I disagree. Digestion requires a lot of energy from the body. If you eat late at night or right before you go to bed, instead of getting the complete and total rest that you’re body needs, it’s focusing it’s energy on digestion. This usually leaves people feeling groggy in the morning. But it’s not as straight forward as merely breaking it down on an energetic level. As I write about extensively in my book “Unhooked: A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food” our relationship to food is complex and multidimensional. It’s the foods people tend to reach for in the evening after working hard all day that can compound the problem and lead to weight gain. People usually tend to opt for high-fat, high-calorie foods like chips and cookies, usually while mindless eating in front of the TV or computer. I recommend leaving at least 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime to prevent this weight loss mistake and reach for high fiber, nutrient dense snacks instead.
Weight Loss Mistake #4: Eating Too Many Foods Labeled “Low-Fat”
The “halo effect” is an interesting phenomenon and leads to another common weight loss mistake. A “health halo” is when we overestimate a foods nutritional value due to one narrowly defined health claim on the package. We forget that gluten-free chips and pizza are still chips and pizza and make ourselves feel better about eating whatever it is because it claims to be either low in fat, salt, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, rich in omega 3’s or whatever health claim we believe to be “healthy” at the time. The health halo leads most people to eat more than they otherwise would without the same claim on the package. According to a study conducted by Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” and head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, when people opt for low-fat snacks, they ended up eating an average of 90 calories more compared with people who simply ate regular snacks.
Weight Loss Mistake #5: You Believe Depriving Yourself Is The Only Way to Lose Weight
Calorie restriction to the point of deprivation can backfire – big time and can often be one of the more severe weight loss mistakes that people make. This is why most conventional diets don’t work and sets people up for wild fluctuations in eating behavior and ongoing deprivation can also lead to intense food cravings. I recommend eating a high-volume, low calorie diet that consists of fruits and vegetables. When it comes to fruits and veggies, you never have to feel deprived again. This dietary lifestyle feels abundant, delicious and nourishing – the complete opposite of depriving. Best of all, it’s a sustainable way to eat and live.
Weight Loss Mistake #6: You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Feeling healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just what you do or don’t eat. How much you weight is directly related to how active you are, how effectively you manage stress and how much sleep you get. Many people are surprised when I tell them that lack of sleep is directly related to weight gain, which makes this a weight loss mistake that tends to slip under the radar. I know fatigue is one of my biggest mindless eating triggers that prompts me to reach for food as a “pick-me-up” when I’m feeling tired. The average sleep deprived person eats an average of 500 extra calories a day. If you’re not sleeping enough and you’re struggling with your weight – you’re probably fighting an uphill battle. If you want to lose weight, make it a priority to get more high-quality sleep and sleep in until you can wake up feeling refreshed – without stimulants like coffee to get you going in the morning.
Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,
Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire