Losing weight can feel like a never ending battle. No matter how hard you try, that "magic number" stays just out of reach. But don't fret, the answer may be something incredibly simple. Nutritionists, Stephanie Clarke, RD, Willow Jarosh, RD, and Mitzi Dulan, RD, reveal the biggest mistakes you may be making when it comes to your efforts to trim down.
These mistakes are common but the solutions are not nearly as difficult as you might imagine! A few small changes in your habits and you'll notice a big difference!
1. You're not planning ahead
When hunger hits, you want to be ready. If you are not prepared in advanced, you are far more likely to make unhealthy choices, according to Clarke. Sit down and plan your snacks and meals for the next week. Then, take a trip to the grocery store and stock up on everything you'll need. Go home and prep everything you can. Make sure you have plenty of containers to store your food. Take as much of the guess work out of it as you can. It sounds like a lot of work but it will actually save you time and calories! For help with planning your meals, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan
2. You're keeping it to yourself
If you ever find yourself feeling like you've been sabotaged by your friends and family, consider whether or not you have told them about your goals. Instead of cutting them from your life or getting upset about it, fill them in. Instead of going for brunch, your friends will probably be all too happy to meet you for a hike or a nice walk through the park!
3. You're eating too much (or not enough) protein
While carb-free, protein-packed diets get results, they are not sustainable long term, says Jarosh. You will be missing out on many vital nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds. As Jarosh explains, this variety in your food "helps keep your gut bacteria happy, your digestive system regular, and keeps you feeling satisfied." There is, however, a delicate balance here. Not eating enough protein can also lead to weight gain. "Since protein helps you to stay satisfied, it is important to make sure you are eating it at every meal," says Dulan.
4. You're compensating for eating with exercise
Going for a long run or hitting the gym does not give you a free pass to eat whatever you want. This attitude promotes an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead weight to weight gain. While you might think it burns more, a 30-minute run only burns about 250 calories. Do you really want to kill all of that effort on a poor food choice? Workouts should compliment your diet, not make up for it.
5. You're skipping dinner for cocktails
If you are trying to lose weight, this is not a good plan. Jarosh says "drinking on an empty stomach can lead to quicker intoxication." So, while you may have wanted to only have a few drinks, you're ability to make healthy choices will be impacted before you realize it. Once you are a little intoxicated, you'll be far less likely to make healthy food choices. That can spell disaster with the entire bar menu right in front of you. Even if you've managed to save calories by skipping dinner, doing so robbed you of nutrients and made a mess of your blood sugar. If you do enjoy having a few drinks with a nice meal, remember that they can add hundreds of calories to your day without giving you any real benefit. So, have one cocktail and spend the rest of your night sipping water.
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6. You've sworn off sweets
Skipping all of your favourite treats can be a dangerous trap. Saying no completely will not exactly motivate you to stay on your diet and it can lead you to binge later. Allow yourself a little morsel of something each day. Just a little treat, 150-200 calories a day. You will feel like you've indulged without all the negatives associated with it!
7. You're having cheat days
"One cheat day can undo all the weight-loss work you've put in during the week," says Jarosh. If you spend an entire day engaged in activities that don't bring you closer to your goals, you are ripping yourself off in the end. Instead, indulge in moderation. Don't give yourself the whole day to go wild.
8. You're not keeping track
Knowing how many calories you are consuming is the key to shedding weight. One of the best ways to stay on top of the numbers is to keep a food journal. You can write it down or download an app to your smartphone. Either way, make sure you are keeping track of every single bite you take. Knowing that you will see what you eat staring back at you in black and white really forces you to stay on track.
9. You're eating 'diet' foods
Foods labelled as being "fat-free" may seem like a good idea but they really aren't. They are often loaded with chemicals and added salt and sugar to make it taste better. Jarosh says there is lots of research out there supporting the fact that these low-cal, fat-free, "diet" foods leave you feeling less satisfied and that could lead to eating more in the long run. It is, by far, much better to stick to "real" food. Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, lean protein and dairy.
Don't be shy, are you guilty of making any of these weight loss mistakes?