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Are You Making These 5 Weight Loss Mistakes?

If your weight loss efforts are not yielding results, chances are you’re making one of these common mistakes.

Alarmingly common, these 5 weight loss mistakes can be sabotaging your efforts enough to cause weight gain. Here’s how to get the body you want, the right way.

5 Common Weight Loss Mistakes

You can successfully reach your goal to drop unwanted weight if you side-step these common mistakes that can trip you along the way.

  1. Avoiding Healthy Foods
    1. Without even realizing it, you may be skipping out on the best foods.
  2. Exercising Infrequently or Inadequately
    1. Setting the wrong goals can leave you frustrated.
  3. Bad Eating Habits
    1. You’ll be surprised how easily these can sneak into your day.
  4. Sweet Sugar
    1. Deceivingly sweet, sugar is your worst enemy when trying to lose weight.
  5. Convenience Foods
    1. This may be the biggest mistake you’re making.

Avoiding Healthy Foods

With limited time in your day, are you pushing too hard? Or, perhaps not enough?

Why you may be avoiding healthy foods

It is contrary to logic, but so many do it. You may be avoiding healthy foods because you think eating them may not leave you feeling satisfied. Or, perhaps that your taste buds are not excited by them. Taste buds become accustomed to bad food over time. Unhealthy eating habits can actually sculpt your pallet, leaving you craving junk foods (sweets, heavily processed grains, or overly fatty foods).

Re-training your taste buds

Fortunately, this pattern of healthy food aversion can be broken. You can re-train your taste buds! It’s possible by avoiding foods that are:

  • super salty
  • made with processed sugar
  • high fat indulgences

Solution: Rediscover vs. Restrict

Avoiding super salty, sweet and fatty foods will retrain your taste buds. To get there, you’ll need to be committed and diligent. Both your psychology and physiology will change. You will be rewarded when you rediscover the bold flavors of whole foods.

Ever started a new diet plan too eagerly and gone a little overboard? Limiting yourself too much, for example subsisting solely on celery sticks for the entire day, can cause you to avoid healthy foods. A better approach is to start with a wide array of good food on your plate. Turn those bland, boring leafy greens into a fiesta by adding in vegetables of every color (think carrots, peppers, purple cabbage) and a splash of really good balsamic vinegar.

Exercising Infrequently or Inadequately

With limited time in your day, are you pushing too hard? Or, perhaps not enough?

How to exercise in a way that keeps you motivated

Your life is busy. This can make it hard to commit to a regular exercise program.

  • Do you find yourself exercising infrequently?
  • When you do find time to exercise are you discouraged or time-constrained so you exercise inadequately?
  • Or, do you exercise to hard with feelings it will make up for missed workouts?

Are your goals set too high?

When you set goals that are so high you will fail. When you fail, you will stop trying. Instead, set goals that are realistic, achievable and practical. You can stay motivated by setting smaller goals.

Solution: Break bigger goals into smaller steps

Set a small step, one per week. Each week, re-evaluate. Were you able to fit in 30 minutes of walking with a purpose three times last week? Did it feel comfortable? If not, rethink your plan. Maybe fitting in two 15-minute walks is more attainable in your schedule.

If yes, take time to give yourself a huge pat on the back. Then, go after the next step. Breaking the bigger goals, such as exercising more often, into smaller steps will help you be more successful at meeting the ultimate goal of weight loss.

Bad Eating Habits

So subtle and sneaky… you may not even know you have them.

Ever skipped a meal or grazed before dinner?

Bad eating habits are sneaky. Think you’re not doing them? You may be surprised when you realize all of these common daily habits are actually bad eating habits:

  • grazing before dinner
  • eating after-dinner snacks
  • skipping meals

What’s the harm?

Stuffing handfuls from the pantry into your mouth before dinner or snacking the 3 to 4 hours before bed are not the calories you need. You need consistent meals of healthy whole foods that keep you fueled and satisfied. Don’t skip meals – that can bring on hunger and lead to binges.

Solution: Don’t starve and don’t stuff

This is a mantra of our doctors and dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Let your body get into a rhythm in which you’re paying attention to your cues for hunger and satiety. Eat when you’re hungry, don’t wait until you’re famished. Stop eating when you’re full, not stuffed. Practice using The Hunger Scale.

Sweet Sugar

Deceivingly sweet, sugar is hiding everywhere. And no –– it’s not your friend.

But… sugar tastes good

Yes, sugar does taste good. But it is one of your worst enemies when you are trying to lose weight. Sugar also gets in the way of your ability to recognize and appreciate the gentler sweetness of natural whole foods, such as fruits. Try eating a delicious sweet cherry. Then eat a candy followed by a second cherry. You’ll notice how the candy changes your palates ability to appreciate the second cherry.

Even health foods have added sugar

It can give you a shock, but it’s worth it: take time to read labels. Many drinks and packaged foods, even those you may have thought were healthy, contain added sugar. Whether it’s honey or maple syrup as far as your body is concerned, it’s all simple sugar. They all increase, mightily so, the calorie density of your diet. All of these are sugar:

  • honey
  • molasses
  • maple syrup
  • cane sugar

Solution: Cut sugar out

Did you know that a regular coke has 39 grams of sugar in it? That’s nearly one-third of a cup of sugar. Cut the sugar out and you’ll lose the weight.

Convenience Foods

Vending machines and other places you buy convenience foods may be your biggest weight loss mistake.

Highly processed, calorie-dense foods are not what you need

Packaged foods are often high in sugar, contain super-processed grains and are packed with fat or oils. Vending machine snacks are commonly very calorie-dense. That’s exactly what you don’t need if you’re trying to lose weight. They can also be very salty. That can drive you to buy the sugary soda in the machine as well.

Healthier vending options do exist

Companies do make healthy vending machines with options such as fresh fruit, baby carrot sticks and hummus, and water. If you are in a building where there are a lot of dieters, get together and ask for a healthy vending machine.

Solution: Take convenience with you

Better yet, avoid vending machine food altogether. Get in the habit of packing healthy brown bag lunches, plus two healthy snacks: one for mid-morning and one for mid-day. It’s the best way to not only look better but feel better, all day long.

Skip the mistakes. Get the body you want, the right way.

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