Losing weight is a challenge for many people. Even with changes to their diet and lifestyle, the scale may refuse to budge. You may be making a few health and fitness missteps if you’re struggling to lose weight or get the results you’d expect from your efforts. The following are several mistakes that hinder weight loss:
- Setting unrealistic goals. If you expect to drop 5-10 pounds each week, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Healthy weight loss ranges from one to two pounds per week. That may sound dismaying and too low, but it adds up over time. For example, after three months of hard work, you can lose up to 26 pounds. Depending on how much weight you have to lose, you could drop more than 100 pounds over the course of a year.
- Overestimating or underestimating calorie intake. People often miscalculate how many calories are in any given meal or snack. Some overestimate how many calories they’re consuming and may put themselves in too large a calorie deficit. While you need to reduce calories to lose weight, reducing them too much can slow the metabolism and have the opposite effect. Individuals who underestimate their food calories eat more calories than they realize and aren’t in a big enough calorie deficit to experience weight loss. Using a food scale and measuring cups to calculate portions can help avoid both errors. Keeping a food journal also helps track how much you’ve eaten that day to remain cognizant of your calorie intake.
- Drastically miscalculating calories burned from exercise. People are just as bad at calculating their calorie burn as they are at guessing the calories in foods. However, they almost universally overestimate how many calories they burned by a significant margin. Inaccurate calorie burn assessments falsely inflate calorie deficits, and those individuals are likely to eat more than they need to encourage weight loss. Investing in a heart rate monitor or fitness watch can help provide more accurate insight into the total calories burned from exercise.
- Skipping workouts. Weight loss hinges on both exercise and diet habits. Attempting to lose weight by only altering your diet is about as effective as eating cookies while brushing your teeth. Exercise helps you reach and maintain a calorie deficit. Missing a workout every now and then isn’t a big deal, but frequently skipping out on workouts will derail your weight loss efforts.
- Eliminating food groups. Fad diets and elimination diets aren’t sustainable for the long term. Low-carb diets are popular as they promote rapid weight loss in the first several weeks of the diet. However, the body adapts and starts to hold onto fat in lieu of using carbs for energy. Elimination diets can wreak havoc on your metabolism, and they often restrict fresh fruits and veggies.
- Not getting enough protein. Protein promotes weight loss in several ways. Protein helps build lean muscle, which has a greater calorie burn potential than fat cells. Eating protein also helps you feel full for longer, which can facilitate the necessary calorie deficit to lose weight. Lastly, the body burns more energy to metabolize protein than it does other macros. It’s essential to prevent muscle wasting during weight loss as well.
- Not getting enough fiber. Viscous fiber is a soluble fiber found in plant-based foods. The body can’t absorb it, so it helps you feel full without consuming a significant number of calories. It also binds to cholesterol to prevent the gut from absorbing it.
You may need to reassess your lifestyle and dietary habits if your weight loss efforts aren’t bearing fruit. Small changes to your routine and eating habits can net significant scale victories. However, some individuals struggle to lose weight regardless of the changes they make to their diet and exercise routines. If the scale is refusing to budge despite your best efforts, you may be a good candidate for bariatric surgery. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your weight loss goals.