Losing weight can seem very tough. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing all the right things, but still not getting any results. You may, however, be hindering your progress by following false and outdated advice.
Here are 5 common mistakes I find people make when trying to lose weight.
1. Choosing “low-fat” foods. If some of you remember back in the 80s and 90s, many people were eating rice cakes or 100 calorie low fat snacks to lose weight. Many were given the advice to eat low fat food to lose weight. However, this advice backfired. Many of these foods were full of sugars and processed carbohydrates to make them taste better. In fact, what ended up happening was more weight gain over time. Fats are not really the enemy (especially good fats found in nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and olive oil, and fatty fish).
2. Not eating enough calories. I find that many patients that come o see me in my office are eating too few calories, thinking that they will lose weight. You can get so caught up doing calorie counting, that you end up gaining weight and depriving your body of vital nutrients. If you drastically decrease your daily calories, your body decreases your metabolic rate, so you end up burning fewer calories, making it more difficult to lose weight. And, if you don’t provide your body with enough calories, it’s natural to think that your body will use stored fat for energy. Unfortunately, your body starts to break down your muscle. This loss of muscle makes your metabolism slow down even more!
3. Eating too fast. Did you know that it takes your brain about 20 minutes to catch up with your stomach to realize that it is full? The key is to slow down the pace of your eating, so you end up eating less portions. Here are few tips to slow down your eating pace:
- Take the time to use your senses when you sit at the dinner table. Meaning, take the time to smell the food, appreciate the presentation even, and truly savor it.
- Use a smaller spoon when eating. In fact, I have recommended that people use a baby spoon to eat, which will force you to take smaller bites.
- Put the fork or spoon down between each bite.
- And last, but not least, eat at the table without the television, computer, or phone around to distract you from doing mindful eating.
4. Relying on Crash Diets. There are so many diets out there, that it can be confusing which is the best plan for you. I am not a fan of the word “diet” in general – because a diet is something that you start that you eventually will have to get off. Many of these diets are fads, relying on super low calories without proper nutrients and protein, doing more harm than good. The key is finding an eating plan that your body wants, one that you enjoy and don’t have to struggle with, and obviously one that gives you the results that you want. Your eating plan must be sustainable, so that you can follow it consistently.
5. Drinking too many calories. You can often overlook calories that are found in nearly everything you drink. But at the end of the day, the calories in many alcoholic drinks and fancy coffees can add up to over 500 calories per day (or per drink). Even many drinks that sound healthy are loaded with calories. Think of smoothies and protein shakes that have a lot of sugar in them. Many have added sugars, so they taste better. My advice is not to avoid drinks but start watching what is in the drinks – specifically the sugar content. We know water is the best thing to drink – why not add lemon, cucumber, or even some strawberries and mint to flavor it up? When at the coffee shop, forego the flavored syrups or whipped cream. Ask for a drink with low fat or fat free milk, a milk alternative such as soy or almond, or just get back to basics with black coffee.
Weight loss can be tricky business. You can be influenced by a lot of misguided and outdated advice. Let us help you sort out facts from myths – based upon proven science.