Dr. Ian Smith, author and medical/diet expert on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, says that the following are seven of the most common weight loss mistakes that people make, and offers strategies to avoid them.
1. Not eating enough food often enough. If you know anything about weight loss, you’ve probably been told that it’s best to eat small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. However, many people don’t believe it. They skip breakfast and sometimes even lunch then load up when they’re really hungry, generally at dinner. “One of greatest misperceptions is that by skipping meals you’re saving calories,” says Smith. “It seems OK to eat one big 1 500-calorie meal instead of spreading the 1 500 calories over several meals. But it’s not. Skipping meals throws off the metabolism and kicks the body into starvation mode. You end up holding onto the fat, instead of burning it.”
To keep metabolism steady and lose weight, eat small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Choose low-fat protein, high fibre and lots and lots of vegetables.
2. Starting a diet at the wrong time. Many people, says Smith, insist they want to lose weight, but they really aren’t ready. When you have circumstances – like financial problems or a divorce – that won’t allow weight loss to be No. 1, you canâ??t give your diet the focus it needs.
3. Setting unrealistic expectations. If you go in with an unrealistic goal, you’re not going to succeed!
4. Focusing on a short-term result. Short termers always gain the weight back. The finish line should be three years down the road instead of once a certain function/ event is over. Incorporating exercise and healthy eating into your lifestyle will give you a better chance of long-term weight loss success.
5. Being too busy to stick to the programme. Healthy eating and consistent exercise take time, thought and planning. If you want to lose weight, you’ll have to plan ahead, especially if you’re working crazy hours or travelling. Try blocking out an hour for exercise, and nothing should get in the way of going to the gym unless it’s an emergency. Don’t allow your schedule to bleed into your exercise time or force you to make unhealthy food choices.
6. Checking weight too often. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to become scale-obsessed. Weighing yourself too often can lead to panic if you feel like you aren’t seeing results, says Smith. He recommends checking weight once a week, the same time, same way. “Do it every Monday morning without your clothes on,” he suggests. Try and be consistent.
7. Going it alone. Weight loss works best in a supportive environment, both at work and at home. You should ask for support from your family, friends and colleagues. Sit down with people, and let them know what you’re trying to do and how important it is to you, says Smith.