If you’re in the process of trying to cut fat and lose weight it can be a trying time mentally and physically. Dieting is really a complete lifestyle change. When you feel like you’re doing all the right things but the scale isn’t moving it can make you feel like throwing in the towel. There is more to changing your diet than meets the eye. Hidden calories and ingredients, succumbing to false marketing claims and not eating enough are just a few things that could be sabotaging your weight loss. Don’t throw in the towel, step back and look at the bigger picture. Changing your diet will lead to a healthier and happier you. These are some mistakes you might be overlooking to help push you through any plateau.
Top 5 Dieting Mistakes
1. Skipping Meals (The body needs fuel to burn fat)
Skipping meals might seem like a sure way to lose weight quickly. Less calories are being consumed which should lead to fat loss. However, how many calories you restrict and when makes a huge difference in your body. Depriving your body of too many calories can significantly slow down your metabolism and your brain will force your body into starvation mode. Starvation mode is when your body tries to save the calories you do have by reducing the calories you burn to preserve your energy. It’s your brain’s reaction to keep you from starving. This in turn stores all of your extra fat instead of expending the calories to lose it.
A couple things that might help if you do want to restrict your calories long term:
- Resistance training. Lifting weights and resistance training has been shown to greatly improve metabolic rates.
- High protein intake. Protein has been known to reduce appetite and increase metabolic rates. It also helps with keeping you full longer and maintaining muscle mass.
2. Avoiding Good Fat (Not all fat is bad)
Eating fat does not make you fat and not all fat is bad. Incorporating good fats into your diet is important for weight loss and your overall health. Good fats can help keep you full for longer and can help maximize your metabolism function. They are also full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health. Staying away from trans fats in processed food is important for your health and your weight loss journey. Cutting out all fat, even good fat can actually do more harm than good. With that being said, it’s still important to keep your eye on good fat intake while you’re in the process of losing weight. Limit it to a certain amount of grams per day, even good fats should be kept in moderation.
What should you be eating that has good fat?
- Nuts and seeds
- Wild salmon
- Organic olive oil
3. Not Counting Liquid Calories (sugary drinks and coffee)
Cutting out sugary beverages is an important key to weight loss. It also helps to get your health on track. Liquid calories count. Start with the obvious such as energy drinks and soda. However, high sugar content and calories are hidden in drinks like juice and coffee beverages as well. Even with the high calorie count your brain doesn’t register them like solid food calories. You’ll find yourself hungry regardless of how many liquid calories you’ve taken in. All the excess sugar will also cause weight gain.
How to avoid the extra calories:
- When ordering coffee beverages opt for sugar free options and ditch the creamer. Pay attention to how many extra ingredients they’re adding.
- Stick to whole fruits, not juices. Check the label on your fruit juice and look at the grams of sugar. Most have so many additives they do more harm than good. Order fresh pressed juice or grab the whole fruit instead of juice.
4. Not Tracking What You Eat (Track your protein, fats, carbs, etc.)
It can be easy to overeat and not even realize you’ve done it. Tracking your food is a great way to keep your protein, fats and carbs in check and also make sure you aren’t going over in calories. While overeating is an obvious issue, so is under-eating. As we went over earlier in this article, under-eating can cause a slow down in metabolism and cause your body to hold onto any extra fat you have.
Tips to track your food intake:
- Keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat. Not only will this keep track of your intake, it will also make you think twice about grabbing that extra snack when you have to write it down.
- Download an app to help you. There are countless phone apps that track your food for you. All you have to do is type it in or scan the barcode of anything you eat. These are great to track your fat, protein and carbs as well as calories.
5. Not Reading Labels (hidden sugar and high fat)
Not reading labels can be a huge issue when trying to lose weight. There are many hidden ingredients in low fat and diet foods that actually sabotage weight loss. Sugar encourages the release of insulin in your body which in turn tells the body to store fat. Marketing has made it difficult to see past their “low fat” and “all natural” claims by not encouraging you to read the ingredients. Calories are not what matters the most. Sugar and fat content are just as, if not more, important. Processed foods tend to not keep you full as long and are high in bad fats and sugar. Stick to whole foods as much as you can.
Ways to avoid hidden ingredients:
- The number one way is to read the labels of everything you buy. If the list is obnoxiously long and/or it includes ingredients that you have never even heard of it’s safe to assume the product is unhealthy for you.
- Check sugar labels. If you’re not into ingredient reading, at least check the grams of sugar. High sugar leads to weight gain, no matter what the company claims.
- Cut out highly processed food and stick to whole foods. It can be impossible at times, but when it’s not just stick to whole, unprocessed foods.
These five dieting mistakes could be what takes you past your plateau and pushes you to the next level of weight loss. No one is perfect and these changes are not going to be applied overnight. It takes time, discipline and a lot of motivation to completely change your lifestyle. Focus on one at a time, or even just pick a couple that you know you can make happen and apply them. Small changes can bring big results. It’s always better to have a team behind you, pushing you and helping to guide you through your weight loss journey. MaxLife helps you to balance and restore your body to get you where you want to be and feel healthier than ever before.