Losing weight can be a pain in the ass, and more often than not, we feel like we’re not getting the results we want despite doing everything right – or so we think.
You may actually be hindering your progress by following misguided advice.
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight, and how to avoid them.
Only focusing on the scale weight
Using your weight as a reference point to how fit you are is one of the most common mistakes people trying to lose weight make – and it’s been proven.
The number on the scale is only one measure of weight change, and your weight is influenced by several things, including fluid fluctuations and how much food remains in your system, the Independent reports.
If you’ve been working out, you may be gaining muscle and losing fat. When this happens, your clothes may start to feel looser despite a stable scale weight. Instead, you can measure yourself and take monthly pictures to reveal if you’re actually losing fat, even if the scale number doesn’t change much.
Not lifting weights
For those who live and breathe cardio, this is a big one. The treadmill can no doubt help you lose weight, but to get past that plateau and tone up, your body needs to lift weights.
In fact, a review of 15 studies with more than 700 people found the best strategy of all for weight loss appears to be combined aerobic exercise and weightlifting.
At the end of the day, weightlifting or resistance training can help boost metabolic rate, promote fat loss, and increase muscle mass.
Choosing low-fat or ‘diet’ foods
Processed low-fat or ‘diet’ foods are often considered good choices for losing weight, but they’re also typically high in sugar to improve their taste and may lead to hunger and higher calorie intake.
One cup of low-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt can contain a whopping 47 grams of sugar (nearly 12 teaspoons), according to the Independent. So instead of low-fat or ‘diet’ food, it may be better to choose a combination of minimally processed but still nutritious foods.
Still drinking sugar
Cutting out fizzy drinks and sweetened beverages are all well and good, but if you still drink fruit juice, it may be contributing to your hard time losing weight.
Even 100 per cent fruit juice is loaded with sugar, and liquid calories don’t seem to affect the appetite centers in your brain the same way calories from solid foods do – so if you’re drinking a big glass of orange juice to subside hunger the ‘healthy’ way, you may want to reach for a glass of water and some raw veggies instead.
Not reading labels
Knowing what’s in the food you eat is important, and failing to accurately read label information can cause you to consume unwanted calories and unhealthy ingredients.
Many packages are labeled with healthy-sounding claims that give you a false sense of security, but unfortunately, unless you read the back label, you won’t know for sure.
Eating too many or too few calories
A calorie deficit is required for weight loss, meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume.
And while you may feel as though you’re not eating very many calories, most of us have a tendency to underestimate what we eat. You may be consuming too many foods that are healthy but also high in calories, like nuts and cheese.
On the other hand, decreasing your calorie intake too much can also be counterproductive.
Studies on very low-calorie diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day show they can lead to muscle loss and significantly slow down metabolism. One Instagram blogger proved this by upping her calorie intake by over 1,000 calories a day – and getting amazing results.