Make sure you’re not doing any of them!
This article was written by Jenny Sugar and repurposed with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.
If you’re no stranger to the struggles of trying to lose weight, the solution might be a few tweaks to your regimen. We enlisted the expertise of three nutritionists to help get you to your goal weight faster. Check out what they say are the biggest mistakes most people make when trying to slim down.
1. You’re Not Planning Ahead
When hunger strikes and you’re not prepared, that’s when unhealthy decisions are made. Stephanie Clarke, R.D., says planning ahead as much as possible can help. If you can, sit down and map out your meals and snacks for the next week or two, and hit the grocery store with a list to stock up on everything you need from fruits to veggies to containers to make a week of salads. That way, you’ll have the food you want to eat on-hand when you want to eat it, “which is the key for sticking to healthy eating for the long-term,” she says.
2. You’re Keeping It to Yourself
If it ever feels like the people closest to you are unknowingly sabotaging your healthy eating efforts, Willow Jarosh, R.D., of C&J Nutrition, says to “consider whether you’ve shared your goals with them.” Tell your family, friends, or coworkers that you’re trying to lose weight so they’ll invite you for a pre-dinner workout, rather than after-work ice cream. Having the support of everyone around you will make it much easier to stay on track.
3. You’re Eating Too Much Protein—or Not Enough
While carb-free, high-protein diets are all the rage and do offer results, Jarosh says, “it’s not sustainable or healthy for the long-term, as you’re missing out on vital nutrients” from fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. This variety of healthy foods helps keep your gut bacteria in check, keeps your digestive system regular, and keeps you feeling full and satisfied. On the contrary, Mitzi Dulan, R.D., author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin, says that not eating enough protein can also cause weight gain. “Since protein helps you to stay satisfied, it is important to make sure you are eating it at every meal,” she says.
4. You’re Compensating For Eating With Exercise
Whether you think that run earns you the right to inhale four slices of pizza—or you hit the gym just so you can eat whatever you want later—you’re promoting an unhealthy relationship with food that lead to weight gain, says Clarke. A 30-minute run only burns about 250 calories, so if you devour 300 calories’ worth of dessert, it’s no wonder you’re not losing any weight and are gaining instead. Use workouts to complement your healthy diet, not to make up for unhealthy eating habits.
5. You’re Skipping Dinner For Cocktails
This is detrimental to weight loss for a number of reasons. Jarosh reminds us that “drinking on an empty stomach can lead to quicker intoxication,” so even if you planned to just enjoy a few drinks, you’ll end up losing the ability to make healthy choices and be more likely to order tons of food off the bar menu. And even if the calories level out because you skipped dinner, you’ll still have missed out on valuable nutrients, dropping your blood-sugar levels. The result? Hunger coupled with the effects of alcohol will quickly nix that trip to the gym you’d planned. If you do enjoy your drinks with a meal, don’t forget they add hundreds of calories without making you feel satisfied, says Dulan. The bottom line is to limit calories from beverages, and if you do go out for happy hour, enjoy one drink and spend the rest of the time sipping water.