Losing weight can be an exasperating experience, especially when you’re doing everything right, yet those stubborn pounds refuse to budge. What’s even more frustrating is discovering that some choices, which many self-proclaimed “gurus” deem as “healthy,” may actually hinder your progress.
Therefore, it’s crucial to identify and eliminate such covert mistakes that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Here are six common mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to achieve your weight loss goals.
1. Choosing the Low or Reduced-Fat Option
It seems so simple: less fat per serving means less fat for you.
However, beware, when processed food brands take out the fat, they tend to pack in the sugar instead—and sugar is the ultimate way to slow down your results.
Better to avoid the processed food section altogether, and go for fresh, whole foods, like baby carrots and hummus, to snack on instead.
2. Eating a lot of fruits
Although natural and packed with nutrients, fruit should be treated more like healthy candy than a staple when losing weight.
It contains high levels of fructose, which although natural, still qualifies as a sugar and can certainly be a reason the pounds aren’t coming off quickly.
If you’re serious about the weight-loss game, a smarter alternative to that piece of fruit is a serving of veggies.
3. Not drinking enough water
Water is a top-notch weight loss buddy for so many reasons: it aids in digestion, reduces appetite, and is sugar and calorie-free.
A common mistake when losing weight is to opt for juice, which is naturally sugary and can even spark your appetite. Even if it’s freshly squeezed, water is always the better option.
And to boot, drinking a glass of ice water burns eight calories!
4. Cutting down on cardio
Nothing against weight training here, but the reason you may not be seeing the results you want at the gym is lack of cardio in your workout.
Weights are great for building muscle, but without at least 15-30 minutes of cardio included to jumpstart fat burning, you may just be building that muscle underneath a layer of fat that’s not going anywhere.
5. Going too far with your cheat days
If a cheat meal is part of your weekly routine, it’s never a good idea to go too hard.
Why pack on extra calories you can live without? Every decision to skip that cheeseburger (or maybe just take off the bun) is a step closer to reaching your goal.
6. Not getting the sleep you need
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full – double whammy.
So, sleep more and sleep well.