Diet Mistakes Preventing You From Losing Weight
It seems like just about everyone has tried to lose weight at some point in time. So you probably can relate to how it can be super frustrating when you think you are doing everything right, yet you aren’t losing any weight – or you might even be gaining weight! Seriously the worst. There is usually one or more factors contributing to this, the trick is figuring out what you need to change to see changes on the scale and with how your clothes fit.
Diet is always number one when it comes to your weight. Other factors can absolutely contribute, but it still all comes down to what you are putting into your body. For this reason, if you are not losing weight, checking-in on your diet is the first step.
Top diet mistakes preventing you from losing weight:
Eating too much fruit
Let me start this first by saying that fruit is healthy. Fruit is a nutrient dense food and is dense with vitamins and nutrients. That being said, fruit is also dense in sugar and many of us have a tendency to view fruit as a free-for-all food and overdue it. Once sugar is in your body and in your bloodstream, your body doesn’t care where that sugar came from.
Stick to lower sugar / higher fiber fruits such as raspberries and blackberries, and stick to a 1/2 cup serving.
I’ve had so many patients in practice who cut out fruit from their diet – or at least limit their fruit intake to some degree – and drop weight right away. I’ve found that many individuals do not realize how much fruit they are consuming (or how much sugar), so just being mindful of your intake is beneficial.
Eating too many carbs
Unless you are a professional athlete or something else of that nature, you don’t need to eat very many carbs. The more carbs you eat, the harder it is going to be to drop excess weight. Carbs promote fat gain for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being that it stimulates insulin, aka the “fat storage hormone.”
Cut back on your carb intake by cutting back on the big ones such as pastas, breads, and grains. Stick to a 1/2 cup serving or less of carbs per meal.
One tip I generally tell my patients who want something easy and simple to follow is to cut out wheat from their diet. If you cut out this one ingredient, this will definitely make you cut back on highly processed carbs and you will lose weight.
Not drinking enough water
Being even just slightly dehydrated can make you feel hungry. This then may cause you to overeat when really all you needed was a glass of water. Water also helps to take space up in your stomach making you feel more full and helps to prevent cravings.
A good rule of thumb is to drink 64 ounces of water per day, more if you are exercising. If you don’t love water or have a hard time getting it down, try adding fruit or vegetables into your water glass to give it some flavor.
Eating too little
The worst thing you can do is to eat too few of calories. Not only will this cause you to not lose fat (your body does not magically start burning fat when you starve it of calories), it will also slow down your metabolism, and make you feel cranky and irritable. Not eating enough is actually more common than you think and is only going to make you gain more weight in the long run.
A clue that you may not be eating enough is if you are eating a healthy mix of protein, fat, and fiber but still constantly feeling hungry (or you need to drink more water, see above). The combination of protein + fat + fiber is literally the most filling way you can eat, so if that’s not filling you up then you need to eat more of it. Start with adding an extra serving of protein, fat, or fiber at meals if the above scenario is true for you. For example, say you typically eat 3 eggs for breakfast and you are still very hungry after 2 hours. Fix this by adding another egg, a tablespoon of coconut oil, or throw in a tablespoon of chia seeds for some fiber.
Drinking too much alcohol
A glass of wine a couple of nights a week is totally fine – it may even prevent you from snacking on other things. However, when you start drinking more than one drink a night those calories can add up and cause weight gain. The worst offenders are cocktails with high sugar ingredients or sweet wine.
If you have a great deal of weight to lose, cut out alcohol during the week and reserve a glass or two of wine for the weekend as a treat. Stick to dry wine and spirits on the rocks or spirits with a zero calorie mixer – avoid other cocktails at all costs
Eating too much in general
Eating too much food isn’t usually the culprit when you are being mindful of your meals and loading up on slimming ingredients (i.e. fiber, fat, and protein) but it is still something to check.
This is also a common situation that happens when individuals start counting macros/calories and they calculate wrong, and then end up eating more in the end.
Write down everything you eat and drink – including sips/tastes of anything because these add up! Read ingredient labels of everything you buy because many seemingly healthy drinks or foods can have a ton of sugar added to them without you even realizing.
Doing a juice cleanse
A juice cleanse is a bad idea for a few reasons. First of all, going several days without protein is going to lead to muscle loss, so even if you do lose weight from the cleanse, be aware that much of this is from muscle. Another reason to avoid a juice cleanse is because when you severely cut your calories this is going to lead to your body trying to conserve energy – meaning your metabolism slows down and you burn way less calories than with what you started with.
The one good thing about a juice cleanse is about what you are not eating, it’s not so much about the actual juice. Juices, even green juice, can also be high in sugar if they have juice from fruits which even sets you up to fail even more.
Save your money and skip the juice cleanse. You can certainly add a juice to your diet (as long as it is low in sugar), or better yet a smoothie (you get more vitamins and nutrients from the pulp), but don’t rely on a juice cleanse for fat loss.
The above are the most common diet mistakes that can lead to plateaus or even make you gain weight when you are trying to lose it. Practice mindfulness with your meals, understand what you are eating and why you are eating it for health.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab
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