There are times in which you try your hardest to lose weight, but nothing seems to work. You may be working out hard, watching your calories, avoiding certain foods and still, nothing changes. The weight sticks.
If this is the case for you then you may be making one of the following 7 diet mistakes. You may not even be aware that you’re making them or that they pose a problem at all.
In this post I will teach you about common diet mistakes and how to avoid them. If you’re frustrated with your lack of progress, continue reading this post and you may find the way to get the pounds to melt off fast.
Diet Mistake #1 – Drinking your calories
Calories do not come from solid foods alone. What you drink can be a major source of calories and, unlike solid foods, you may not pay attention to these calories at all.
There are plenty of drinks that contain a massive amount of calories. For instance, a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks contains 310 calories! A single glass of margarita contains 153 calories. I know people who drink multiple cups of coffee each day, often of the high calorie variety, and they wonder why they can’t lose weight!
You need to watch what you’re drinking and be aware of the calories and sugar contents of your beverages. If you don’t, then you really have no control over your total calorie consumption at all and maintaining the calorie deficit required for weight loss will be hard.
Diet Mistake #2 Sleeping Too Little
This has nothing to do with nutrition but everything to do with weight loss. If you don’t get enough sleep you won’t be able to lose weight effectively. Sleep helps you lose weight, as multiple studies show. The lack of sleep changes your hormonal makeup to one which inhibits fat burning and increases appetite. You end up eating too much calories and burning too little of them.
This may seem counter-intuitive because sleep is a time of low activity and reduced calorie burning. However, if you’re not getting enough sleep you should be ready for a long struggle with your weight. It will be an uphill battle.
How much sleep should you get? I recommend 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at the very least. If you can do eight that would be better. If you’re having trouble sleeping check out these 12 tips for better sleep.
Diet Mistake #3 – Cutting Your Calories Too Low
Weight loss is a matter of calories. You need to burn more calories than the amount you take in. This seems to mean that you need to cut your calories as low as possible. However, it is not as simple as that.
For one thing, cutting your calories too low places your health in jeopardy. You’re simply not giving your body what it needs to function properly. In addition, when you don’t eat enough you tend to be tired and lethargic. This means that you are less active and you burn fewer calories as a result.
For another, cutting your calories too low can have a negative effect on your metabolism. You see, your body burns calories at the rate in which your metabolism dictates. The higher your metabolism gets, the faster you burn calories and fat.
Your metabolism is influenced by a number of factors. One of them is the amount of food that you eat. In particular, your body has a defense mechanism which sets in when you cut your calories too low for too long.
This is often referred to as “Starvation Mode” and it basically means that your body will reduce your metabolism to protect itself. It’s a mechanism which has stayed with us from the times in which humans had to forage for food and faced possible starvation.
Cutting your calories too low can be counter-productive, lead to weight loss plateaus, and even make it harder to maintain your weight after you lose it. This is why many fat loss plans such as Xtreme Fat Loss Diet and 24/7 Fat Loss include a cheat day in which you can eat a lot of food. This is done to ensure that you don’t go on a streak of low-calorie days and helps you avoid a metabolic slowdown.
You should monitor your calories and reduce them in moderation. However, you must never cut them down too low. This can backfire.
Diet Mistake #4 – Eating Low Fat Foods Without Looking at Other Ingredients
Since your main goal is to lose fat, you may be trying to eat only low fat foods. This can lead to two problems:
1. Fat is essential to your body. You need to stick to high quality sources of fat like olive oil and fish to get the best kind, but avoiding fat altogether is simply a mistake.
2. Too much focus on fat can lead to a disregard of other ingredients that you need to watch out for such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, and chemicals that may increase hunger or inhibit fat burning.
You have to examine the complete list of ingredients of any food item that you buy. Don’t let the claim of low-fat or no-fat fool you. Other ingredients can also make you gain weight.
Diet Mistake #5 – Eating Your Carbs at the Wrong Time
Carbs are often said to be the enemy of weight loss. I don’t think that’s completely true. Some carbs are good and others are not so good.
Where it gets even trickier is timing. It seems that the time of day in which you eat carbs plays a role in how your body can digest and absorb them. The best time to eat carbs is either in the morning or following a strength workout. So, if you’re eating most of your carbs at other times of the day, you may be making a mistake.
Diet Mistake #6 – Eating Until You’re Totally Full
It’s clear that you shouldn’t overeat when you’re trying to lose weight. So, you must never stuff yourself. However, eating until you feel totally full may also be bad for you.
The reason is that your body takes time to understand that it’s full. It takes 15 – 20 minutes after you’ve already eaten for you to get the signals from your body that you’ve had enough. This means that you need to stop eating when you’re just shy of being full. If you go on, it means that you’ve actually eaten too much.
I recommend eating until you’re about 80% full. This is actually something I learned when I researched longevity. In Okinawa, the place with the longest lifespan on Earth, people practice Hara Hachi Bu which means eating to an 80% capacity. It is believed to prolong their life.
It takes some practice to figure out when you’re 80% full, but it is worth doing. It is one of the best weight loss tips I can share with you.
Diet Mistake #7 – Overeating After a Workout
You’re often told that you need to eat within an hour or two after a workout. This is true, but it is also risky. This license to eat is often taken in a too liberal manner. People feel that they can afford to eat what they want after a workout and they end up eating too much and actually ruining all the hard work they did at the gym.
You should have a good meal after a workout, but don’t make the mistake of eating too much. Weight loss is a numbers game. If you eat too many calories, no amount of working out will allow you to lose weight.
I’ve shared with you 7 diet mistakes and how to avoid them. It is up to you to take what you’ve read and apply it in your life. Here are the mistakes again:
- Drinking your calories
- Not getting enough sleep
- Cutting your calories too low
- Eating low fat foods with no regard to other nutrients
- Eating carbs at the wrong time
- Eating until you’re totally full
- Overeating after a workout
Avoid these diet mistakes and you may find that it is suddenly easy to lose weight. If you have any more mistakes that you think are worth sharing, drop me a comment below.