Updated: May 27, 2020
I get people every day who tell me that they're doing all the right things: eating veggies, working out, eating less - and STILL not losing weight. What gives?? If there is one thing we learned from the show The Biggest Loser, it's that weight loss is not as simple as calories in vs. calories out. The body is an extremely complex system with a variety of mechanisms effecting the end result of weight loss.
Today, I'm sharing 10 common weight loss mistakes that I see every day so that you can achieve your wellness goals!
1. You're Not Eating Enough
This is probably the strangest one of all, so I'm starting with it first. We're used to the ideology that less calories is going to ensure that we lose weight. Although this is true in the short term, it's not necessarily true for the long term. A result of consistently eating low calorie is that your BMR (metabolism) starts to reduce and you use less energy/calories at rest. This is why it's so easy to gain back the weight you lost when following a calorie restrictive diet - because you are now using less of that energy at rest.
Instead, focusing on satiety and eating enough of the right things can help you feel pleasantly full while also become more efficient at tapping into fat burning mechanisms. Which leads me into my next point...
2. You're Not Eating Enough Fat
We've long held this fear of fat causing us to gain weight. However, fat with its satiating qualities and and fat-soluble vitamins is actually a fantastic and necessary tool for weight loss. Fat, in combination with protein and fiber, helps to trigger satiety hormones and tell your brain that it's full. This sensation of satiety ensures that you can have a break between meals and not snack (more on that in a bit), which reduces the secretion of insulin, your storing hormone.
Learn the ideal amount of fat you should be eating per day HERE.
3. You're Drinking Sodas (Even "Diet" Ones)
Really, any sugar sweetened beverage can be added into this category. Sugar sweetened beverages, soda being a very popular one, has long been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and inflammation. And if you think about it, this makes total sense. These sugary drinks and sodas are essentially liquid glucose (sugar). There is no protein, fat or fiber to slow the release of these sugars into your system which causes a massive spike in your blood glucose upon drinking and therefore a spike in your storing hormone insulin. This also leads to highly variable blood glucose levels and promotes further sugar cravings, causing the cycle to repeat endlessly.
And if you think you're fine with sugar-free sodas, this can actually be just as bad as sugar sweetened options.
4. You're Adding Sugar to Your Coffee/Tea
This is in the same light as the 3rd tip. Adding sugar straight into your coffee or tea will cause a rush of blood glucose and insulin and keep you in storing mode. Instead, opt for black coffee, unsweetened tea, Keto Coffee or stir in grass-fed heavy whipping cream.
5. You're Relying on Snacks
Inherently, if you are relying on snacks then that means you likely aren't eating until satiated. With snacking, you are also eating 5-7 or more times throughout the day. This constant stream of food leads to a more consistent release of insulin (storing hormone), leaving no opportunity for your body to tap into fat burning mechanisms - let alone turning on your MMC pathway to reduce bloating.
6. You Eat Protein Bars Daily
Have I said this one enough yet? Check out the video below for why you should stop adding protein bars to your grocery list.
7. You're Not Walking Enough
Walking really doesn't get the attention that more trendy workouts, such as HIIT and weight training, do. This highly underutilized technique helps to reduce stress levels that can be holding on to weight around the belly while also boosting fat burning mechanisms.
Even if you already worked out earlier in the day, it's a great idea to add multiple 10-15 minute walks to break up your work day. Get the best walking strategies to help with your weight los goals HERE.
8. You're Getting Terrible Sleep
If this is you, don't worry - most people aren't getting enough high quality sleep. Turns out that researchers have found that low quality sleep leads to increased ghrelin (hunger hormone), increased cortisol (stress hormone) and higher levels of obesity. And even if you are getting 8 hours of sleep, it's highly possible that you aren't getting high quality sleep.
One quick and effective strategy for increasing deep sleep is by shutting off all tech (phone, TV, laptop, kindle, etc) 60 minutes before bed. This allows your body to naturally increase your melatonin production and improve your quality of sleep.
9. You're Not Getting Enough Fiber
Fiber, just like fat, is very important for increasing satiety, however fiber works via a slightly different mechanism. Fiber helps to promote satiety via the stretch mechanism within the stomach. This lets your brain know that you've eaten enough through a physical stretch response of the stomach. Fiber paired with fats and proteins also helps to promote PYY (peptide YY) expression which slows your GI tract and allows you to feel satiated longer.
Some of my favorite ways to REALLY boost fiber intake is through the addition of chia seeds, avocado and artichoke hearts.
10. You're Being Too "Strict"
A few issues come along with being too "strict". First of all, this typically implies calorie restriction, which we discussed with tip 1. Second of all, being too strict on yourself means that if/when you "slip up", you're more likely to spiral and binge eat on foods that won't serve your goals or make you feel very great.