Today we are going to cover 11 common weight loss mistakes that people make that I have noticed in my ten-plus years in the fitness industry. I want to save you some trouble and assist you on your way to lighter and fit you. No longer will you be the person with a New Years’ fitness resolution to only go to the gym and eat healthy for 2 weeks to just fall off the bandwagon. It is time to jump into the 11 common weight loss mistakes people make.
Set Unrealistic Goals
Setting unrealistic weight loss goals is a major mistake many people make. Setting a goal to lose an unrealistic amount of weight in a short amount of time is destined to end in failure. When training people in the military, they have to be at a certain weight depending on their height and age. Every year, people come to me less than a month before they have to weigh in asking me to train them so they could lose some insane amount of weight that is not possible in the short time period they asked for.
Here is the reality, losing half of a pound to two pounds a week is healthy and realistic. Also, the closer you get to your body’s ideal weight, your body will not want to lose weight anymore. Therefore, at this point, you want to consider improving in other areas such as body fat, performance, and overall health. This will keep you more motivated.
Focus On Other People
Focusing on other people can get you into a world of trouble sometimes. Especially if you do not know what their goals are and what they are doing to reach them when not in your sight. This can lead to discouragement because you start wondering why they are making progress and you are not. It may be that you are already in a good place that is working but you just need to be more patient and trust the process.
Think of it this way, you are an artist working on a painting and it is looking good but your eye starts wondering while you are painting onto someone elses canvas because you like what they are doing and want yours to like theirs. Then you catch yourself and turn back to your canvas realizing you have messed up what you had going on, on your canvas. So now you have to fix your painting or start over because you lost focus on what you were doing. Stay focused on yourself and be patient.
Follow Fads & Trends
People follow fad diets and fitness trends that they cannot stick to and are not sustainable. They see all the celebrities doing it but again, have no clue what else those celebrities are doing to lose weight and/or are not on the same level of fitness. Everybody should not be doing high-impact and high-intensity workouts. If you are coming off an injury, have a medical condition, or are new to exercise that is not the level you want to start on. You will more than likely start wanting to avoid exercise because you did too much initially.
The same principle goes for fad diets. Going on a strict diet with a bunch of food you hate will not help them lose weight in the long haul. They end up losing weight initially because you are barely eating or are extremely restricted to what you can eat which can result in you being undernourished. Then within a week or two, they end up going right back to their poor eating habits and dietary choices. Follow what is sustainable and works for you not everyone else.
Try to Compensate For Bad Habits
Compensating for bad habits on a consistent basis when it comes to weight loss is like living a double where you are a good citizen during the day to make up for the evil you do at night. This approach to weight loss will wear a person out. People mainly do this by trying to outwork their bad diet with exercise. The chances of this happening are slim, especially for someone not doing any performance drugs and/or older in age.
Instead of working yourself to death, focus on small consistent changes one at a time. Work on an area providing the least resistance first. Get that small victory. Go for the low-hanging fruit first and work your way up as your confidence and discipline improve with small victories.
Do Not Sleep Enough
The constant amount of stress and stimulation we face today is not good. We must learn to give our bodies the proper rest it needs to function properly. One of the best ways to do that is by going to sleep when our body calls for it. Stop hanging out late, sitting up watching tv, playing on your phone, and go to bed. What use is tired a body? One will not have the energy to workout, your judgment to make healthy decisions may lapse, and if in a state of stress often while awake, your cortisol levels will be high which can lead to weight gain. Sleep is vital for weight loss. Get yourself on a set schedule and do your best to stick to it.
Surround Themselves with the Wrong People
The saying “birds of a feather flock together” applies to weight loss when it comes to who people surround themselves with. I am a firm believer that ones’ environment helps to shape who one is and the people one is surrounded by often can have an effect on a person’s health. For example, if your spouse is the main cook and you are reliant on their cooking which is mainly heavily processed food, the chances of being overweight increases, and your chances of losing weight decreases. The same would go for physical activity.
The people you spend the most time around or invest your time into, are usually what influences you. Think about the influence your family and friends have had on you and your habits as you grew up. If you are not surrounded by people that support a healthy lifestyle or your goals to be healthy, find other support or set the tone/standard for your circle of family and friends.
Take an All or Nothing Approach
I have come across many people who take an all-or-nothing approach toward weight loss, very few succeed when taking this route. Taking on too much at one time, can and will break you most of the time. One does not go from only being able to do 50 push-ups to bench pressing 225 lbs overnight. Again, the same principle applies to one’s diet. Do not go from eating pizza and fried foods to only drinking smoothies and eating raw food. Quit being so extreme in your approach. You have to build your way up. Allow for gradual change in eating, working out, and better lifestyle habits. Achieving some goals is better than achieving no goals at all.
Don’t Listen to Their Body
Another one of the common weight loss mistakes people make is not listening to their bodies. By design, our bodies have several senses to help us navigate life to survive. Many people tend to ignore the signals their body is sending to make the appropriate decisions. Eating to the point of being uncomfortable and having to unbuckle your pants to breathe is not the way to go. That is a sign you ate too much. Do not workout to the point of pain. Pain is a signal for you to stop, not push through most of the time. Making these common weight loss mistakes does nothing but set one back, delaying the weight loss process.
Not Eating Real/Whole Foods
With all the food companies and their expert marketing teams, they have fooled people into thinking they are making healthy food choices when they are not. Most of the time, if the food does not look appealing, tastes a certain way to hook a customer, or if the company has a particular marketing strategy; a company may add or take away something to make up for the detractor. Companies would add ingredients like unnatural flavors, sugar, salt, fillers, colors, hydrogenated oils, and so forth just to make a buck not thinking too much about the consumer’s health.
A lot of diseases can be traced back to what we eat. Obesity has been classified as a disease now and a worldwide epidemic but it is preventable. When people were eating natural whole foods regularly before all these technological and agricultural advancements, the number of chronic diseases was nowhere as high as they are today. There were not companies pushing food advertisements in your face constantly and people were more connected with the land. Stick to real and whole foods while enjoying your treats every now and then.
Not Regularly Physically Active
Now, I am sure you noticed, I said physical activity and not exercise. That is because traditional exercise as most think of it is not necessary but regular physical activity which traditional exercise falls under can be quite beneficial for those wanting to lose weight. Not being physically active and still eating a bunch of junk, your body is not getting a chance to burn those excess calories but rather store them in and on different parts of your body. Diet is a huge contributor to weight loss but physical activity is also part of the equation to a healthy body so the body can manage its weight effectively. Aim to be active most days of the week for at least 20-30 minutes at a moderate level if you can. If you cannot do that, just start where you are, consider a hobby that is enjoyable and challenging physically.
Have No Plan At All to Follow
The final common weight loss mistake people make is not having a plan in place to lose weight. Weight loss is not to going magically happen when one is trying to lose weight. Some sort of consistent change has to occur for weight loss to take place. Having a plan in place will help the weight loss process move along. Be diligent with the plan and build it around the demands of your lifestyle. Schedule time for grocery shopping, meal prep, exercise, work, sleep, and so on. In order to get to a destination, you are more than likely going to need directions if you never been there and that is what your plan will be for you. At the minimum, just know which direction to go in and have some landmarks to give you an idea if you are going the right way. Sometimes people luck up and stumble upon their destination but when it comes to losing weight, just winging completely will not cut it.
There you have it, 11 common weight loss mistakes people make. I am not saying after you read this, you will not make any but you should be more aware now to help you better avoid them. If looking for a simple fitness plan to follow check out my easy-to-follow fitness plans. If you need more hands-on help, consider my coaching services and sign up for a consultation. I wish you the best on your weight loss journey.
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You