It's frustrating to diet and exercise but still not shed those extra pounds? Below are common pitfalls of weight loss and ways to avoid them:
- Skipping meals, especially breakfast: The most important meal of the day is breakfast. When you skip it, you'll tend to overeat at lunchtime and throughout the rest of the day. Additionally, it'll slow down your metabolism and burn less calories resulting in weight gain.
- Consuming only one main meal throughout the day: If you think that consuming only one meal per day will help you lose the weight think again! Starving yourself will actually make the weight loss harder and longer as your metabolism tends to slow down and you will also be depriving your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Avoiding carbohydrates and consuming more protein at meal times: It may be a quick solution for weight loss, however, it’s not recommended to completely eliminate any food group from your diet – especially carbohydrates as they provide you with the energy you need throughout the day. The idea is to consume healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain breads and cereals, lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoid refined carbohydrates and simple sugars.
- Going on the latest fad diet or following very low-calorie diets: You may achieve weight loss in a short period but you'll not be able to sustain it once you get back to eating in a healthy and nutritious manner. Such fad diets often eliminate important food groups that our bodies need to ensure we're getting the right amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Replacing meals with bars or shakes as opposed to consuming whole foods: Nothing is more nutritious than consuming wholesome foods. And nothing more enjoyable either!
- Setting unrealistic weight loss goals: It’s important to be realistic when setting your weight loss goals in order to prevent any setbacks. You need to think of the process as a long-term commitment that you're making to yourself to stay healthy and active, rather than just losing a certain number of kilos in a very short period of time.
- Not drinking enough water: Water is essential for everyone: it'll keep you hydrated throughout the day and can help boost your metabolism. You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- Only eating vegetables and salads at meal times: Besides the fact that it will get boring if you only eat vegetables all day long, it's not healthy to avoid important food groups such as whole-grains, low-fat dairy products including cheeses, milk and yogurt. And always choose lean cuts of meat, fish and poultry in addition to making legumes a part of your diet.
- Not exercising and thinking that dieting is enough: Being active on a daily basis and making sure you consume healthy and well-balanced meals go hand-in-hand. Exercising not only burns extra calories, but also builds your muscles which increases your metabolism.
- Oversized portions: Keeping an eye out on food portions will help control your caloric intake to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Changing your eating habits and trying to lose weight should not have a start and stop date. Stop looking for quick solutions; aim for changing your habits slowly, one at a time, to establish long-term habits and achieve permanent results. Consult a dietician to help you make some positive changes that will lead to your weight loss goals.