The New Year is here. Many of us see this new beginning as a time to focus on getting healthier; for many, that means losing weight.
Year after year, weight loss is one of the most popular resolutions. Yet, obesity remains an epidemic in the United States. That’s because our good intentions often stray shortly after we begin. Many people totally abandon their plans within the first two weeks. Why does this happen and what can you do to increase your chances of success?
After working with hundreds of people during my career, here are what I consider the 10 ten biggest weight-loss mistakes I see clients make. If you truly want to achieve your healthy weight in 2014, avoid them.
#1. Not setting a goal or setting an unrealistic goal.
You need to have a very realistic goal. For success, keep it simple, measurable and attainable. Dividing your goal into short- and long-term goals will keep you motivated. You will be able to measure your success along the way. You may want to lose 30 pounds, but you need to set a reasonable time to accomplish that goal. A long-term goal could be to lose 30 pounds by May 1 with a short-term goal of losing one or two pounds per week. A goal of losing one pound per week may seem small, but it’s easily obtained with a few modifications to your lifestyle. Seeing success will help keep you motivated to continue so that you can reach your long-term goal.
#2. Setting too many goals.
Deciding to lose weight is a huge goal, one that takes a lot of attention and dedication. This is not to say you can’t have other goals, but start with one and work on it before you start adding more goals, especially if the goal involves making a lifestyle change.
#3. Making your plan too restrictive.
Some people do very well with restrictions while others need more flexibility. Finding a plan and the right balance that works for you will be the key to your success.
#4. Going it alone.
Losing weight is not easy and it takes commitment. Partner with a friend or find a local weight-loss support group. With the right information and support you can succeed.
#5. Fudging the numbers.
Underestimating the number of calories you eat and overestimating the amount of calories you burn in a day can lead to disaster when it comes to weight loss. You may be eating healthy, but you need to be mindful of how much you consume. The best way to know if you’re eating too much is to write it down. A leisurely stroll around the mall or a track for an hour works off only about 150 calories. Make sure you are working at the right pace. If you pick up the pace one minute out of every five, you can burn over one-third more calories. For consistent weight loss, you need to be consistent with your meal plan and your exercise routine.
#6. Expecting immediate results.
Cutting calories today (through diet) and burning some (through exercise) probably will not show up on the scale at the end of the day or even by tomorrow. Your weight can fluctuate from morning to night and day to day for many reasons. Much of this fluctuation is due to water and sodium intake. While your scale may show changes throughout the day, fluctuations due to sodium and water alone are not permanent weight losses or gains. Weighing yourself the first thing in the morning before you have anything to eat or drink will provide you with the most accurate number, but allow yourself at least seven days to see some results from your hard work. Keep in mind average weight loss is one to two pounds per week with diet and exercise.
#7. Trying to be perfect.
Most people try to do their best but accept they are not going to be perfect. That type of thinking is true for almost every aspect in our life except when it comes to dieting. No one is perfect, especially when trying to change eating habits. You can expect to hit a few bumps in the road, no matter how hard you are trying. The important thing is not to let those bumps throw you totally off track. You can learn from them and move forward.
#8. Comparing your weight loss to others.
Losing weight depends on many physiological as well as psychological factors. Our body type, the amount of lean tissue we have, our muscle mass and bone density all contribute to our metabolism and the amount of calories our body needs each day. Men tend to lose weight faster than women, and the younger you are the higher your metabolic rate. Make your weight-loss journey all about you. Celebrate your successes no matter how big or small and don’t always make it about the numbers on the scale.
#9. Mindless eating.
Eating while distracted can cause mindless eating. You might be paying very close attention to the type of food you are eating during your meals, but mindless eating can leave you hungry and wanting more. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when women who normally watched their portions had lunch in different situations, they ate 15% more (72 additional calories) while listening to a detective story, compared with when they ate alone and free of any distractions. If you are eating while reading emails, texting your friend or watching your favorite TV show, you may find that you are eating more than planned.
#10. Not treating obesity as a chronic condition.
Obesity is a chronic condition just like hypertension or diabetes. Most people understand the importance of following their prescription to control their diabetes or hypertension. Obesity is no different. To maintain control of your weight you need to follow your prescription, which includes maintaining eating and physical activity goals. Image credit
Do you live in or near Canton, Ohio, and need help setting and meeting weight loss goals in 2014? Canton Mercy Weight Management can help you develop the right weight management plan for you. Contact us for more information.