These are the 7 biggest weight loss mistakes I see in my practice. It’s not hard to avoid them if you know what they are.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Our bodies are roughly 75% water – it cushions our joints, plumps our skin, allows for normal blood flow and normal digestion, it even impacts your mood. Very often we find ourselves just a little bit dehydrated all day long, and that leaves us feeling tired. Guess what we reach for when we’re tired? Sugary, calorie-laden foods. And, our brains often misinterpret thirst as hunger. Most people should aim to drink half of their body weight in ounces (a little more if you’re sweating a lot). I find it easier to get that much in if I keep a large, refillable cup with me at all times (that’s fewer bottles in the landfill, too!). The next time you feel hungry, maybe reach for a glass of water instead?
Relying on Energy Bars
These bars do have a place and time, but unless you’re doing some marathon hiking you probably don’t need them. Many of these bars have 40-50 carbohydrates (EACH), and the majority of those carbohydrates are sugars and their cousins (honey, agave, brown ice syrup, etc). These high energy foods need to be earned with high-intensity exercise, so if the only marathon you’re training for is on Netflix you’re better off to pass on the bars. For quick, on-the-go nutrition, focus on portable produce like apples or bananas or single-servings of jerkey. Or, better yet, take the time to sit down and focus on your food – you’ll digest better, and eat a more well-rounded meal like a salad with some protein and lots of different veggies.
Not Enough Produce
The “eat your veggies” refrain does get a little old, but when it comes to your health (and your waistline) the best thing you can do for yourself is eat lots of real, unprocessed, living food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients, enzymes, and other antioxidants delivering untold benefits to every cell in your body. Too often we rely on bags and boxes for our meals which typically comes with added calories, sugars, and preservatives. Your daily diet should be colorful, juicy, and refreshing. So bring those cucumber slices and bell peppers to work with your hummus, grab those blueberries for an afternoon snack, and put those leftover roasted squash in a bowl for tomorrow – you’ve got goals, and it’s time to nourish your body accordingly!
Overestimating Your Calorie Burn
Fitness trackers, heart-rate monitors, and those websites that say ½-hr of this exercise burns 300 calories often lull us into a false sense of complacency and often lead to overeating because “I earned it”. Unfortunately, trackers aren’t always accurate, and websites can only estimate. Each person’s calorie burn is unique to their physiology and effort level, so you may burn more (or less) than you think. It’s also very easy to eat away any benefits you may have gotten from your workout – 300 calories goes quick! It’s more likely that the average person burns closer to 200 calories in their workouts, which translates into 15 gummy bears. You’re better off having underestimating the amount you burn and then eating those calories from the produce department (like a whole plate of carrots, or mini peppers).
Not Enough Sleep
I know so many people who take pride in not sleeping much, as if it were a badge of honor. In reality, getting good sleep is so critical to our health and well-being that sleep deprivation is actually a form a torture! There are entire hormone cascades that happen when you sleep , which regulate your appetite, how easily you feel full, and how fast your metabolism runs. While you are “offline” your body is doing its own house-keeping, detoxification, cellular repair, yes weight loss. Even fitness models and bodybuilders know that if you want to get lean, shredded, and see great results for your efforts in the gym you need lots of quality sleep.
In a perfect world, we would all poop at least once every day (if not twice), but so many of us skip days all too often. Not only is that retained food reflected on the scale, but constipation also causes water retention and toxicity as we reabsorb that waste and have to process it again. Very often a good poop will get the ball rolling. Constipation is also a sign of low thyroid which can making losing weight next to impossible – if you haven’t had your thyroid checked, now is the time. Constipation can also be a sign that you’ve got some food intolerances, which leads us to…
Too Many Food Allergens
Most people know if they have a true food allergy (as in to peanuts or shellfish), but many of us have a lower-grade, delayed-onset food sensitivity. These can be difficult to pinpoint, which is why many patients opt for the IgG blood test, or an elimination diet. Cutting an offending food out of your diet allows for much reduced inflammation, which translates into fewer GI symptoms like heartburn or gas, less swelling in the hands/feet, fewer headaches, even lower blood pressure! The most common foods people are sensitive to are dairy, eggs, and wheat (with peanuts, soy, citrus, and corn in second place). If you think you may have food sensitivities, we can help you pinpoint the offending foods!