Don’t make it harder than it already is…avoid some of the most common weight loss mistakes!

1. Setting unrealistic goals.Consider your age, body type, hormones (thyroid, menopause), sex, stress level, and ability to exercise. Yes, it is great to set a goal or even multiple goals, but don’t make them to look like Cameron Diaz or Matthew McConaughey. People are unique and therefore will lose at different rates from different areas.

2. Once I finish the diet, I can go back to eating like I was.The goal is to apply a life style change that will enhance your quality of life for years to come. Food selection, snack habits, water consumption, and daily exercise are just a few components of this goal. That isn’t to say that special events or foods aren’t allowed, but moderation is essential or you’ll find yourself right back at square one. People are always amazed at how great they feel, how much more energy they have, and how much clearer their thinking becomes after just a couple weeks on the diet. They didn’t realize how bad they felt because they had simply let things creep up and thus became accustomed to it.

3. I can eat what I want as long as I exercise that day.This might take care of that day, but it isn’t going to get the 365 days before that off. Exercise needs to become part of your lifestyle, not a quick fix. Exercise helps reduce sugar levels, increase energy levels, reduce the risks for heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. If nothing else find the reason that works for you and take it to heart. Exercising just to get your weight down, will never be enough to keep it there. In order to lose 1 pound of fat, one has to run at 7.5 m/hr for 5 hours. Exercising does increase the metabolism for up to 18 hours after a 30 minute aerobic exercise and is necessary to keep the weight off. So find a way to prioritize into your day…for your own health benefits.

4. No time to exercise, so I’ll cut more calories.Again, the focus is on health and nutrition, not starving one’s self. The longer one goes without eating, the less metabolic activity, which is essential to burn fat. Skipping meals or dropping calories without physician supervision has the potential to deplete one of life sustaining electrolytes and land somebody in the hospital.

5. It doesn’t matter if I write things down.Anytime we have a patient having difficulties, we ask them to keep a daily diary for a couple of weeks. This always finds the problem, whether it be the wrong food, not enough food, water intake, or exercise. Writing things down allows us to keep track of all those little things, we don’t think count because they’re small or realize that we aren’t getting all of our water in (me too, unfortunately). We find out where we are struggling, and therefore, can make a plan to change.

6. Guilt, need I say more.One of the most common things that keep people from success, is themselves. People don’t want others to see them fail, yet want everyone’s attention when they succeed. You are not a bad person for having something extra or high in sugar or carbs, or enjoying a special occasion. We are all human and we try to make the best choices, but frankly some days are better than others. I would love to say that weight loss is totally physical and only involves keeping track of what goes in your mouth, but anyone under stress and/or time constraints can argue otherwise. Starting a diet in itself is stressful, and one has to be in the right state of mind and prepared to tell themselves “no.” Don’t forget, support and encouragement are essential no matter the source.

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