10 Common mistakes when trying to lose weight & How to avoid them

Heather Campbell
 min read

10 Common mistakes when trying to lose weight are exactly that – the most common mistakes which we might not even know we’re doing.

10 Common mistakes when trying to lose weight & How to avoid themLosing weight is not easy and can often take years! So it isn’t surprising to relapse. However, if you experience this, it is crucial to learn from it and get back on track as soon as possible.

As a general rule, everyone knows how to lose weight, but there are some stumbling blocks that we might not be aware of. Stress eating, being too hard on ourselves, overestimating our willpower, giving up too quickly, denying ourselves certain foods, and not planning enough are the usual culprits.

To get you started and prevent you from falling back into old habits, read on for 10 most dangerous pitfalls for folks trying to lose weight and how to deal with them.

10 Common mistakes when trying to lose weight

Compensating yourself with treats and snacks

Experiencing a lot of stress often has a destructive impact on your healthy eating habits. During stressful periods, you often see more cravings for treats or, on the contrary, people forgetting to eat.

But when you are under stress, it is actually important to live more consciously and reward yourself with other things.

Go to the sauna, enjoy a massage, take a relaxing walk, or go see a nice movie.

Being too hard on yourself

In practice, many people turn out to be too strict on themselves.

For example: Because you failed to lose significant weight last time, you pack yourself even harder when trying to lose weight again.

You then opt, for example, for tight or even extreme eating regimes, where you are not allowed to taste any more delicacies. Unfortunately, such a drastic strategy can only be sustained for a short period.

In short, don’t be too hard on yourself and focus on the long term. This means it’s best to have an aperitif or enjoy a delicious dessert.

The main point is to learn to tackle the unhealthy habits that have caused you to become overweight or stop losing weight.

Eating dessert once or drinking a glass of wine has little to do with this.

Overestimating your own willpower

One’s own willpower is often overestimated. The key to success is to remain realistic and factor in some setbacks and motivational dips.

Overestimating your discipline and willpower is not the most intelligent method of sustaining a slimming regimen for an extended period.

Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself how often your blind reliance on your willpower has already brought you permanent and lasting success…

In other words, make sure you save your willpower as much as possible and only use it when you really need to.

Design a plan that is achievable in terms of diet and exercise, both short and long-term.

Throwing in the towel as a result of a minor mistake

Some people think that they have really screwed it all up due to a small lapse and that their efforts to slim down all don’t matter anymore.

For example, you ate a little less healthy for 1 day due to being busy and stressed out. And then you just completely stop your healthy lifestyle.

You throw in the towel after making a mistake. Isn’t that too simplistic?

It is essential to learn to look at a situation in a realistic way. A small misstep doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter anymore.

Making mistakes is part of the process of losing weight and burning fat. As long as you pick up the healthy habits again as soon as possible, you can stay in the rhythm. That’s the most important thing!

Fooling yourself through denial and rationalization

During weight loss, it can happen that our behavior is not in line with what we actually want, and various psychological protection mechanisms can occur.

These cause you to gloss over and condone the unhealthy behavior.

By way of example, we explain 2 common mechanisms below:

  • Denial: In denial, you are fooling yourself. For example, you think you can handle stress just fine and easily stay away from chocolate and cookies when the recent past has shown that this is not the case.
  • Rationalization: Suppose you eat a greasy hamburger, including a large portion of fries. You don’t really want this, but you start justifying this eating behavior by coming up with different reasons. You have something to celebrate, you want to forget about your problems for a while, you’ve had a tremendously stressful day, earned a snack, etc.

It is important to be well aware of these psychological mechanisms that can sabotage your slimming efforts.

As soon as they occur, you can then contrast them with your effective and rational thoughts to maintain the healthier course.

Having unrealistic expectations

Another misconception of people who want to lose weight is the often highly unrealistic expectations.

For example, an unrealistic goal of 10 pounds of fat loss over 4 weeks. The exaggerated idea is that you can lose a lot of weight as long as you work hard enough and make the necessary sacrifices.

This is not true. Losing weight and changing behavior is often very difficult. Some habits are honed deep in our brains and so it takes time to change these habits.

Unconscious eating and giving in to small temptations

Do you ever eat while watching TV, reading the newspaper, or driving?

Then chances are you will eat more than when you focus entirely on what you are eating, without distractions. In fact, when you eat consciously, you register much better how full your stomach is.

In addition, relatively small temptations can cause you to lose little or no weight.

Think of all those goodies in the cookie jar, tasting while cooking, a slice of cheese from the refrigerator, or that yummy dessert smiling at you in the fridge.

These relatively minor temptations can add up to a few extra kilocalories and hinder weight loss. Be aware of this and try some rules that can help you do this:

  • Don’t do other things while eating and focus on your meal
  • Don’t keep food, snacks, or sweets in your car or on the desk
  • Do not eat directly from the refrigerator
  • Don’t eat anything while cooking and banish tasting

Tip: Write down your personal rules and hang them on the refrigerator and/or food cabinet, so you’ll find it every time you’re tempted.

Deleting food groups

Many people who start dieting exclude specific products and foods. For example, they then eat no sugar, or they cut out as many carbohydrates as possible.

But this does not work in practice.

Indeed, nutrition also has a social function. When you deny yourself from everything, it also becomes increasingly difficult to eat with other people (friends, family, your family).

This is a major reason why, in reality, eliminating food groups is not sustainable for long.

In addition, it is also unhealthy to cut out carbohydrates for long periods, and that’s just one example,

Our advice is to stick to the guidelines of a balanced diet as much as possible. Would you like an appropriate sample eating schedule? Then don’t hesitate to contact a nutritionist for tailored advice and guidance.

Judging yourself

Quite a few people with excess pounds condemn themselves when they make a mistake. This makes them feel guilty while they don’t have to because it backfires and impacts your motivation.

It is pretty normal to make mistakes; everyone does them, especially while trying to lose weight.

The trick is to learn from your mistakes and focus on what you can do better next time.

Also, don’t forget to look at what’s already going well and how you managed it. This often gives you more confidence, and some positive vibes are always welcome!

Do you find it difficult and want some extra help with this? Then contact a nutritionist or physician for customized guidance.

Not being prepared enough

As cliché as it sounds, good preparation is half the battle.

Many people who want to lose weight begin a slimming attempt without preparing themselves properly.

If you start off well prepared, you increase your chances of success. Of course, you will encounter temptations in the process, but if you make a sound, clear plan in advance, you will be much more resilient.

Self-knowledge is fundamental and even crucial in weight loss and slimming.

Indeed, self-knowledge is about being aware of your pitfalls, weaknesses, and unhealthy habits and knowing where your opportunities, positive character traits, and strengths lie.

Ask yourself how you have become overweight. What eating habits have contributed to this? Or are you not moving enough? And what skills will you work on to change these eating habits (which is hard)? And what individuals or services can help you do this?

Related postWhy is it harder to keep weight off as you get older? Tips to lessen weight gain as you age

Then go on to set goals to work on your eating and exercise habits.

Do you struggle with proper preparation? Contact a nutritionist. This expert can teach you and explain to you how to lose weight step by step in a healthy way.

10 Common mistakes when trying to lose weight: Conclusion

It’s usually the little things that make us fall by the roadside in our weight loss goals.

Stay determined and remember that consistency, and not perfection, is key.

Also, stop beating yourself up when you don’t stick to your plan. Don’t overthink and get back in the saddle!

Related postTop 8 biggest myths about weight loss and obesity

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More