When I was doing Ragnar one of my teammates asked me what the most common weight loss mistake people make is. I felt really put on the spot. I mean the most common weight loss mistake. I don’t think I can narrow it down to one but I was able to come up with a list of 5 common mistakes people tend to make.
1. Finishing everything on your plate
“Take what you want but eat what you take”. How many of you had this idea ingrained into your head growing up. Sure, it’s a good message to not waste food but at what cost?
To me, if I have food on my plate and I’m no longer hungry I either waste it by putting it in the garbage or I waste it by putting extra energy into my body that I don’t need. I don’t want to treat my body as a garbage and so I choose not to eat it.
When plating for yourself its a good practice to start with small portions. You can always get more if you are still hungry but this will prevent the need to overeat by finishing everything on your plate. When it comes to restaurants, portion sizes these days are out of control. Unless I’m at a fancy restaurant where portion sizes are minuscule, I don’t think I ever finish what’s on my plate. Either take leftovers home so you have food for another meal or let it go.
2. Liquid Calories
If I was going to possibly point to the one big weight loss mistake people make it would be liquid calories. Pop, juice, lattes, frappuccinos, etc all contribute calories yet they don’t contribute to the feeling of fullness and often go unnoticed in the diet.
When it comes to pop & juice I say skip them! Having them as a treat once in a while is fine but daily they contribute unnecessary calories to the diet. Instead choose water. You can make water more interesting by adding fruit/cucumber/mint to flavour it or choose sparkling water.
For your coffee beverages cut back or modify your order. A grande vanilla latte contains 250 calories. Modifying that order to a tall non-fat half sweet vanilla latte cuts the calories down to 125.
3. Loading up on sauces
I really try not to judge what other people eat but sometimes when I see people loading sauce/gravies/dressing onto their food I can’t help but shake my head.
Of course sauce tastes good but it’s also usually loaded with extra calories and not to mention sugar & salt. Again sauce tends to be an area we overlook when thinking about the calories that we take in a day.
To reduce amount of sauce, first learn to cook using herbs & spices. If food is flavourful enough on its own a sauce won’t be necessary. Second, try dipping your fork into the sauce and then onto your bite of food. That way you get taste of sauce with every bite but eat much less than if you pour it over top of your meal or dip it.
4. Skipping Meals
Skipping meals is the least effective weight loss strategy. This will only lead to overeating at the next meal and choosing the wrong foods.
When you’re super hungry after skipping a meal you search for quick & easy foods which more often than not are not the healthiest choices and you tend to eat quickly. This doesn’t allow our body to signal when it’s full and we end up overeating. In the end, you will often end up consuming more calories than if you hadn’t skipped the meal in the first place.
5. Depriving yourself
I think mindful eating is the biggest key to weight loss and long term weight loss success. Depriving yourself of foods and calling them “bad” only makes you want them more. Not much changes from when you’re a kid, when you’re told you can’t have something you want it even more.
For example, if you decide that you’re not allowed cookies all you will crave is cookies. Then when you give into that craving you have feelings of guilt and figure well I already blew it so you eat 5 cookies. In comparison if cookies are allowed anytime, you don’t want them that much. And if you do decide to have one, you have one and stop feeling satisfied and knowing you can have a cookie at any other time. Stopping the deprivation cycle takes away the power food has over us and ultimately helps in achieving our weight loss goals.