13 common weight loss dieting mistakes you might be making

13 common weight loss dieting mistakes you might be making
  • PublishedAugust 20, 2020

“I eat healthy food and exercise every day but my weight can’t go. I think I was born to be fat” That is what most people who have failed on their diet goals say. The truth is, overweight, underweight, or anything that makes you go on diet is made but not born.

Many people take the first step with determination to finally lose weight. The pounds indeed start to whittle away. However, within a month or so, the pounds bounce back up. There’s a chance they could be sabotaging themselves without even knowing it or making dieting mistakes if I may say.

In this article, we are going to look at the common weight loss dieting mistakes and how to avoid them. By kicking these diet mistakes, you’ll finally see the pounds fall off and stay off. But before, let us briefly look at dieting.

What is dieting?

Dieting simply means taking food in a regulated and supervised manner to improve Physical condition (decrease, maintain, or increase body weight). We may also diet to prevent or treat diseases for example diabetes and obesity or to generally improve health.

Dieting for weight loss looks at the reduction of any of the macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) that contribute the largest portions of our food intake, and sources of energy

To lose weight, you simply create a calorie deficit. Except for initial water weight loss, diet plans produce weight loss proportional to the calorie deficit created. Calorie deficits of 500–1,000 calories per day produce rapid weight loss.

What are the examples of weight-loss diets?

1. Low-fat diet

Low-fat diets reduce the proportion of fat in one’s diet. This reduces calorie consumption.  A meta-analysis of 16 trials of 2–12 months’ duration found that low-fat diets resulted in an average weight loss of 3.2 kg over habitual eating.

2. Low-carbohydrate diet

Low-carbs diets are relatively high in protein and fats. Low-carbohydrate diets restrict carbs intake to bring about ketosis.

We have an article about the ketogenic diet (low-carb diet) for weight loss, get it here.

3. Low-calorie

Low-calorie diets aim at creating a deficit of 500–1,000 calories per day, to bring about 0.5 to 1 kg weight loss per week. A common example is the Weight Watchers diet.

The National Institutes of Health reviewed 34 randomized controlled trials to determine the effectiveness of low-calorie diets. They found out that these diets lowered total body mass by 8% in the short term, over 3–12 months.

Women looking to lose weight should have at least 1,000 calories per day and men should have 1,200 calories per day. These may change depending on age, weight, and body activity.

4. Very low-calorie diet

This provides 200–800 calories per day. Very low-calorie diets maintain protein intake but limit calories from both fat and carbohydrates. They subject the body to starvation and produce an average loss of 1.5–2.5 kg per week.

However, these are recommended for obese people as they are associated with adverse side effects such as loss of lean muscle mass, increased risks of gout, and electrolyte imbalances. Always talk to your doctor before adopting such a diet.

5. Meals timing

Scheduling strategies such as intermittent fasting, skipping meals, and strategically using snacks before or after meals are part of a broader lifestyle and dietary change. Research shows that they can weight loss.

Learn more weight loss diets from our review of the 6 popular weight-loss diets.

Is dieting a good strategy for weight loss? 

The short answer to this question is yes, one of the sure win ways to lose weight is by changing your diet. The only challenge is that there are many weight loss diets available and many people find it challenging to figure out the most suitable, sustainable, and effective.

Like we have discussed above, some diets aim at reducing appetite and consequently reducing food intake while others restrict your calorie intake, carbs, and fat.

Many pieces of research and studies have come out to support dieting for weight loss for example;

In one study, low-carb diets appeared to be quite effective at burning harmful belly fat that packs around organs.

Another review showed that intermittent fasting may reduce waist circumference by 4–7%, which is a marker for harmful belly fat

A study found that intermittent fasting can increase fat burning while preserving muscle mass, which can improve metabolism

An analysis of 33 studies including over 73,500 participants found that following a low-fat diet led to small but relevant changes in weight and waist circumference

In a nutshell, dieting can aid weight loss and the list of proven research is endless.

What are the common weight loss dieting mistakes? 

1. You forget to keep hydration

When we talk about weight loss, people only think about exercise and healthy food. We tend to think about what we eat and forget about drinking enough water. Lack of enough fluid in the stomach may be mistaken for hunger leading to overeating.

Water also fills your stomach and creates a feeling of fullness which reduces appetite and food intake.

Learn more about drinking water for weight loss from our article here.

2. Removing fats from your diet

Fat is perceived as undesirable which leads to weight gain. However, some fats are healthy and the body needs them to function properly. We, therefore, cannot avoid them in the diet.

Fats are energy supplies. 1 gram of fat contains about 9 calories. Fats also help the body absorb other nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.

3. Over-exercising

Over-exercising does not help but instead adds stress to your body making you too tired and weak. The body needs to rest and repair tissues from previous exercises.

Weight loss is a gradual process that requires consistency and patience. If you over-exercise and break down in a couple of weeks, you will not be able to achieve your weight loss goals

You can follow our simple workout plan here

You may also need the best workout plan for weight loss for women

4. Not reading product labels

Most shoppers pick food according to the packaging rather than product labels. This is a very big dieting mistake. We should look at product labels for the ingredients list and their quantity in the product.

Marketing slogans such as low-fat, gluten-free, organic, natural, and more does not guarantee that it is a truly healthy product.

5. Not having enough sleep

Sleep has a very big impact on your weight loss goals. You will never function fully with sleep deprivation. With sleep, two hormones come into play i.e. Leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is in charge of satiety and ghrelin is a hunger hormone.

With sleep deprivation, leptin levels drop, and ghrelin levels spike leading to hunger and consequently increased food intake. Also, sleep affects the amount of fat we burn at night (resting metabolism)

6. You eat to fast

With so many responsibilities, we barely find time to sit down for a meal. We either eat while working or eat our food so fast to use the least possible time. This not only annoys but also harms health.  

When you eat fast, the brain will never read signals from satiety cues. You may end up eating more calories than you should have.

7. Not snacking

The other common dieting mistake people do is to stop snacking. In actual sense, to lose weight fast, you have to keep the metabolism active throughout the day. Therefore, you need to eat (snack) more often.

Get a snack between breakfast and lunch and then between lunch and dinner. Keeping long gaps between meals can increase blood sugar levels making your feel hungrier. This can cause overeating thereby sabotaging dieting goals

8. Setting unrealistic goals

Weight loss is a journey that needs patience, hard work, and consistency. Telling yourself that you can lose 40 pounds in the first week is unrealistic and will set you up for failure. An achievable goal is very important for successful dieting. Always talk to your trainer or dietitian to help you come up with realistic and achievable goals.

9. You deprive your self

Depriving yourself does more harm than good when it comes to weight loss. Giving in to a craving can help to reduce binge eating and decreased subsequent cravings than fighting it off.

11. You do the same workout

Doing the same workout either at the gym or home is likely not to produce results. First of all, you will be bored soon and give up before achieving your goal. And secondly, you’re not challenging new muscles. Always shock your muscles by new and challenging workouts every two weeks. We have a series of exercises you can incorporate in your fitness plan, see them here.

12. Not weighing your self

If you don’t weigh yourself, it is difficult to measure your success and most times you lack the motivation. The scale always reminds you of your diet, and every time the results are bad, you know you have to change something.

13. Eating while watching

When you eat while the mind is distracted by things like music, watching a game on TV, or driving, the brain will not recognize signals from satiety cues. In the end, you consume more calories than what the body needs. So, concentrate

Bottom line

So many misconceptions and myths surround dieting and weight loss. however, regardless of the type of diet, calorie in vs calorie out is the hinge. However much you eat healthy foods, provided you eat more than you can burn, you will not lose weight. Always make sure you burn more calories than you consume.


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