Stop us if any of this sounds familiar: you’ve read all the weight loss tips in magazines. You’ve made changes to your diet, and bumped up your exercise regimen. You feel like you’re living a pretty healthy lifestyle. But you still find yourself wondering, “Why can’t I lose weight?”
As it turns out, there are a handful of sneaky weight loss mistakes that are incredibly common — they’re habits that might seem healthy, but may derail your weight loss journey. If you’re having problems losing weight, you might be accidentally sabotaging your goals. Check out these common weight loss mistakes and use our quick tips to help get back on track.
1. Skipping breakfast
Even if you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, skipping breakfast could be one of the reasons you’re having problems losing weight. While it might seem like you’re simply eliminating the calories you’d consume during your morning meal, studies suggest1 that eating earlier in the day can potentially help you make healthier choices throughout the day.
Fuel up with a protein-rich breakfast that includes fiber and carbohydrates (like whole grains or a small fruit). These good-for-you foods will help you feel satisfied and less likely to overeat during lunch and dinner.
2. You’re only focusing on exercise
Should exercise be part of your weight loss journey? While strenuous daily workouts aren’t necessary to lose weight, adding physical activity to your day may help you to shed pounds, avoid plateaus and stay healthy and strong for the long run. But if “sweat equity” is the only focus of your weight loss strategy, you may be setting yourself up for frustration.
Why? Weight loss experts have found that slim-down success is approximately 80 percent diet and a mere 20 percent exercise – also known as the “80/20 rule.”2 One part of healthy, gradual weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn. And ultimately, it comes down to physical efficiency: it’s much easier to thoughtfully portion your meals than to try working them off by running 10 miles.
Not sure where to start? Check out our beginner’s guide for helpful tips on adding activity into your routine.
3. “Saving” calories
If you’re considering swapping out a balanced meal for an empty calorie treat — perhaps thinking they have similar calorie counts — you’re only cheating yourself. Balanced meals will help nourish your body, keep you feeling satisfied and fuel you for the day ahead. Your body will convert a nutritious meal of lean proteins, non-starchy veggies and whole grains to energy you can use (and feel!), while a bowl of ice cream will likely have you feeling sluggish and hungry again only a couple hours after consuming it.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, there are usually healthier ways to indulge. Check out these sweet treat alternatives that will leave you feeling satisfied and keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
4. “Free” falling
If your pantry is full of foods labeled “gluten-free,” “fat-free,” or “sugar-free,” you may be in a “free-fall”: the misconception that you’re making healthy choices, when you’re really being persuaded by clever buzzwords. Is gluten-free really low-carb? Are sugar-free cookies really that healthy. However, there are many foods that naturally fall into these “free” categories, such as non-starchy fruits and vegetables. For example, zoodles (zucchini noodles) are free of gluten, fat and sugar. Top them with a homemade marinara sauce, and you’ve got a nutritious weeknight dinner.
5. Denying yourself
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the most pervasive weight loss mistakes is completely cutting out the foods you love. In moderation, many foods can fit into your weight loss journey without hurting your progress.
Instead of swearing off entire food categories like dairy or pasta, look for healthier ways to enjoy your meals. So, in place of eating cookies straight from the pack, try a delicious, calorie-smart treat like Jenny Craig’s Chocolate Lava Cake. If you’re looking for more healthy ideas, along with easy ways to dress up your Jenny Craig entrées, make sure to check out the recipe section on our blog.
Don’t worry if you’ve made any of these common weight loss mistakes; you can easily get back on the right track. If you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, Jenny Craig offers delicious, balanced meals and the personalized support you need. Book your free appointment to get started today.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find Stephanie photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: Green apple slices with sunflower butter.
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This article is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
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