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13 Weight Loss Mistakes You Should Avoid

Updated on December 26, 2009

What have you done so far in order to shed those extra pounds? Maybe you have tried a series of faddish diets, loaded on diet pills, or engaged in all kinds of exercises. If you have been successful, then that’s good to hear. But if not, then perhaps it’s about time to reconsider your weight loss strategy.

For a weight loss program to be effective, you need to follow it to-a-tee. But if you have done that and still to no avail, then perhaps you are doing something along the way that acts as an obstacle preventing you to achieve success. There are some practices which most people think are helpful in losing weight, but are in fact, considered as weight loss mistakes. These mistakes are not only ineffective, but can even cause harm to your body.

Weight loss mistakes usually arise from misconceptions regarding how the body works, how it processes food, and how food and physical activity affect body functions. To be able to avoid these so-called weight loss mistakes, you need to be familiar with them and their impact.

This hub identifies 13 weight loss mistakes you need to avoid in order to succeed in your weight loss program.

1. Opting for crash diets

If you rely on crash diets for a quick weight loss, then forget it. Although you may find yourself losing weight after a few days of taking too little calories a day, beware of its consequences. You see, low calorie intake slows down the metabolic process. So once you get back to your regular diet, your body cannot metabolize it as quickly as needed because it is still in a slow metabolic state resulting in a more rapid weight gain than before you started on your crash diet.

2. Not eating breakfast

Choosing to skip breakfast in an attempt to shed those extra pounds? That’s actually another mistake committed by many dieters. Your body has been at rest for several hours while you sleep, thus slowing your metabolism. If you go through the day without breakfast, your metabolic rate will not pick up and will remain sluggish. So once you eat, you are likely to feel bloated even after a few hours because the passage of food from your stomach to your small intestines occurs slowly.

Moreover, not eating breakfast only gives a feeling of insatiable hunger lasting throughout the day, leading to untimely snacks or even a big lunch in order to quench your hungry feeling.

On the other hand, eating a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast can minimize feelings of hunger, helping you to eat less for the rest of the day. In fact, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain healthy body weights than those who don’t.

3. Choosing to starve

A very big dieting mistake, starvation can cause more harm than good. As you deprive your body of essential nutrients for long periods, your body tries to compensate by breaking down fat and muscle tissue to produce energy.

Fat breakdown may be good, but if it’s excessive, it can cause build-up of free radicals which are toxic by-products of fat metabolism. While muscle breakdown is very harmful as it can lead to loss of muscle mass.

4. Skipping snacks

Avoiding snacks in order to lose weight is another misconception you should do away with. Eating small frequent meals and snacks empowers your body to burn calories faster rather than having two or three large meals without snacks. Protein-rich snacks like nuts are great in giving you a feeling of fullness, thus preventing you from eating much during regular meals. High-fiber fruits and veggies are great snack items too.

5. Failing to keep a journal of daily intake

To help you monitor your diet, you need to keep a journal listing your total daily intake – from foods to drinks.

It is vital that a record of those in-betweens be kept as well. Mindless nibbling of a little of everything can easily accumulate which, if you’re not careful, can sabotage your overall weight loss program.

6. Taking too much calorie-rich drinks

Never overlook the calorie content of beverages you consume when counting calories. That’s another big weight loss mistake because some rich coffees and cocktails contain over 500 calories.

Fruit juices and sodas have calories too which can easily accumulate if you load up on these drinks. Remember that calories from liquids don’t reduce hunger. Therefore food consumption is usually not minimized by drinking a high-calorie beverage.

7. Drinking too little water

If you drink too little water, your metabolism tends to slow down, as water is essential to the body’s ability to burn calories. Studies indicate that adults taking 8 to 10 glasses of water every day burn more calories compared with those whose water intake is less.

This weight loss mistake is perhaps the easiest to correct, so load up on plain water instead of sugary or calorie-rich drinks.

8. Feasting on low-fat products

Loading up on low-fat products is another incorrect way of losing weight. Although a low-fat diet is vital to weight loss, it can easily lure you to thinking that it allows you to get extra helpings. You should remember that a large serving of low-fat ice cream must not be compared with a small cup of regular ice cream, as it can contain more calories.

You need to check the product label for the sugar, fat, and calorie content of a certain food or beverage.

9. Excluding dairy

If you avoid milk, cheese, and ice cream thinking that these products are fattening, consider this. Although these items are rich in calories and sugar, they are also good calcium sources. And some studies show that with adequate calcium, more fat is burned; while with low calcium, more fat is produced.

And calcium supplementation seemingly des not give this benefit, causing experts to believe that dairy must contain other substances that contribute to this effect. In order to maximize your weight loss program then, incorporate dairy into your diet, but go for non-fat or low-fat, high-calcium products which are generally recommended by many dietitians to dieters.

10. Falling for the drive-thru convenience

Are you one of those who go for the convenience of a drive-thru and eat fast food more than two times a week? A study found that those who had fast food more than twice a week gained 10 pounds more than those who had it less than once a week. It may be because of the lure provided by a drive-thru that urges people to go for extra treats like sundaes and pastries.

Better eat at home then. You don’t only get to save; you can even watch your meal and be creative with it to make it compliant with your weight loss diet.

11. Weighing every day

Another weight loss mistake which you can easily avoid is checking your weight daily. Weighing every day can be frustrating especially if you do not see any promising results, which is quite likely during the first couple of weeks. You may become disheartened with your weight loss program even before you have implemented it fully.

Also, apart from being confusing and discouraging, variations in daily weight cannot be completely relied upon. Better try to check your weight once a week, as the results would tend to be more accurate, consistent and satisfactory.

12. Establishing impossible goals

Never set unrealistic goals for yourself such as losing 20 pounds in your first week. Although this may be challenging, this can only lead to frustration because it’s quite impossible to attain. Such frustration can eventually lead to discouragement especially if you only lose 5 pounds or even less. Setting realistic goals with the help of a dietitian is essential to the success of your weight loss program.

13. Avoiding exercise

Do not be among those who believe that they can lose weight by merely curbing their appetite or modifying their diet without exercising. While there may be a grain of truth in it, this strategy will not yield the optimal results. Proper exercise can maximize the benefits of a weight loss diet, and it can even allow for flexibility in your dietary choices. And the best part of it is that it enables you to have a healthier weight loss.

Many people tend to sabotage their own weight loss programs because of these common weight loss mistakes. Therefore, to achieve the best results from your dietary program, try to remember and avoid these erroneous practices. After all, the success of any weight loss program is not dependent only on doing the right practices, but also in doing away with the common weight loss mistakes which usually arise from misconceptions.

Are you familiar with these weight loss mistakes?

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    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks a lot, Susan.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      You really explained it well, Melody. From now on, this hub is my weight-loss Bible. :P Hehe.

    • dawei888 profile image

      dawei888 8 years ago

      Hi Melody - Thanks for writing this. I found that making subtle changes to my eating habits and simple daily routines i've been able to manage my weight without crazy diets. Would like to learn more about the benefits of green tea though. Thanks! -dawei888 :-)

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi SweetiePie, walking is indeed a good exercise so keep it up. Thanks for dropping by.

      ThePioneer21, I have heard that most Thais are slim, so eating small meals frequently is their secret, thanks for sharing that. I sincerely appreciate your taking time to read and comment too, thanks a lot.

    • ThePioneer21 profile image

      ThePioneer21 8 years ago from Liverpool

      These are some good tips. I especially agree with point 4 and skipping snacks. People tend to find that if they eat little and often their metabolism works faster. Thai people eat little bits all day, and as a result many of them are very slim.

      Nice hub:-)

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      This is good sound advice. Mostly I am not over concerned about my weight, but I do make an effort to walk as much as I can.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you so much R Burow and DarleneMarie, for freading and for finding this hub informative and helpful.

    • DarleneMarie profile image

      DarleneMarie 8 years ago from USA

      Great information and advice for anyone wanting to avoid big mistakes for weight loss Melody!

    • R Burow profile image

      R Burow 8 years ago from Florida, United States


      I was familiar with some of the mistakes but certainly not all. Very good usable information. Thanks.

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks, Kiran8 and Peggy, for dropping by and for commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Melody,

      Excellent advice on all points. Now.....I had better get some breakfast! Ha!

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Good points :)