When trying to lose weight it's easy to get wrapped up in anything that promises quick results. These things tend to not only overpromise, but cause you to lose sight of what's most important in any fitness or diet plan – getting healthier. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight:
Supplements and Pills – What is going to happen when you use a drug or pill to assist you in losing weight and you actually reach your goal? More than likely, you stop taking the pill and end up packing on the pounds you just lost. This "band aid" approach is a short term solution to a long term problem, but you won't necessarily get healthier. Who wants to take diet pills for the rest of their life? This is why it's a bad idea. For diets to succeed it needs to be sustainable and something you can manage over the long haul.
Fad diets – Fad diets are typically impossible for anyone to be on for their whole life. Sometimes, they work, but like diet pills once the fad fades off and people no longer participate typically all the weight is put back on.
Skipping meals – This is fairly simple; by skipping meals typically you end up hungrier later and eat more to make up for it. Also, skipping meals causes your metabolism to burn calories less effectively.
Over-exercising – For exercising to be the most effective, your body needs proper nutrition. You also need to give your body plenty of time between sessions to rest and your muscles to build.
Not exercising – So many people out there trying to lose weight do so exclusively by dieting. The only way to improve strength and feel better is to condition your body. Exercising also speeds up weight loss and helps build muscle tone - both will help you feel better about your body.
Not drinking enough water – Most of us do not drink enough water. The Institute of Medicine recommends women drink 2.7 liters (91 ounces) per day and men drink 3.7 liters (125 ounces) per day. For most people, that is asking them to drink A LOT of water, but it is beneficial. How does water help you lose weight? Other than the obvious health benefits of staying hydrated, if you are drinking water, it generally means you aren't drinking other high calories beverages such as soda, coffee, or alcohol.
Setting unrealistic goals - It's important to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Focus on the body you want for your lifetime not just for the summer. Take baby steps and ease in to any new lifestyle. Do not set yourself up for failure by setting the bar too high. Do step outside your comfort zone, but push yourself by setting reasonable short-term and long-term goals.
Depriving yourself – A big reason many diets and fitness programs fail is because people deprive themselves so much of the things they love. The key is portion control and moderation. You can still enjoy your favorite food, just don't gorge on it.
Being obsessed with on the number on the scale – This is one we are very passionate about. First of all, it's incredibly easy to put too much emphasis on this number. This number can trick you in to thinking you aren't working hard enough or trick you in to thinking you are. Also, depending on when you weigh yourself, things like water weight can throw this number off. Look beyond this number; focus on body composition (body fat % vs. lean mass), how you look in mirror, how your clothes fit, and more importantly how you feel.
Losing weight and being healthy is a lifestyle change and isn't something that can happen overnight or over a period of a few short months. Find the balance between diet and exercise that is realistic and doesn't make you feel stressed or like you're running on empty.