Weight-loss is about developing a good relationship with food, knowing your body and what is right for it.
1. Expecting quick results
Lasting weight loss doesn't happen over night. If you'd like to maintain your weight loss and lose it the healthy way, the process takes time. Everyone
is different. Setting realistic goals and breaking habits will help you achieve what you set out.
2. Starving yourself
When you starve yourself your body goes into starvation mode. When you do eat your body is worried that it may be deprived again so it stores the food as fat. This can be counter-productive when trying to lose weight. It can also damage your metabolism making it harder to lose weight.
3. Weighing in
Weighing yourself can give you a false indication of your results. Your weight can fluctuate depending on the time of day, what you've eaten, the time of the month and how much water you've drunk. Measure your waist around your belly button and track results that way.
4. Relying solely on exercise
Weight-loss is 80% what you're eating and 20% exercise. You need a combination of both to achieve your goals the healthy way.
5. Only doing cardio
When you're doing strength training, you're building muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat does.
6. Neglecting protein
Protein slows down the release of glucose in the food, slowing energy production and keeping you fuller for longer. Ensure you're eating either beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, quality meat/ fish, quinoa, nuts, seeds and yoghurt with each meal.
7. Counting calories
One aspect of losing weight is to burn off more calories than you're taking in. Bare this in mind but try not to obsessively count calories. This can lead to stress, which is counter-productive. It may be better to stick to foods that do not spike your blood sugar level too much (low GL foods). When you have a spike in blood sugar your body releases a lot of insulin, you're not in the fat burning zone. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and fruit (except berries, apples and pears).
Crash diets are not conducive to sustained weight-loss. If you cannot stick to what you're doing forever, you won't see the results forever. As soon as you stop the diet you're likely to put the weight back on and more. Your body would've experienced a shock to the system so when you eat again your body will store more as fat.
9. Being good or bad depending on what you eat
We've all said things like, "I'm being good today" whilst avoiding the office cake and having a salad for lunch or "I was naughty on the weekend, I binged on pizza". This can create an unhealthy relationship with food. It's better to make how you eat a way of life, so you're not being bad or good, you're just being.
10. Cutting out fat
Yes it's true you need to avoid processed fats for weight-loss but you need to incorporate healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, oily fish, olive oil, avocado and olives into your diet. These fats keep you fuller for longer as they take longer to break down and they don't spike your insulin levels. When insulin is high, you're not in the fat burning phase. It's best to avoid sugar rather than low fat options.
11. Going cold turkey
When you're cutting things out of your diet you're depriving yourself, which isn't sustainable. Try to find healthy replacements.
Canapes -> crudites
Crisps -> nuts & seeds
Milk chocolate -> dark low sugar chocolate
Crackers -> oatcakes
Other healthier options
Pure nut butter with apple/ pear
Oatcakes with nut butter or hummus
Coconut yoghurt with berries
See if you can make festive pudding with less sugar. Here’s a great recipe for chocolate mousse.
12. Your system never has a break
Fasting can be a good way to give your digestive system a break to do it's much needed house- keeping. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Start off slowly by fasting for 12 hours and eating your meals in the other 12 hours and then move on to fasting for up to 16 hours. Remember not to binge in the feeding hours and drink plenty of water when fasting. Sleeping time counts towards your fasting hours.
13. You're stressing
When you're stressed your body releases cortisol, raising levels of glucose in the blood, to help you
run for your life. If blood sugar levels rise too fast, the body can release too much insulin causing the blood sugar to quickly return to a low level. When the levels increase and decrease frequently, it causes us to feel hungry and crave more sugar.
14. Sleep isn't a priority
The hormone, ghrelin, tells your brain when you need to eat, when it should stop burning calories and when it should store energy as fat. During sleep, levels of ghrelin decrease, because sleep requires far less energy than being awake does. People who don't sleep enough end up with excess ghrelin, so the body thinks it's hungry and it needs more calories. It stops burning those calories because it thinks there's a shortage. This is why we crave quick, energy releasing carbs, like bread, pasta and pastries when we’re tired.
15. You're short on fibre
Fibre in vegetables and wholegrains help you feel full, as the body doesn't break them down, they also bind to waste removing it from the body. This helps your metabolic systems work more efficiently.
16. You're not drinking enough water
Water also helps remove waste from the body, clear out the system and suppress appetite.
17. Telling yourself that everything is ok in moderation
Moderation is just a word made up by junk food companies. If you’re having things in moderation, you’re relying on willpower which is very dependent on how you are feeling in that instance. You’ll start having one biscuit, in moderation, and that leads to two, three, four biscuits. Because that’s what the foods have been manufactured to do. Most people are incapable of stopping once they start. It’s better to gradually break the habit and find replacements. Once in a while it's ok to eat something you know is unhealthy, if you feel like it’ll stress you out not eating it. But avoid telling yourself that everything's fine in moderation.
18. Using excuses
Obesity may run in your family and you may have a slow metabolism but this does not render you incapable of losing weight.
19. Making radical changes
Big changes can shock the body and create unhealthy stress. Ease the body into sustainable changes gradually. Unless you're undertaking an elimination diet under supervision, try not to cut out major food groups, like gluten, wheat, dairy, FODMAPs and meat.
20. Using food as rewards
Do you often say, "I just had a really good work-out so I can have a piece of cake" or "I've had a really stressful day so I'm going to eat a pizza". It's better to find alternative rewards that are not linked to food, list things that you enjoy and have them on the ready for you to indulge. Things like taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, talking to a friend, listening to music, working out, lighting candles, dancing, etc.
21. You're not eating Probiotic foods
These foods repopulate your good gut bacteria, responsible for how your food is digested, inflammation and appetite control. Eat more yoghurt (with live cultures), kimchi, sauerkraut and drink kombucha and kefir.
22. Not balancing your meal plate
Ensure all your meal plates are half non-starchy veg and the other half a combination of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. Try not to have too many grains as these can hinder weight loss. If you're having oats or low-sugar granola add in berries, an apple or a pear instead of veg and nuts and seeds for your protein/ fat contribution.