A systematic review of 898 weight loss studies found that an average of 30 percent of dieters drop out of structured programs. Even worse, only 15 percent are “successful” in maintaining their weight loss of at least 20 to 24 pounds for three years or more.
But now that’s over with, here’s the good news: we’ve uncovered the harmful habits lurking in many new diets that are sabotaging your weight loss success. By kicking these habits to the curb, you’ll finally see those pounds fall off—and stay off.
1. Never plan your life around your diet
There’s a difference between being committed to a weight loss plan and being obsessed with it. If you start planning your entire life around your diet—like avoiding birthday parties so you don’t feel tempted by cake or miss out on seeing your old friend who’s in town briefly because you don’t want to get a drink—it will make your diet hard to stick to in the long run. A sustainable diet is one that leaves some wiggle room and doesn’t hinder you from living a fun and a fulfilling life.
2. Never set unreasonable expectations
This should come as good news for those of you who feel guilty for not following strict dietary lifestyles: Going vegan to lose weight won’t work for everyone. Especially for those who always eat eggs for breakfast and like to eat a burger for lunch. If the diet plan you’re following isn’t compatible with your lifestyle, the odds are higher that you’ll fall off the bandwagon and regain the weight. Rather, put a vegan spin on your omnivore lifestyle—add onions, peppers, and spinach to your omelet and order your burger with a side salad instead of fries. To lose weight without overhauling your lifestyle.
3. Never ‘save your calories for later’
You know you’re going out to dinner with your friends later tonight, so you choose to sip on a fruity drink and chomp on a couple of carrots for lunch to save calories for later. It may seem responsible, but “it rarely works out as cleanly as we like,” nutritionist Lisa Hayim, MS, RD tells us. “By the time you get to dinner, and have a drink or two, the feelings of extreme hunger rush in, and you’re grabbing for whatever you can get your hands on, which is usually foods high in calories and fat. You’re so hungry, you may even end up consuming more than a day’s worth of calories in one sitting,” explains Hayim. Instead, she recommends eating on a normal schedule during the day and choosing to eat responsibility at night. And remember—one day of overindulgence isn’t going to do your body much harm. It’s only when it becomes a bad habit.
4. Never bore yourself with the same workouts
Routines are great when it comes to always heading to the gym before work, but if you get there and repeat the same elliptical workout, you’re likely not getting as much from your exercise as you could. That’s because you’re not challenging new muscles. To wake up your metabolic rate, shock your muscles by changing up your workouts every two weeks.
5. Never stop weighing in
What’s the harm in reminding yourself of your continued success? The scale keeps you mindful of your diet, and it will quickly tip you off to regained pounds. In fact, dieters who weigh themselves daily can lose twice as much weight as those who weigh themselves less frequently, according to University of Minnesota researchers.
6. Never eat dinner too late
And no, it’s not because it stalls your metabolism. When you eat a large meal too close to your bedtime, you may have trouble falling asleep, thanks to your body working to digest that meal. And when you don’t get a good night’s rest, studies show you’re more likely to have higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin the next day, which can cause you to overeat. Research published in the journal PNAS shows that when we’re sleep-deprived, our body craves more energy-dense foods, which results in consuming more calories than we need, which can lead to weight gain.
7. Never forget fats
Let this be the last time you choose the “low-fat” option! Don’t fear fats! In fact, when you don’t eat enough fat, you may suffer from feeling constant hunger, could develop adult acne, and may constantly feel like your brain is in a fog. Fats are necessary to feed the brain and help mitigate cravings. Incorporate more healthy fats like those from avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, and grass-fed butter.
8. Never go it alone
You’ve decided to change your life—good for you! Now spread the news! When you share your mission with your close friends and family, it will help you to build a support system and you’ll have people who can keep you accountable to your goals. It’s easy to mindlessly scoop another spoonful of ice cream into a bowl, but you might think twice if you have to justify this extra portion to your family as you eat dessert together at the dinner table. Want to take it a step further? Find yourself a diet buddy! Dieters who have a weight-loss partner lose significantly more belly fat compared to those who try to slim down alone,
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