Diet Mistakes That Tip the Scales Against Success

Just when you think you’re doing everything right when it comes to eating and exercising, you still aren’t able to lose weight. With more research dedicated to nutrition now more than ever, the information we think is helpful can sometimes be confusing. You may have tricks and tips up your sleeve in preparation for your weight loss journey, but after awhile you find them not to be working.

Before you throw in the towel on unsuccessful weight loss endeavors, there are a few things you should be looking out for in order to turn the tables.

1. You eat fake foods

protein shake in a glass

Protein shakes don’t count as actual meals. |

You may be hitting your calorie amount, but you’re eating foods filled with processed and artificial ingredients. Although your frozen meal may taste great and promise to be only a certain number of calories, your body is begging for whole, real, and natural foods. Shakes and bars may seem like a convenient diet staple, but there are plenty of healthier and filling options.  Not only will you not lose weight, but you’ll sabotage your health in even bigger ways.

Low-fat food options are also a trap. They contain higher amounts of sugar and fillers than full-fat foods do.

2. You don’t get enough sleep

Asian man in a deep exhausted sleep

You need enough rest to keep your body in balance. | Photography

Not sleeping enough causes your metabolism to slow down and creates hormonal imbalances. It also may cause you to feel hungrier and snack on comfort foods. Sleeping a lot won’t cause you to gain weight more so than sleeping more will help you make better nutrition and lifestyle choices. Our nightly hormones, grehlin and leptin, are responsible for our hunger patterns. These hormones increase or decrease depending on the amount of sleep we get. Gherlin tells you to eat more while leptin tells you to eat less. Ghrelin increases with lack of sleep and leptin decreases.

3. You eat hidden calories

super food salad

Are you picking the right salad toppings? |

Say you eat salad daily. Sounds healthy, but it’s what we put on the salad that makes a difference. Opt for darker, leafy vegetables that are packed with nutrients. Don’t load up on creamy dressings either and instead opt for olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or fresh lemon juice. If you put raisins or cranberries on your salad, beware these both contain loads of sugar. Try adding cucumber, sunflower seeds, carrots or other vegetables to your salad. Skip the croutons and the bacon bits, too.

Hidden calories don’t only come in salads, but soups and sandwiches too. Always pay attention to each ingredient you’re consuming, which means reading nutrition labels and being aware of serving sizes.

4. You eat too much healthy food

Boiled eggs in bowl

Eggs are great, but you need to keep your portions reasonable. |

You can eat healthy food all day long, but what are your serving sizes? Healthy food contains calories too and eating too much of it will inevitably cause you to tip over the scales.

Eating more protein than your body needs causes excess protein to be stored as fat. A major misconception is that the more protein we eat the stronger our muscles will become. The average sedentary man needs about 56 grams of protein per day and women need about 46 grams, but if you work out you may need more.

5. You work out too much, then binge

man eating cheeseburger

Don’t stuff yourself after finishing a sweat session. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ever heard of the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen?” This is true. When it comes to dieting you should follow the 80/20 rule. Your focus 80% of the time should be on nutrition and 20% on exercise. If you are working out too often, but slacking on nutrition you will not see results.

6. You eat erratically

Source: iStock

Late-night binges can be a huge misstep. |

Consistency is key when it comes to achieving any sort of goal and especially when it comes to dieting. Creating a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle starts with consistent eating times and consistent whole food intake. If your meals are too erratically spaced, it’s easy to find yourself ravenous when you next eat. This can easily lead to overeating.