Trying to lose weight… again? Recent research suggests that yo-yo dieting can be extremely harmful to your health, yet millions of men and women constantly lose and re-gain weight throughout their lives.
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So how do we consistently make the right choices and prevent the diet mistakes that previously caused those lost pounds to creep back on? We talked to weight loss expert, Liz Josefsberg, who has helped stars like Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Charles Barkley, Katie Couric and Suze Orman reach their goal weights.
Here, she shares the most common mistakes returning dieters make, so you can dodge them and keep the weight off for good.
1. Starting Off With A Hardcore Exercise Routine
“One of the biggest mistakes I see dieters do is going too hard and burning themselves out within a week,” says Josefsberg. Instead, start out slow. There’s no better exercise to begin with than walking. Even if you ran marathons years ago, you might need to build up endurance with walking before jogging if you’ve got extra weight on your frame.
2. Trying To Do Everything Perfectly, All At Once
Simply focus on three small tasks to tackle the first week to create healthy habits and build momentum, suggests Josefsberg. Begin with a few tasty, low-calorie breakfasts and track those the first week in a written journal, website, or app. Then, concentrate on drinking more water to prevent dehydration and keep your metabolism going. Simply replacing caloric beverages with water will translate into effortless weight loss. Next, begin a nighty routine of setting out your fitness clothes for the next day’s workout – you don’t even need to start exercising yet, says Josefsberg. Being successful at these three, small manageable habits will leave you feeling good about setting intentions and putting them into practice. You’ll lose weight the first week just by focusing on these things, she says, and from there you can slowly build on more good habits.
3. Swearing Off All Your Favourite Foods
Cutting out everything you like is the worst possible thing to do and will likely backfire, says Josefsberg. “I’d rather see someone modifying a behavior than giving up certain foods or drinks ‘forever,’” she says. Changing one habit, like eliminating snacking at night while watching TV, can help you lose weight. If you used to mindlessly eat 600 calories each night while zoning out in front of the tube, a week of avoiding that will add up to over a pound of weight loss. Change the focus from food to habits and behaviours that will positively impact you going forward.
4. Assuming What Worked Last Time Will Work Again
It’s nearly impossible to replicate a weight loss, says Josefsberg, especially if you’ve gotten older, and you’re body has changed — you probably can’t just shed pounds as quickly as it did in your early 20s. Every time you decide to make a diet or lifestyle change, it should be approached as a new experience. Only collect the things that will help you from previous weight loss experiences, like a few healthy breakfasts that keep you feeling full for hours, for example. If you know some things worked for you before, try them again, but understand the results might not be exactly the same, says Josefsberg.
5. Thinking Wearable Tech Will Do The Work For You
“Tech devices are great and they can be life changing, but they’re delivering a lot of data, and many people don’t know what to do with it,” says Josefsberg. Look at the details your device or apps give you and examine those numbers weekly to compare and contrast results. Take that information to learn about your body, habits, and use it to push you forward. Did you sleep better on the weeks you exercised more often? Did you lose more weight when you exercised five times a week versus four times? Or were you so hungry from working out that you over-ate? “It’s up to you to play with that data, make conclusions, and create a perfect plan,” she says. “People think they’re going to put on wearable tech and it’s going to help them lose weight, but they need to exercise and eat well to get weight loss results.”
6. Convincing Yourself That You’ll Always Be Motivated
“People expect that when motivation comes, it’s going to stay with them, but in actuality, it wanes and goes away naturally,” says Josefsberg, when really, you need to stoke the fire of motivation yourself. Keep the motivation flames burning with a good success story, motivational Pinterest workouts and quotes, new workout playlists, etc.
The goal with any “diet” is to make it a sustainable lifestyle that you can continue with your life. Dieting shouldn’t be a punishment; treat your body with love and respect, and take it one day at a time.
“The people I’ve seen be truly successful at weight loss are those who figure out who they are, the eating strategies that suit their lives, and the fitness tips that feel right to them,” says Josefberg.