Top 5 Weight Loss Mistakes You Could Be Making
By PW Nutritionist Aleena Khusro
You’re restricting calories too much
The most commonly heard phrases when asking how to achieve weight loss are, 'eat less’ or ‘eat fewer calories’. When starting a weight loss journey, a common assumption is, the less food you eat the better. Whilst it is true that creating a calorie deficit and eating slightly less calories than your normal daily intake helps with weight loss, decreasing your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive.
Studies that looked into very low calorie diets, where the individuals consume less than 1000 calories per day, have shown that restricting calories and food may lead to muscle loss and significantly slow down metabolism! Calories are needed as fuel for our major organs such as the brain, heart and liver, and to keep us alive and functioning well. Your body will suffer without the proper nourishment and will hold onto fat harder than before to try and preserve energy as it is programmed into believing that it will not get any food for energy. Remember that calories are not your enemy!
Drastically restricting your calories for a prolonged period puts your body in a state of ‘survival mode’ where it will try to hold on to as many calories as it can instead of burning these at its usually rate. This will prevent any fat burning or weight loss and is extremely counterproductive!
Your protein intake isn’t high enough
Instead of restrictive eating, focus on choosing high quality, nutrient dense foods. By substituting high sugar, high fat options for high protein and high fibre snacks, you will naturally eat fewer calories without overdoing it or sacrificing nutrition. A delicious and easy way to increase protein intake is through Slender Smoothies. You can make delicious smoothies using The Slender Blend, fruit of you choice and milk of choice. Other easy ways to get more protein intake includes Slender Porridge for breakfast or having a Slender Bar as a mid-day snack!
Only focussing on the scales
It’s very common to feel like you aren’t losing enough weight or seeing changes in your body when only focussing on the numbers on the scales. Weight is influenced by several factors including body composition - muscle to body fat ratio - and body fluid fluctuations. As per the scales, weight can fluctuate anywhere between 1-2kg over the course of a day!
For women, changes in hormone levels can also affect factors such as water retention which may affect the weight on the scales. The best way to measure weight loss effectively is to take progress pictures every four weeks. This will help visualise your weight loss success and motivate you to make further progress!
Not tracking what you eat
If you find that you are not losing weight or you have hit a weight loss plateau for a while now, a good place to start could be to track your daily caloric and macronutrient intake! Tracking your daily intake can help you look into your eating habits more deeply and give you insights on what it is that is stopping you from achieving your weight loss goals. Are you over-eating? Are you under-eating? Are you not eating enough protein?
Tracking can also bring to light calories you might have ‘forgotten’ you consumed, for example, you might be shocked with how many calories that the extra bit of creamer in your coffee added on! A deeper insight into your dietary habits can help you pin point what aspects of your diet you need to change up to achieve your weight loss goals.
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular tracking apps available to download on your phone. The app tracks both your nutrition intake and exercise, and helps log your meals throughout the day. If you don’t want to use an app, The Slender Plan comes with a fitness tracking section at the back of the booklet, which you can use to track your meals and water intake.
Over-eating ‘healthy foods’
Avocados, hummus and nuts are all great foods to incorporate into your diet, as they pack in lots of good nutrition. However, these foods, amongst several other ‘health foods’, are quite high in calories and fat content. Just because an avocado is considered a ‘health food’ that doesn’t mean it takes away the calories in it or the fat content. Such foods will definitely keep you full for longer, prevent binging on unhealthy snacks and improve your overall health, however going over your caloric intake for the day will still set you back on those weight loss goals.
If you'd like help with weight loss advice, email our nutritionists firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to help!