5 Weight Loss Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

By Nell Kauls
January 4, 2013


When I talk to people about my weight loss story (I have lost 90 pounds eating the Weight & Wellness Way), I've noticed something interesting. When I challenge their beliefs about how to lose weight and the promises made by most weight loss programs (lose 30 pounds by summer!), I get an unexpected reaction—they seem relieved.

So why do they react this way? I think people are all just so sick and tired of the programs that fail them over and over (mine was Weight Watchers®, 13 times in 25 years) and being told that "it is really very simple, so why can't you lose the weight?" It's a relief to hear that you're not crazy and that it's more complex than just "calories in, calories out." And, the truth that it will take time gives them a chance to catch their breath.

But if you feel stuck and your weight loss efforts have stalled out, you may feel frustrated and a bit hopeless no matter how many times you tell yourself, "It will take time." But before you give up, check to see that you haven't fallen into these common weight loss pitfalls (all of which I've fallen into myself!).

1. Not eating enough protein.

I don't know how many times I need to remind myself to weigh my protein. Not for fear of eating too much, as I did in the past when I was on Weight Watchers, but because if I don't weigh it I won't get enough protein (four ounces at meals, two ounces for snacks). Protein revs up your metabolism for two to three hours after you eat it. So if you are not eating enough, you are actually slowing down your metabolism—and your weight loss.

2. Not eating enough fat to keep cravings away.

There is no better defense against intense cravings for processed foods and carbs than fat. When you eat fat, a wondrous hormone called CCK tells your brain that your body is satisfied. No need to keep eating and eating, as I did when followed low-fat diet plans. So to keep cravings from sabotaging your weight loss—add fat to each meal and snack.

3. Eating too much fruit.

You may be saying to yourself, "but we've been told to eat our fruits and veggies!" For people who struggle with weight, anything that contains high amounts of fructose (the sugar in fruit) will make it really hard to lose weight. Fruit is not totally off limits, just watch the amount per day and the types of fruit you consume. Berries contain less sugar than a large apple. I eat fruit only for my two snacks, and then I limit the portion to about half a cup.

4. Skimping on the non-starchy veggies, like broccoli and leafy greens.

Eating green, leafy vegetables and lots of them will give you the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals you need for weight loss. But they also do something really important for weight loss—they help you detox excess estrogen from your body. Excess estrogen will make it very difficult for you to lose weight.

5. Eating too many starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn.

When I start my day with a side of potatoes with my eggs, rather than a side of spinach, I feel myself having more cravings throughout the day. I have noticed that the more starchy vegetables I eat earlier in the day, the more I crave all things carbohydrate. When you are stuck on your weight loss journey, focus on eating non-starchy vegetables and limit starchy ones to once a day, preferably at lunch.

These tips are a powerful recipe for avoiding, or working your way out of, common weight loss pitfalls. However, they are no substitute for ongoing support from a nutritionist or a class. If you have been struggling to lose weight, I encourage you to look into one-on-one nutrition counseling or the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Program. I know I wouldn’t have been successful in losing 90 pounds, or any amount of weight long-term, if I hadn’t gotten support.

For more information on the topic of weight loss, listen to our podcast on ways to boost your metabolism!

About the author

Nell is a Nutritional Weight & Wellness client who lost 90 pounds and has kept it off for several years.

View all posts by Nell Kauls

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