5 Weight Loss Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
By Nell Kauls
August 31, 2021
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." 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. As you can see, it always comes back to the food we eat. There’s no magic pill or quick shortcut when it comes to making real progress with weight loss. So, what might putting these tips into practice look like? Here are five recipes that are great inspiration for eating the Weight & Wellness Way:
- Sheet Pan Fajitas Recipe
Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays! This sheet pan recipe is a great way to get in that protein plus a variety of veggies. You can use steak or chicken and throw two sheet pans in the oven to make extras for a few meals.
- Olive Tapenade Recipe
A great way to eat more fat for snacks and meals: olives! This recipe takes three different types of olives, olive oil, and delicious herbs to create a side dish for pairing with a protein. Bonus points for dipping in some veggies too.
- Almond Whipped Cream Recipe
Since berries are a great fruit choice when it comes to snacks, this homemade, EASY whipped cream is the perfect healthy fat to go with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. It makes a scrumptious bedtime snack!
- Quinoa Chicken Salad Recipe
One way to get your non-starchy veggies in is to combine them into a dish WITH your protein and a delish fat. In this easy recipe, combine bell peppers, cucumbers, and a salad green like spinach with chicken, olive oil dressing, and quinoa for some extra protein.
- Garlic Veggie Noodles with Chicken Recipe
Reducing your starchy foods doesn’t mean you have to have blah meals. Having a pasta-like dinner is doable with some veggie noodles! This particular recipe uses an olive oil and garlic type of dressing, but don’t be shy and try it with a little pesto or tomato sauce and some homemade meatballs instead of the chicken for a little variety.
Getting support is a great way to avoid weight loss pitfalls and meal plan boredom. Because weight loss is more than counting calories and is all about making those real food habit changes for the long haul, Nutritional Weight & Wellness offers several different ways of getting that support. Some of these ways include:
- Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program – this program has recently been expanded for even more support! Foundations, our signature 12-week series on the basics, is a good place to start. Then to help you continue your lifelong habits of real food, join our new Ongoing Support & Education groups for Foundations alums that meet in 8-week chunks. Join us in-person in all six of our Twin Cities offices or with live virtual classes from the comfort of your own home. The Foundations series includes an appointment with a nutritionist or dietitian as well as access to a private Facebook group for ongoing community.
- One-on-one nutrition counseling – get coached by someone who can look at your unique body make-up, schedule, and food preferences.
- Virtual cooking demonstrations – learn tips and tricks from a chef that are easy and follow the Weight & Wellness way of eating. Can’t make it to class live? You get the recording for three days to watch as many times as you wish!
- Online classes – short, individual classes around a variety of topics to continue your real food education.
- Dishing Up Nutrition podcast – with new episodes each week and a new midweek mini-episode where we answer your questions, there is a huge library of free information directly from the nutritionists and dietitians to keep you inspired to stay on track each week. Join our private Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group moderated by nutritionists and nutrition educators!
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. Focus on eating more protein for your metabolism, adding in healthy fat for cravings, limiting fruit and starchy veggies, filling up on non-starchy veggies, trying new recipes, and getting the support you need to be successful.
For more information on the topic of weight loss, check out these resources:
- Read: Weight Loss Is Just The Beginning article
- Listen: Self Care Habits for Weight Loss podcast
- Learn: Five Steps to Boost Metabolism online class