Dieting is one of the most popular ways of being able to lose weight, and this is something that you might be considering. However, it is important to be aware that there are plenty of mistakes that can be made during the dieting process that might lead to weight gain, and here are the worst:
1. Not mixing things up
One of the biggest issues when it comes to dieting is just fixating on one structure or technique, and doing it that same way all the time. Repetition is a problem because eventually you’re going to get stuc, variation can be found both in the timing of meals and fasts or food choices more broadly. Try to come up with a more sustainable routine that can help you long-term.
2. Not changing your oils
There are different types of oils that can be used for cooking, preparing, or coating food. Making appropriate changes to oils, such as switching to olive or avocado oil from vegetable, can really help you when it comes to losing weight. If you find you are eating healthier but have actually gained weight, it could be to do with the oils you use.
3. Not ditching toxic ingredients
A lot of people might not be aware of this, but there are quite a few ingredients that we include in our diets that are considered ‘toxic ingredients.’ This includes things like artificial trans fats, added sugars, and bisphenol A. Not making changes to ditch these is going to increase your chances of weight gain.
4. Not changing your carbs
Carbs are one of the most important elements of your dieting process and, yet, it is so easy to go wrong with them or make mistakes. Changing up your carbs so that you are eating fewer refined carbs and more natural, complex carbs is going to make a huge difference. To help with this, try to swap to wholewheat options for bread and pasta.
5. Having breakfast at the wrong time
According to some experts, one of the best ways of being able to lose weight effectively when dieting or fasting is to push your breakfast back by half an hour or so. This compresses all of your meals into one eating window and, when combined with other healthy habits, helps with weight loss far better than you might have thought.
6. Not ditching toxic food
The first problem with ultra-processed foods (such as chips, pasta, and baked goods) is that they often taste really good, which makes us want more. The other problem with toxic food is that it can make us insulin resistant, and this includes things like saturated and trans fats. These can actually lead to us feeling hungrier and having more unhealthy craving, thus increasing weight gain.
7. Ignoring current science
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of people make when they are new to fasting and dieting is that they ignore the current science. What we eat has always been studied and the science of it changes over time. Diving in when you’re uninformed can be quite dangerous, and is also a sure way to actually gain weight instead of losing it.
8. Ignoring the 16/8 rule
A newer bunch of studies has found that something called the ‘16/8 Rule’ can be applied. This is where you observe a normal diet, but you only eat within an 8-hour eating window, leaving the other 16 hours food-free. This makes you metabolically immune from glucose going up, insulin going up, high blood pressure, and more.
9. Not taking baby steps
A key mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to fasting and dieting is that they don’t ease themselves in. Jumping into big life changes right away without first easing your way in makes it very difficult to keep up with, and could wind up causing you to actually gain weight long-term, so it is important to ease your way in.
10. Getting caught up with societal expectations
Something else that you need to try to avoid that can cause you a lot of issues when it comes to weight gain is getting caught up with the expectations society has. If you are trying to diet and lose weight in the way society tells you, rather than a way that works for you, this is going to cause potential weight gain long-term.
11. Using crash diets
Crash diets might be effective when it comes to losing weight on a short-term basis, but they are not feasible long-term. The problem with crash diets is that once you stop them, you wind up putting weight back on much quicker than you would have done had you not used the diet in the first place.
12. Skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast is a big problem and a key mistake that a lot of people make when looking to lose weight. It can, in many cases, actually end up leading to weight gain, as it promotes overeating later in the day. A good breakfast ignites your metabolism for the day and, often, helps you to lose weight more effectively.
13. Not practising portion control
Portion control is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when it comes to trying to lose weight. Loading up on too many calories, even healthy ones, will cause you to gain weight. This is why it is so important to make sure you keep on top of your portion sizes and only eat until you’re satisfied.
14. Not eating enough
The number one problem that a lot of people experience when trying to lose weight is that they don’t actually eat enough food. People assume that reducing their food intake will do the job for them, and whilst this is important, you have to be careful. Following a diet that is too restrictive can result in slower metabolism and eventual weight gain, as well as other issues.
15. Not enough protein and fiber
Believe it or not, protein and fiber are the two most important components in your weight loss journey. If you have a diet that doesn’t include them, no matter healthy it is, this is going to slow down your metabolism and leave you unsatisfied. This is actually more likely to cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.
16. Lack of vegetables
Vegetables are great because they are rich in nutrients as well as being in low-calories, and this combination makes them a great addition to any diet. They are delicious and a key way of filling you up in a healthy fashion, so you need to try to make them a key part of your weight loss program.
17. Abusing your cheat day
Cheat days are a controversial part of weight loss, and one of the most divisive techniques. They can work for some people, but one of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is that they abuse their cheat day by overeating. Preparing your cheat meal in advance or incorporating balanced treats into your week are great ways of helping you combat this issue.
18. Checking your weight every day
A massive mistake among dieting newbies is this trend of checking your weight every day. This is not advisable and is one of the easiest ways of getting obsessed with your weight, which is not healthy. The body reacts at a slow pace, so checking your weight loss regularly is pointless, and might lead to you scrapping it altogether and putting weight on.
19. Undoing all your hard work
Fasting is typically fine (as long as it’s done properly), but fasting throughout the day just to then binge-eat at night is a big no-no. This is actually going to result in higher weight gain, because your hunger will cause you to choose fattier foods and your metabolism doesn’t work as effectively at night.
20. Postponing your diet schedule
Another big mistake people make is that they postpone their diet schedule, and promise they’ll get back to it another time. The issue with this is that the longer you postpone it, the harder it becomes to start up again, and the more likely you are to abandon it altogether.
21. Ignoring healthy snacks
Eating three heavy meals per day will make it tricky to lose weight, but eating lighter meals and ignoring healthy snacks can also cause you to gain weight by eventually provoking binging. Healthy snacks are a great way of keeping your hunger at bay in between healthy meals, and can help control your metabolism.
22. Having packaged cereals
Starting your day off with breakfast cereals might seem like a healthy choice but, in reality, it can be the opposite. If your cereal is highly processed and filled with sugar, it might not be as healthy as you imagined and could actually cause you to gain weight, instead of losing it.
23. Only choosing cardio exercises
We all know that cardio is one of the best ways of keeping fit and healthy, but you should not be limiting yourself. You need to make sure you are also combining your cardio with strength training, HIIT, and other kinds of workouts in order to get the most amount of progress.
24. Choosing ‘low-fat’ foods
Choosing foods that are classed as “low-fat” can actually cause you to gain weight. The reason for this is because these foods tend to be bland, causing manufacturers to fill them with sugars, salt, refined carbs, and transfats – all of which cause you to pile on the pounds.
25. Sweeteners in tea & coffee
Many people switch to sweeteners when they are going on a diet, and this is not actually as healthy as many people might assume. The problem is that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose can cause weight gain and metabolism issues by increasing cravings for sweet foods more broadly.
Stress is something that can cause a lot of health problems, with one of the biggest being that it can increase the level of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased cravings, water retention and weight gain. So, if you want to make sure you lose weight more effectively, you need to try to lower your stress levels.
27. Not getting enough sleep
Whilst this is not strictly related to diet, not getting enough sleep is something that can cause you to gain weight during your diet. Getting less than 7 hours sleep can destroy your long-term weight loss goals because it slows down your metabolism by not getting the rest you need.
28. Not drinking enough water
Not drinking enough water is one of the biggest ways of gaining weight when you are trying to go on a diet. If you want to help lose weight you need to be drinking enough water, and this typically means around 8 or more glasses per day.
29. Eating too much fortified food
Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake or “fortified” foods these days that we tend to replace real foods with. A lot of fortified food that claims to be rich in minerals and vitamins but, in reality, they contain lots of sugar and sodium, and tend to be highly processed.
30. Too much dairy
The thing with dairy is that it exists in more things that we think it does, whether it’s the cheese on our pizza, the milk in our coffee, or the ice cream in our freezer. Pasturized dairy can cause you to gain weight if you have too much of it, so this is something to cut down on if you’re looking to shed some pounds.
31. Fruit for dinner
Fruit is a great way of being healthy and nutritious but having fruit at dinner time can be a poor option. Fruits have high sugar content, and being able to load the body with lots of sugar before heading to bed is not the best idea when looking to get a good night’s sleep.
32. Using calorie-rich salad dressings
Salads are delicious and healthy, and using dressings to give them that extra edge is delightful. However, the store bought high-calorie salad dressings can have high sugar and sodium content, and this is something that can turn your salad into a much less healthy option than it was before.
33. Protein powder
Protein powders are a massive part of modern dieting and weight loss journeys, but you need to be careful with them. Protein powder that has a high sodium content is not good for weight loss as it means that they are pumped full of artificial sweeteners to mask the taste, which can lead to increased cravings and, in turn, weight gain.
34. Not keeping a record of what you eat
Having a meal plan is one of the best steps you can take to help you lose weight and this is something that keeps you more organized within your calorie deficit. Not keeping a record of what you eat is going to make it trickier to keep on top of your calories, and this can cause you to gain weight as a result.
35. Emotional eating
Emotional eating is something that can be a big mistake for a lot of people, and turning to food for comfort rather than hunger tends to lead to overeating. This, of course, is also going to lead to weight gain, so this is something you need to aim to cut out. Try to find new ways to regulate your emotions and make you feel better, instead.
36. Eating out frequently
Restaurant meals often contain more calories than homemade meals and this is why eating out too much can create a lot of issues. Try to focus on enjoying homemade foods using fresh ingredients, or at least choose restaurants that try to use fresher and more organic ingredients.
37. Relying solely on exercise
There is a saying in the fitness world that states losing weight is “30% gym, 70% kitchen” and there is a lot of truth to this. Just eating what you want and hoping that enough exercise will help you lose weight. You can’t out-exercise a poor diet – nutrition is the key.
38. Large late-night meals
There is a limit past which you should not be consuming meals and eating a lot late at night is something that can lead to weight gain, slow metabolism, and lead to a worse night’s sleep. This, in turn causes the cycle to repeat itself, developing repeatedly unhealthy diet habits.
39. Too much alcohol consumption
It is important to make sure you try to improve your food and drink consumption, and too much alcohol consumption is going to cause you to gain weight. Alcoholic drinks are high in empty calories, and you need to try to reduce the amount of alcohol you are consuming.
40. Not enjoying the process
Okay, so dieting is not always something that is going to be (or meant to be) fun, but it is important to try to enjoy the dieting process, have fun, and make it something to find joy in. Healthier habits become more sustainable if you can start to enjoy the process more effectively.