It seems so simple: Just burn more calories than you take in, and you'll lose weight. Well, as anyone who has battled with trying to shed pounds will tell you, it's a lot easier said than done. All of us are prone to making dieting and weight loss mistakes, but oftentimes the most costly slip-ups are the ones that we're not even aware of. Below are five subtle weight loss flubs that can sabotage your best laid plans.
1. Assuming That Low-Fat Equals Low-Calorie
Many people equate fat consumption with getting fat, but this is actually an inaccurate perception. Remember, weight gain is not so much an issue of fat intake as it is of excessive overall calorie intake. You can eat foods that are advertised as "low-fat" all day long, but if they're high in calories, you're still going to pack on the pounds. Yes, that 1-pound bag of gummy bears is "fat-free," but it's outrageously high in sugar, which means that it's high in calories as well. Be mindful to read the nutrition labels of low-fat foods to see how many calories are in each serving, and adjust your eating accordingly.
2. Eating Health Foods in Excessive Proportions
Many dieters have a blind spot when it comes to foods that are widely considered to be healthy, often eating those foods in excessive proportions. Bear in mind that any food--whether healthy or not--can cause you to gain weight when you eat too much of it. While it's always better to eat high-quality, nutrition-rich foods instead of sugar-laden snacks, quantity is the name of the game when it comes to weight loss. Excessive calorie intake--no matter what type of food it is--will ultimately lead to weight gain.
3. Not Drinking Enough Water
Sometimes hunger is actually a sign of dehydration. Not only will drinking water suppress feelings of hunger, but it can actually boost your metabolic rate as well. When you drink water, your body increases its resting energy expenditure, which means that it will burn calories at a higher rate, even when you're at rest. Drinking water will also flush toxins out of your body, improve the look of your skin, and boost your digestive function. Win-win-win.
4. Shopping for Groceries Without a List
According to a recent study published by the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, people who go to the grocery store without a list generally have a poorer-quality diet, and weigh more on average than people who shop for groceries from a list. This isn't all that surprising, because the tendency to give in to impulse buys is probably multiplied when you haven't established any boundaries for what you'll buy versus what you'll leave on the shelf. Not only should you never shop for groceries without a list, but also, whatever you do, don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry, as you will more than likely load up on high-calorie snacks instead of nutritious foods.
5. Getting Inadequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation produces a number of detrimental effects on the mind and body. For one, your resistance to junk food cravings will be weaker, because you'll be too tired to fight that mental battle. Also, your body will crave high-calorie quick-fix snacks just to have some kind of energy to make it through the day. Do your best to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night, so that your mind and body will be alert and strong enough to ward off any diet-derailing cravings.
Sometimes the enemies to your progress can be difficult to detect. Keep the above list in mind to help you recognize those subtle weight loss missteps, so that you can stay on track towards achieving your fitness goals!