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Top 10 diet mistakes that prevent women from losing weight

Geo Grigoryan is a professional women's fitness coach and the author of Slim Girl Secrets - A Woman's Guide To Getting A Shapely Sexy Body. You can contact him at SlimGirlSecrets.com.

Don't make diet mistakes

Do you feel like you are in an endless struggle to drop your dress size or squeeze into that sexy date night dress? Are you perplexed that your consistent diet and exercise efforts have yielded less than optimal results? You may think you are doing all the right things but it's possible that the diet and fitness protocol you are following is actually preventing you from reaching your goal weight and getting the body you want. Read on for the 10 most common diet mistakes that prevent women from losing weight.

Angry Woman with Scale

1. Dieting Without Resistance Training

What is the most common way women approach weight loss? Crash dieting. If crash diets worked, all women would be healthy and fit.

There are two huge problems with crash dieting. One, a lot of the weight lost is muscle tissue. That means that even if you weigh less and fit into smaller sizes of clothing, you are still flabby.

The second problem is even worse. Dieting slows down your metabolism. The longer you diet and the less you eat, the slower your metabolism. Muscle is your body's metabolism - when you lose it, you reduce your metabolic capacity.

When you eventually get off the diet - and you will get off - you are bound to gain all the weight back in the form of fat. Worse, you will likely end up gaining more weight than you lost.

2. Focusing On The Scale

What do you see in the mirror and what does the world see at the beach? Do they see the way your body looks or the number that shows up on the scale? Most women focus on the number on the scale even though it isn't always representative of the way they really look.

If you exercise properly, you will build muscle and lose fat at the same time. If you lose five pounds of fat and build five pounds of muscle, the scale won't move, but you will look much better in the mirror and your clothes will fit much better because muscle is more dense and takes up less room than fat. The truth is, how you look and feel has little to do with how much you actually weigh.

3. Focusing On Cardio

When you do decide to do some form of exercise, is it invariably some form of cardio? Well, guess what? Cardio is the least important form of exercise for getting a sexy shapely body.

The key to getting and keeping a great body is to increase your metabolism. In other words, you need to focus on activities that not only burn calories during the workout, but also cause you to burn calories for hours and days after your workout. Doing metabolic resistance training and interval training are more effective than cardio-only exercise in boosting your metabolic rate.

4. Skipping Breakfast

You've heard it before. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But did anyone ever tell you why?

When you wake up in the morning, you have been fasting for eight or so hours. Your body is starving for nutrients. When you don't give it any, it starts breaking down muscle for energy. This is bad because your muscle is your metabolism. So you are literally destroying your body's ability to burn calories.

Studies have also shown that if you eat a balanced healthy breakfast, you are much less likely to overeat later in the day. And when you start your day with a healthy meal, you are more likely to make good nutrition choices from that point forward.

5. Relying on Pills

Diet pills are another common approach that women take to lose weight. There are many different categories of diet pills, but few to none of them actually work (read The Skinny on weight loss supplements). The only time you see women who have gotten in great shape thanks to a diet pill is on the advertisement for the diet pill. A natural, common sense approach is the most effective, safest, and longest-lasting strategy to losing weight.

6. Eating Too Little

Eating three square meals is just the bare minimum for a healthy and fit body. You should be eating three meals and at least two healthy snacks each day.

Most women eat too little. They skip or skimp on breakfast and then often do the same with lunch. This leaves you running on fumes all day. By the time dinner comes around, you are ravenous and likely to overeat.

You end up having your heaviest meal at the end of the day when there is little opportunity to burn off the calories. This is the perfect recipe for gaining fat.

7. Eating Out Too Much

If your busy schedule or desire for convenience has you eating out most of the time, you have little to no control over the foods you eat. And simply put, you have little to no control over what you look like and how you feel.

If you want to look and feel your best, you need to start cooking. This doesn't mean you spend hours cooking gourmet meals - it meals finding a delicious variety of recipes that you can put together in cinch. And before you eat out, learn about the common pitfalls of restaurant dining and how to avoid them.

8. Emotional Eating

Food can evoke both good and bad emotions and it is also a go-to when women feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad, or even elated. Women experience a variety of psychological attachments to different foods.

Sweets are often in this category. If you are like most women, all forms of sweets serve as comfort food. If you turn to food when you are stressed, you are letting your emotions control what your eat and how much you eat.

If you are going to get the body you deserve, you need to find a way to break this emotional attachment to food.

9. Lack of Consistency

Do you remember what happened last January? Wasn't this the year you were going to lose weight and get that sexy body?

Chances are, you were good for a short while. But then you started skipping workouts or breakfast, and by February, your New Year's resolutions were just a distant memory. Maybe you'll try again, but the same thing is likely to happen.

By now, you have learned that without consistency there will be no results. This means making resolutions and sticking to them.

10. Not Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep is an often overlooked factor. If you are doing everything right, but still can't lose the fat, take a look at your sleeping patterns.

Are you getting to bed at a reasonable hour? Do you sleep at least eight hours a night? Stress in and of itself compounded by too few hours of shut-eye result in an elevation of the stress hormone cortisol (check out Is stress making your belly fat?). Chronically high levels of cortisol can make losing fat very difficult and can even cause you to gain fat.

If you are dieting and exercising and still not seeing the body you want, make sure you aren't making one or more of these 10 common dieting mistakes. Commit to correcting one a week and you will get that sexy shape you deserve in no time.

And for more diet and weight loss tips, sign-up for Geo's free newsletter at www.SlimGirlSecrets.com. You will also receive a free e-book 46 Must-Have Toning Tips.

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