Losing weight is never easy, whether you’re just trying to fit into your new skinny jeans or you have a more significant number of pounds to drop. What can be even more frustrating is losing a few pounds and then hitting a plateau.
Not keeping a food diary
If you aren’t keeping a detailed log of everything you eat in a day, you could be hindering your weight-loss goals. All those little extras (half a slice of cake for someone’s birthday at the office, a caramel latte in the afternoon) can add up — and quickly. If you don’t account for the extra calories you take in, you’ll never realize why you aren’t losing weight. A few weeks of food journalling can make it much easier to recognize where you need to tweak your eating habits to finally lose weight for good.
Keep a small notebook with you (or use the notes function on your iPhone) at all times to write down everything you eat and drink in a day, from your oatmeal at breakfast, to that mini doughnut after lunch, to the glass of wine after work. Use that information to find out where you can improve your diet.
Allowing yourself to get bored
Getting to the gym on a good day, when you’re ready to work out and feel motivated, can be hard enough. Trying to get there when working out is the last thing you feel like doing can feel downright impossible. Don’t make it harder for yourself to stick to an exercise routine by allowing yourself to get bored. Switching things up not only keeps things interesting for you but also helps get you into shape faster, since your muscles have to work harder when faced with a new activity.
Try out some classes at your gym you have yet to test out, sign up for a boot camp in a nearby park or join a sports team as a way to add some excitement to your fitness routine.
Doing what worked for someone else
Just because a certain diet worked for your sister, best friend or a celebrity doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Before you run out to grab the latest must-try diet book or pay money for a weight-loss system your co-worker swears by, do your research to learn whether the plan is something you feel you can stick to and if that plan is even healthy. If you aren’t sure, ask your doctor or a nutritionist whether the diet you’re thinking of trying is advisable.
Rather than dive headlong into the latest diet craze, spend your money on a few sessions with a personal trainer and a visit to a dietician or nutritionist. These professionals can help devise workout and diet plan that works for your budget, lifestyle and personality.
Setting unrealistic goals
Bikini season might be around the corner, or maybe you really want to fit into a certain dress for a big event, but trying to lose too much weight too soon can easily backfire and actually hinder your weight-loss goals. You’ll either get frustrated with your lack of progress and quit (or lose motivation), or you might drop several pounds to start but be unable to keep the pace of weight loss you started with.
Ask your doctor or personal trainer for a realistic weight-loss goal per week, and stick to that. Usually anything more than one and a half to two pounds per week is too much.
Not learning from your mistakes
If this is the third time you’re trying to lose weight and you’re still unable to get the number on the scale where you want it, something must be wrong. Whether you seem to get bored with working out after two weeks, hate the morning workouts you’ve scheduled, have no time to make healthy meals or you’re prioritizing work or your social life over your weight-loss goals, it’s important to note what’s tripped you up in the past.
Before you begin your weight-loss journey, ask yourself what would make the process easiest for you. When do you most enjoy working out? How can you ensure you have healthy meals on hand despite a hectic schedule? What activities will keep you motivated to burn calories? Once you have a better idea of what will work, you’ll be much more apt to succeed.