Health | Did You Know

9 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals - And How To Stop


The facts don't lie - nearly half of all Americans say they're on a diet of some kind.

What's behind the massive popularity of these weight loss crazes? America's love for potato chips and sugary soft drinks is one answer.

But the truth is losing weight is really, really hard, and people will take all the help they can get.

So consider this a wake-up call: even if you hit the gym and watch what you eat, you could be wrecking your chance to lose weight with these bad habits.

1. Losing sleep


What does sleep have to do with your diet? For one thing, your impulse control goes out the window when you're sleepy, so you're more likely to eat a whole bag of chips.

Also, a poor sleep schedule raises the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. That makes you gain fat, and keeps your body from absorbing nutrients.

A change of scenery and these helpful tips will let you get a good night's rest.

2. Exercising too much


Believe me, when it comes to workouts you can have too much of a good thing.

The harder you train, and the less time you give your body to recover, the more likely you are to injure yourself or get fed up with your routine.

If you stop exercising abruptly, you're less likely to get back into your schedule quickly. Soon, you work yourself into quitting and start packing on the pounds again.

Go easy on yourself, and make sure you stay out of the gym at least two days a week.

3. Starving yourself

sk - Flickr

When you're under pressure to lose weight, it can seem tempting to skip meals or eat next to nothing.

Not only is this dangerous and unhealthy, it also doesn't work.

Skip breakfast and you will probably have a bigger meal later on. Even if you don't, your body responds to small amounts of food by retaining weight.

If you really want to lose weight, you need a steady metabolism, that means you should eat at least three meals a day with two snacks in between.

4. Obsessively following your Fitbit


These weight loss gadgets are fun little weight loss tools, but that's all they are.

Some people get too caught up in tracking calories, miles, and time spent exercising, and let their actual diet and workout routine slip.

Despite all of the fancy marketing, these devices aren't magic weight loss machines. They're just high-tech pedometers.

Don't let your wristwatch set the tempo for your weight loss. Eat, exercise, and turn to your Fitbit for motivation.

Set goals based on your health and happiness, not numbers.

5. Not drinking water

Drinking Water

We know, you're so tired of hearing this advice, but it's really important!

Drinking water throughout the day helps you feel full between meals.

A steady supply of water also encourages your body to shed fat, and helps you absorb nutrients.

Give that refillable water bottle you bought one more try, or enjoy snacks that are full of water like cucumbers and melon.

6. Overindulging on healthy food


So you went to the grocery store and filled your fridge with healthy food. That doesn't matter if your bad eating habits haven't changed.

A huge salad with sliced chicken, dressing, and cheese still has calories. And eating too much fruit will still make you gain weight.

Practice smart meal planning and enjoy that good food in moderation:

Chart out your meals ahead of time, keep them balanced with the four food groups, and track what you eat in a journal.

7. Nibbling nonstop


We all know what it's like working in an office: the first day you start a new diet someone will bring in a big bag of M&Ms to share.

You take a handful from the break room, eat a bit of your child's lunch while you make it, and have a snack when you get home from work.

Before you know it, those little bites start to add up.

I'm a constant snack food grazer, so I know how tempting this can be. The trick is to make a list of "exception foods" that you're allowed to nibble on.

Don't even pick up anything that's not on your list.

8. Stocking up on your weakness foods

Potato chips

I was once a three-can a day soda addict, and those sugary drinks really pack on the pounds.

These days, I'll still have some pop when I'm eating out, but I don't keep any in my home. I just can't resist the stuff.

You need to go cold turkey with any junk food that's simply irresistible for you.

Only buy these seriously tempting foods for special occasions, and strike them from your grocery list the rest of the year.

9. Falling for fake health food

Diet soda
Yeah I'm Kenny - Flickr

One of the trickiest things about clean eating is how much "healthy" food is really bad for you.

Diet soda is just as bad as the real thing, snack bars are usually loaded with sugar, and all kinds of other foods are hiding their unhealthy qualities.

Start checking those nutritional labels very carefully.

If there's an item you just can't go without, try making your own healthy, homemade version.

For more health and fitness tips, check out these stories:

[H/T: Eat This, Not That, Forbes]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.