5 Weight-Loss Mistakes to Avoid

Instead of crunching numbers, you can also think of it this way: you want to be lifting a weight that feels like a seven out of 10 on the effort scale.   

If you are new to resistance training, reach out to a local personal trainer or strength coach. She can help you learn proper form, determine the right weight to use and build a program best suited to your goals.

3. You're Eating More Than you Think.

Sometimes we put too much emphasis on the idea that working out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. In fact, recent studies from the University of Texas and Oklahoma University showed that 16 weeks of exercise alone produced a disappointing one-pound reduction in body fat.    

Focusing solely on running (with little attention paid to diet) can make weight loss surprisingly difficult. Exercise ramps up our appetite and it increases the desire to reward ourselves, so it's easy to overcompensate when we reach into the fridge.

To solve this problem, eat at least four small meals each day. By fueling the body often with nutritious foods, you'll prevent unhealthy snacking or overeating. Your goal throughout the day should be: never starving, never stuffed.

Also, try to slow down and enjoy your food. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for the brain to perceive satisfaction, so if you rush through your meals, you're likely to eat too much. Healthy food helps you run your best, so think of high-calorie treats as a once-a-week indulgence rather than a daily routine.

4. You're Drinking too Much Sugar.

Soda, juice and sugar-heavy sports drinks can spell weight-loss sabotage. Put these to your lips and you can ingest a full meal's worth of calories within minutes. Be honest with yourself. If you're exercising recreationally and doing so to help lose weight, then most of the time, you won't need those extra carbs.

Instead, choose plain water, and aim to drink about half a liter per hour of exercise. Save sports beverages for when you really need them: very hot days or during training runs that last longer than 90 minutes.

If you want something extra in your drink, try adding some sugar-free branched chain amino acids to your water. These amino acids help fuel exercise performance, recovery and weight loss without the extra calorie load.

If you crave starchy favorites, try to save these for after your run, and remember to keep the portions small (think: a golf ball or two). And choose healthier options, such as whole-grain bread and low-sugar desserts.

5. You're Eating too Many Processed Carbs.

Many runners have a love affair with carbs. While carbohydrates are necessary for filling up our glycogen stores, eating too many (and the wrong types) can lead to problems managing the hormone insulin. If your insulin is out of control, it's very difficult to lose fat.    

How can you tell if a carb-rich food should be enjoyed or avoided? A simple rule of thumb: the more processed a carbohydrate, the worse it is for weight loss. Processed carbs, such as sweets and white breads, pastas and rice, typically lead to insulin surges and body-composition problems. On the other hand, unprocessed whole grains like quinoa, wild rice and barley are part of a healthy diet.

These five missteps are incredibly common. If you want to lose weight, consider which mistakes you're making and develop a plan to help you avoid them. If you have several habits that need changing, don't rush things along.

Choose one thing to improve and work on that for the next three to four weeks. Only once you've mastered one change, should you introduce another. Treat weight loss as a marathon, not a sprint—slow and steady wins the race.

Active logoMaintain a balanced diet with a nutrition plan.


Dr. John Berardi and Krista Schaus are part of the Precision Nutrition team, a group of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle professionals helping people lose fat, build lean bodies and improve their performance. To gather more weight-loss tips, check out their free online, five-day video course for women at precisionnutrition.com/fat-loss-for-women.

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM