Avoid These Common Weight Loss Pitfalls

Have you ever embarked on a journey to better health, only to find that your progress isn’t what you thought it would be? Sometimes it’s easy to put our finger on the problem—it was that birthday cake you had for breakfast, or dinner out with friends three times a week for a month.

But sometimes it can be harder to pinpoint what went wrong—or we know what we did but we don’t know how to avoid it next time. Here are some common weight loss pits you don’t want to fall into, and how to avoid them.

Hidden Sugar

Nothing kills a healthy-eating buzz like finding out that the dressing you just poured on your fabulous fresh salad has sugar—or worse, high fructose corn syrup—as a top ingredient. Gross!

Avoid the pit: Read labels! And, whenever possible, make your own dressings and other secret sugar bombs. Here’s an easy dressing: pour some olive oil and the vinegar of your choice into a bottle with a cap. Add seasonings. Shake until blended. Change up the oils, vinegars, and seasonings to change the flavor.


Eating as an activity

Repeat after me: eating is not a hobby. Running is a hobby. Scrapbooking is a hobby. Spelunking is a hobby. Eating is what you do to fuel your body. Sure, you can enjoy it, but if you’re turning to eating for something to do when you’re bored, stuck in traffic, or looking for something to do with friends, you’re abusing it—or, maybe, letting it abuse you.

Avoid the pit: Before you put the next bite in your mouth, ask yourself if you’re fueling yourself or fooling yourself. If you’re just looking for something to do, and you find yourself reaching for a snack, try busying yourself some other way. What new hobby have you been thinking of trying?

Getting stranded

You had a delicious, fresh, healthy breakfast. You loved your nutritious, fulfilling lunch. But it’s 3:30 in the afternoon, you just had your smart snack…but you can feel hunger creeping in again. You look around the office and spy the box of donuts the boss brought in, trying to be nice. Your stomach growls.

Avoid the pit: Plan, plan, plan! Pack more food than you think you’ll need, especially if you pack your lunch right after eating your breakfast. If you’re satisfied now, you may think you won’t need as much food later.

If you find yourself stranded with no healthy food the next time hunger strikes, have some water, tea, or black coffee. If that doesn’t help, you have a choice to make: eat a less-than-ideal snack, knowing that you’ll get back on track with your next meal, or go hungry for a while. If you choose the latter, you may want to warn your co-workers that you might be a little…testy. Hunger does crazy things to a person.

Feeling left out

Another scenario—you’re out with friends, bowling or dancing or whatever it is you do with your friends—and they’re chowing down on a table full of greasy appetizers. You’re trying to stick to healthy foods and you’re feeling really good, but the smell is tempting you.

Avoid the pit: This pit is better avoided from the start. Instead of heading somewhere you know will be filled with temptation, suggest an alternate activity for your friends, like hiking or rollerskating.

If this isn’t an option—after all, adopting healthy habits shouldn’t mean ditching your friends—try to make the best of the situation. Order some alternative plates like steamed or roasted veggies, and drink plenty of water. Focus on why you want to make healthier choices, and be present in the fun and conversation with your friends.

Wine goggles

Alcohol doesn’t have to be completely off limits when you’re striving for better health. You probably don’t want to down pints of beer if you have weight loss in mind, but red wine is known for its antioxidants. Just keep these two things in mind:

  1. Your body burns alcohol calories first, so don’t expect your body to burn fat until after it’s metabolized that glass of wine.
  2. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so what might normally be an easy decision to forgo the bar snacks or hors d’oeuvres that frequently accompany a night out could turn into “oh, just this once.” Do that often enough, and you may notice a stall in your progress.

Avoid the pit: If wine goggles are a problem for you, enjoy your red at home with a healthy snack you make yourself.

“I deserve this.”

Dealing with angry clients, an obstinate toddler, looming deadlines, or nosy neighbors can leave us feeling like we need a treat. And if we’ve traditionally treated ourselves with food, it’s easy to fall back into old habits, even when we’ve made our health a priority.

Avoid the pit: Before you get stuck in an “I deserve this” situation, sit down and write a list of non-food rewards you don’t usually indulge in. The next time you handle that client, toddler, deadline, or neighbor with grace and poise, pick from your list and give yourself a treat that won’t trip up your path to better heath.


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  1. shilpi dutta

    Agreed…People do fall for these pitfalls least realizing what does that lead to..Great post this was…POsting this on my FB wal

    1. Kimberly Paine

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it enough to share!

  2. Deepa

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Kimberly Paine

      Thank you, Deepa; I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Soham

    The research you seem to have put in is commendable…This article sure can come handy for most of us longing for a good health…

    1. Kimberly Paine

      Thanks, Soham, I appreciate the kind words. Please consider sharing with friends if you think they might find the article useful!

  4. Richa

    Thanks Shilpi for posting this post at your FB wall!!!
    Many thanks to you guys for posting your comments.. it motivate us to post quality article..

  5. preethiprasan

    Very useful tips… :) especially for a person like me who snacks a lot…

    1. Kimberly Paine

      I like to snack, too. It’s not a bad thing…as long as we make healthy choices! :)

  6. Deepak Chatterjee

    Nice :)

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