By avoiding the seven common mistakes below you can make sustainable choices and achieve your health goals 1. Dieting to lose as much as you can as fast as you can

ALL diets for weight loss, whatever form they take work by reducing calorie intake. This is ok for gradual, controlled weight loss over time, but not when taken to greater levels and extremes as below. Along with some fat, there is also water and muscle loss along with vital vitamins and minerals. After a few weeks and months, our bodies react to being starved. Metabolism slows and less energy is used, this actually makes it easier to gain more weight. Our bodies start to store more fat from foods to use for energy the next time they don’t get enough.

2. Focusing on numbers on bathroom scales

STOP! Numbers on a scale only show your overall body weight changes (water, muscle and fat) If you’ve been exercising you’ll have gained muscle which is heavier than fat, so you will have lost fat but gained weight. When losing weight through exercise and controlled calorie reduction, focus on how you feel overall. Use a tape measure and your clothes to more accurately track real changes in body composition.

3. Cutting carbs from your diet Carbs are good for us

They provide most of the energy and many of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Cutting a whole food group from our diets only leads to our bodies thinking we are being starved of energy and nutrients and in the long term, weight gain as mentioned above. The carbs we do want to reduce however are the highly processed varieties with little nutrients, such as white pasta, white rice, white bread, cakes, biscuits etc Try changing some for wholegrain and wholemeal varieties which help us feel fuller for longer reducing calorie intake.

4. Choosing fat free foods

Despite the perceived dangers of fat, particularly when trying to lose weight. Fat is actually good for our bodies, that is until we take in more than we need. The problem is choosing the right kinds of fat and foods that contain them. Foods that have reduced levels of fat or zero % fat are more highly processed and often have higher levels of sugar to replace the loss of taste from the fat. It’s important to check and compare the nutrition labels, especially on these products to make sure calories from fat are not being replaced by more calories from added sugars. Full fat, natural yoghurt and non processed cheese are good for our bodies due to the natural, beneficial bacteria they contain which feed off the fat and milk.

5. Buying gluten free foods

Unless you are part of the 1% of the population with celiac disease, there are no weight loss or general health benefits to be found in gluten free foods. Actually, many gluten free foods are worse for general health and weight gain as they are often highly processed and contain higher levels of sugar and salt.

6. Using coconut oil or coconut butter

These foods and products have been heavily promoted as “healthy” or as containing good fats that are better for us. This, however, is complete fiction, as coconut oil and coconut butter actually contain more saturated fat than cows butter, so is actually less healthy for us and along with butter should be used in moderation.

7. Juicing your meals

Juicing is another popularly perceived aid to weight loss that has a large following, with associated claims as a way to lose weight by replacing meals. The facts are that juicing food, especially fruit, actually increases the levels of sugar and therefore calorie intake, as lots of fruits are processed leaving little or no fibre. Foods in liquid or pureed form are also digested more quickly, often leaving us feeling unsatisfied and hungry again soon after.

Further reading

For more information and advice on how to manage your weight in a safe and sustainable way, take a look at the links below on diet and healthy weight loss on Your Nutrition Site.

For more tailored advice, why not sign up for a personal dietary analysis and consultation at the link below.