© Shane Rounce

Ten mistakes we make when we want to lose weight

The only diet that really works is the one that is sustainable over time

Data demonstrate that eight out of ten diets fail, and research studies explain why: the only diet that really works is one the that it is sustainable over time. To achieve this, we need to change some of the wrong ideas that we have about what it really means to diet, and avoid falling into these mistakes.

  1. Think more about weight than about health. Generally, a well-designed diet should be sustainable forever and not just to lose weight over a period of time. Let’s change the chip: we shall eat well to gain health and not to lose weight, weight loss will come after that. This leaves room for exceptions, from time to time, and allows us not to live the diet as a punishment.
  2. Go hungry. A well-designed diet, since it has to be forever, cannot make us go hungry, quite the contrary. If you are hungry while on a diet, there is something that does not quite work, and the diet will end up becoming a totally unnecessary torture.
  3. Try to make drastic changes from one day to the next. Changes must be progressive, and we have to go internalizing them until they become habits that we can follow without thinking; Therefore, step by step.
  4. Strive. No, there shall be no effort involved, and this links with the second tip. As far as possible, one should try to eliminate the force of will from the equation: who wants to be continually striving to eat well? If you cannot avoid eating cookies at night, do not have them at home, and your need to strive will have dropped dramatically: instead of spending two hours each night fighting against temptation, make a unique effort the day you go to the supermarket and do not buy them.
  5. Weigh ourselves too often. Even if weight is a good indicator, it does not give us all the information. We can lose fat and gain muscle and end up weighing more, but we will look thinner. Or we can lose muscle instead of fat, and we end up weighing less but we will not be healthy. Weight is another element, so do not get obsessed over this issue.
  6. Try “miracle” diets. The diet of the artichoke, the color diet or the detox diet… The weight loss diet was invented many years ago, it is the one that an expert will have designed specifically for us. Each person has a different metabolism, hormones, habits, needs and preferences. Therefore, what has worked for my neighbor may not work for me. That’s for sure. A “miracle” diet ensures three things: lack of nutrients and, therefore, health, too rapid weight loss and the rebound effect with more kilos once we leave the diet.
  7. Look for too fast weight losses. The best diets are those that promote a slow and gradual weight loss, between 500 g and 1 kg per week at most. If we lose more, it is quite likely that when we stop the diet comes the fearsome “rebound effect”. In general, a weight loss of more than 1 kg per week is only suggested for people with morbid obesity or athletes under the strict control of a professional.
  8. Trust the calories account. Although calories must be taken into account for reaching weigh loss, calories are by no means the most important. Thinking in terms of calories can lead us, on one hand, to eat ultra-processed low-calorie products which may not be healthy -such as some “light” products- and, on the other hand, avoid eating very healthy but high-calorie products -such as oils, avocados or nuts.
  9. Do not eat enough nutrients. If we restrict the calories, we may drastically reduce the amount and quality of nutrients. It is easy to fall into imbalances that can bring health problems: lack of calcium, iron, vitamins, etc.
  10. Do not do physical activity. Physical activity is the perfect complement to diet, it helps us improve body composition and improve many health parameters. Doing cardiovascular exercise is important, but do not disregard strength exercises (weightlifting or working with your own body weight): research tell that they contribute to the general health of the body -for example, they can improve the bones’ absorption of calcium- and that help to lose fat faster.