9 Mistakes Women Make When Trying to Lose Weight!

Weight loss is an important goal for most women. It also tends to be a harder goal for women than men and there are many reasons for that. While men often focus more on getting fit, women have a tendency to more focused on losing fat as quick as possible and that causes them to make a few common mistakes that can hinder them from meeting their weight loss goals.

1. Fad Diets and Diet Foods

There is an overabundance of ‘diets’ advertised on TV and throughout the internet. Many of them claim that they can make you drop weight within only a few weeks and they probably can…it just won’t last long. Diet trends and programs focus are short term fixes for excess fat. They are often not sustainable in the long term. Programs that require you to purchase and eat only the foods they send you can make you lose weight but the instant the program stops and you go back to your usual routine, you gain the weight back. That is the program’s goal – they want you to gain the weight back so you will pay to return to their program and once again line their pockets. In general, any ‘diet’ that requires you to pay a fee in order to get access to it is a money-making gimmick. And, any diet that sounds too good to be true usually is. Shedding 10 pounds in a week is possible but it’s not healthy and it not a diet that you can stick to for long if improving your health is your main goal.

Instead of subscribing to food-based weight loss programs or using crash diets, change your lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods and setting up a workout routine will make you healthier. It also won’t cost you an arm and a leg or make you go into starvation mode. Losing weight and keeping it off doesn’t come from a manufactured diet, it comes from making permanent healthy changes in how you eat and how you live. However, there is one thing to be weary about when switching to a healthy diet: diet food. The grocery store is overflowing with foods that claim to be healthy by putting ‘fat-free’, ‘low-calorie’, and the like on their packaging. While they make actually be fat-free and low-calorie, they are also full of added sugar to make them more appealing. They are still processed food. Even low-calorie junk food is still junk food. Avoiding processed or packaged food and buying more fresh produce and lean meat will help you lose weight a lot better than diet foods.

 2. Attaching Emotions to Food.

The movie cliche of a woman eating a tub of ice cream or going on a chocolate binge in the aftermath of a break-up isn’t that far off from the truth. As women, we tend to turn to comfort foods to ease emotions. We stress-eat and crave chocolate because we know it’ll make use feel better, even if it’s only for a short time. Although men are sometimes guilty of this too, women tend to overeat to deal with emotions. A break-up? Let’s get the ice cream. Stressful day at work? Bring out the chocolate. Family issues? Better pick up a box of cookies.

Yes, eating these foods do make us feel better. They’re full of sugar, which gives us a small high and makes everything seem alright for the moment but in the long run, it just makes us feel worse because we gain weight and become unhappy with how we look. A big part of weight loss is changing the way you think and that plays a big part in this issue. We need to view food as simply being fuel for our bodies rather than as a source of comfort and find healthier ways to deal with emotional stress.

3. Cutting Out Too Much Fat

“Fat is bad” was once the ultimate weight loss mantra and despite a mountain of evidence against the idea, it’s stuck around. We still see an abundance of ‘fat-free’ food options at the grocery store and many dieting women try to get the least amount of dietary fat as possible. But, the idea that all fat is bad and needs to be cut out of a diet is counterproductive for weight loss.

Our bodies need dietary fat because it helps regulate metabolism .Even the demonized saturated fat is good for you in moderation and for weight loss, and we need an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. Like with everything else, dietary fat needs to be consumed with moderation. Too much or too little are equally bad and you have to find a happy medium.

4. Eliminating Carbs

Much like with fats, we’ve been trained to think that all carbs are bad, but that’s not the case. Cutting out carbs will make you lose weight quickly, but it’ll also make your weight loss plateau fairly quickly as well. It also makes it difficult to build or keep muscle. When you starve yourself of carbs throughout the day, you’re more likely to crave fatty high-calorie food because your body hasn’t been getting the nutrition it needs and is seeking satisfaction.

Instead of eliminating carbs, switch which types of carbs you consume. Not all carbs are the same and they don’t have the same effect on your body. Simple carbs are the kind that result in weight gain and fat accumulation. These are found in bakery goods, processed foods, and sugar. They metabolize quickly and get converted into fat. On the other hand, complex carbs are healthy. This type is found in grains, vegetables, and fruits. If you’re someone who loves bread, eat wheat bread instead of white bread. Instead of grabbing a cupcake when you want something sweet, grab a piece of fruit. Watching what type of carbs you’re eating rather than eliminating all carbs from your diet is the healthier option and the much more effective one.

5. Not Getting Enough Protein

Protein is one of the most effective nutrients when it comes to losing weight but women often don’t get enough of it in their diets. A side effect of a low-calorie diet is muscle loss and when you lose too much muscle, you can’t burn fat as effectively. Adding a high protein element to your diet prevents that muscle loss and lowers the chances of hitting a stubborn plateau right as you’re starting to see results.

The best protein sources are meat, fish, and eggs. Many foods that are high in protein are high in calories as well so they’re more satisfying. Eating a healthy portion of a high protein food can help keep you from feeling hungry and craving a binge. If you have difficulty fitting protein filled foods into your diet, you can also take use protein shakes and bar. Keeping a good track of your protein intake and making sure you’re getting enough is a vital part of losing weight at a healthy pace.

6. Putting Too Much Importance on Calorie Counts

Calories in, calories out is the basic rule of weight loss – burn more calories than you consume. So, watching calories is an essential part of losing weight. However, the quality of the calories is just as important as the amount. If you’re sticking to 1,500 a day but those calories came from sugar and junk food, you’re not going to burn fat as well as you would if those 1,500 calories came from complex carbs, proteins, and health fat. The sugar and junk food will cause big spikes in your blood sugar that will cause the release of insulin to get it out of the blood stream, and after an initial high you’ll get a low, and further cravings.  You also won’t be nearly as healthy.

The final number of calories consumed per day should consist of a variety of whole foods that will nourish your body. Make healthy choices in the food you in, not just in terms of how many calories each food has but also by checking what those foods can to or for your body as well.

7. Avoiding Weight Training

A common misconception is that if women do weight training, they end up looking like a bodybuilder and lose all feminine curvature. While there are women who have managed to become bodybuilders with huge bulging muscles, that is an extreme rarity for women. We don’t produce enough testosterone for achieve massive muscle growth without some kind of chemical help. For an average woman, weight training is not going to lead to such extremes. Quite the opposite from the misconception, weight training helps you gain curves. When you lose weight through a low-calorie diet, you also lose an amount of muscle. Without weight training to help you retain and building up the muscle, you can end up lacking noticeable curvature. And, with weight training, you get a decent amount of control over where those curves are. You basically get to build the body shape you want.

Building muscle also helps you shed fat. Muscles require a lot of calories so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just sitting around. Avoiding weight training will lead to slow and less effective weight, as well as trouble keeping the weight off.

8. Not Eating Full Meals

Food is not the enemy. Bad food is. Starving yourself throughout the day instead of eating meals with healthy whole foods is just as bad for you as going on a food binge. And, there is a link between starving yourself and going on a late night binge. When your body is lacking all the nutrients it needs, it effectively goes into a starvation mode. It will make you feel lethargic and irritable, so you start doing less and expend less calories. You’ll also start craving food and if you’re really hungry, you’re less likely to take time to prepare a healthy meal and will be more prone to grabbing a quick, processed snack that is absolutely horrible for you instead.

Eating three healthy meals a day is a more effective weight loss method than restricting your meals size down to kid portions. While it’s important to not overeat, it’s also important to not under-eat as well. Going to either extreme is equally unhealthy and a great way to not lose weight.

9. Focusing Too Much on The Scale.

You’ve been counting your calories, working out, and being ‘good’ about your new diet for a week. Now, you want to jump on the scale and hope to see that you’ve dropped a few pounds. After all that hard work, it should be a significant difference, right? It would make sense. Then you step on the scale and find out that you’ve barely lost a pound. This is the point where a lot of women throw in the towel, give up, and make the biggest mistake when it comes to weight loss.

Weight loss isn’t always a straight line. You can lose a few pounds, gain a pound back, then drop a couple more. It can be slow to start, may plateau at times, or may just fall off you for a week. No matter what the scale is saying, you can’t let yourself get discouraged. Instead of stressing over the number on the scale every day, focus on simply eating well and being active. Not losing a ton of weight at the beginning does not mean you’re failing or that you can’t lose weight. Put energy into changing your lifestyle for the better and the weight loss will follow.

Andy Mobbs

Andy is the CEO of Intelligent Labs, he's also a keen Crossfitter, a pretty good Salsa dancer and a physiology geek!