Do you need help losing weight? Weight loss isn’t easy. It’s a process of hard work, dedication, and discipline.
A lot of people tend to get frustrated, especially during the first few weeks of a new weight loss program. You may feel like you’re not seeing the results you’d like even when you’re putting in the effort.
If that describes your situation, it may be that you’re following wrong advice.
Unfortunately, not all the weight loss information available out there is accurate. Some of it is actually the reason why you may need help losing weight.
The good news? Our crew of weight loss experts is always on the lookout to make sure you have a clear road to a healthy weight.
We’ve weeded out the most bogus advice that keeps getting spread around by health gurus.
Here are the biggest weight loss mistakes leaving you needing help to lose weight.
Diet Mistakes #1. Eat Too Often and You May Need Help Losing Weight
When you need help losing weight, remember that when it comes down to it, weight loss is a matter of simple math. You have to burn more than you take in. If you eat too much or too often, you tip the calorie count against you.
Lots of people fail because they try following age-old advice. The thing is, just because information is old doesn’t mean it’s right.
For instance, many attempt to eat every few hours, thinking that this will prevent hunger and keep their metabolism up.
If this is true, why do they need help losing weight?
This leads to a major problem: you wind up consuming too many calories. The other issue is that you may never feel full, causing you to eat more and feel like you need help losing weight.
There’s been research into the hunger, blood sugar and metabolic levels of men who ate three meals and those who ate 14 small meals within 36 hours. (1)
The study found that those who only ate three meals had lower blood sugar levels and hunger. Their metabolic rate was higher.
Controlling blood sugar to improve weight loss is how products like ChromeMate work.
The conclusion is that it’s actually better to leave longer spaces of time between meals.
You don’t need to eat breakfast if you’re not hungry. (4)
The misconception behind this mistake is that if you skip breakfast, you eat too much at lunchtime. Studies into this phenomenon found that while you do eat more calories at lunch, you actually end up eating fewer calories overall during the day. (5)
What’s the key, then? Only eat when you’re hungry. It seems obvious, but it’s a perennial truth that can get lost amid so much noise.
Just be sure not to let yourself go too hungry. Extreme hunger leads to bad eating choices. It’s better to eat a small, healthy snack between meals, so you don’t need help losing weight.
Final Thoughts: If you eat too much during the day, you undermine your weight loss goals. Only eat when you really are hungry.
Diet Mistakes #2. Not Tracking Your Food Intake
You don’t need to be an obsessive-compulsive calorie counter. But you do need to do some tracking of your eating to be successful. (6)
If you don’t stay on top of what’s going into your body, you’re going to need help losing weight. You may consistently be eating more calories than you can afford without even knowing it!
And it’s not just about the calories. It’s about nutrients. Living a healthy lifestyle means nourishing your body well. By not tracking what you eat, you may be missing out on vital nutrients like fiber, protein, carbs and fat.
Of course, keeping records isn’t always fun. Thankfully, there are apps that make it super easy to keep track of your calories and even your exercise.
Final Thoughts: Unless you keep track of your food intake, you won’t be clear on how your diet is affecting your health and you will need help losing weight. Tracking your food builds accountability and helps you get all the nutrients you need.
Diet Mistakes #3. Excluding Whole Foods From Your Diet
Evidence suggests this is because processed foods have a negative impact on gut health and inflammation, leading to weight gain. (15)
Processed foods are easy to overeat, whereas whole foods are self-limiting. It’s harder to eat a lot of them, so they force you to eat less.
When you do your shopping, make an effort to select whole, single-ingredient foods over processed ones.
Final Thoughts: Whole foods are harder to overeat, which helps you eat less. Avoid eating highly processed foods as much as possible.
Diet Mistakes #4. Paying too Much Attention to the Scale
Obviously, we’re not saying not to look at the scale. If you want to lose weight, you need to know how much you weigh at a given moment and compare that to what you weighed previously.
But becoming obsessed with the number on the scale—and not focusing on other factors—can actually hurt your weight loss efforts.
Often, focusing too much on the scale makes you feel like you aren’t losing weight fast enough. Then, you feel overwhelmed.
If you don’t admit you need help losing weight, you’re more likely to gain weight.
That means that you can lose weight, but if you just drank a big glass of water, the scale will show you weigh more.
As-a-matter-of-fact, weight can fluctuate up to 4 lbs during the day.
Thus, you might be burning fat but simply retaining water. So you think you need help losing weight when you’re already losing.
Another important thing to take into consideration is muscle weight. Gaining muscle while burning fat is great. But keep in mind that to a scale, it’s all the same weight. So you might weigh the same even though your physique has improved.
Final Thoughts: A way to measure your weight loss progress that’s a little more telling than the scale is to put a tape measure around your waist. You can also take regular pictures of yourself to see how much you’re losing.
Diet Mistakes #5. Too Little or Too Much Exercise
There are numerous benefits to regular exercise. Besides helping you burn more calories, exercise strengthens your muscles and heart, gives you more energy, and helps you make better dietary decisions. (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34)
If you don’t exercise, your weight loss program may cause you to lose a lot of muscle mass along with the fat. Your metabolic rate may also go down. Exercise helps keep your metabolism up while simultaneously preserving your muscle mass. (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40)
Exercise builds lean mass. The more lean mass you have, the easier it is to maintain your weight.
Just remember that even the best things aren’t good in excess. Too much exercise has its drawbacks.
For one, excessive exercise is unsustainable for the majority of folks. It only leads to stress and can cause you to give up on your weight loss efforts.
You feel like you need help losing weight, but you’re no longer sure it’s worth it.
The last thing you want to do is burn your body out with too much exercise. Take it easy on yourself.
Be realistic. Do reasonable amounts of cardio and weight-lifting several times a week.
Final Thoughts: Not exercising leads to lost muscle mass and a drop in your metabolism. But too much exercise doesn’t produce good results. So workout, but in healthy doses.
Diet Mistakes #6. Thinking Exercise Burns More Calories Than it Does
Exercise is critical to weight loss and good health in general. There’s no denying that.
The only problem occurs when people think exercise does more than it actually does—and then use that to justify unwise eating decisions.
While exercise increases your metabolic rate slightly, it isn’t by a huge amount. Exercising won’t skyrocket your metabolism or make you impervious to unhealthy food.
Unfortunately, many cardio programs, like Shift Shop, leave dieters feeling like they are burning more calories than they really are.
Studies have actually been done on the perceptions people have about the fat-burning capacity of exercise. Both normal weight and overweight people tend to think that exercise burns more calories than it actually does. They’re often off by huge number, too. (45) (46) (47) (48)
The truth is that you probably burn between 200 and 300 calories per exercise session. This is far from the 800+ calories many believe they burn.
Again, we’re not saying not to exercise. There are many reasons why you should. Just remember that working out only burns a few hundred calories. Exercise doesn’t give you license to eat anything you want. A good diet is still key.
Final Thoughts: People mistakenly attribute miraculous calorie-burning powers to exercise. Don’t make the same mistake. Exercise regularly, but continue eating healthy as well.
Diet Mistakes #7. Not Hitting the Weights
If you want to experience long-term weight loss, lifting weights is a must.
Unfortunately, many people don’t do as much resistance exercise as they should. This is often due to the idea that cardio, like Country Heat or another Beachbody program, is for burning fat and weightlifting is exclusively for building muscle. Since many people (especially women) aren’t interested in getting ripped, they stick to cardio.
Final Thoughts: For best results, follow a regimen that combines aerobic exercise with resistance training.
Diet Mistakes #8. Lack of Protein In Your Diet
If you want to lose weight, you can’t skip the protein.
One of them is that eating protein helps curb your appetite, making you feel fuller. Naturally, when you feel full you eat less. (62)
Protein helps you increase your metabolic rate, which makes it easier to burn fat. It also protects your muscle mass when you’re losing weight. Without protein, you’re at risk of losing your muscle along with fat when you cut down on calories. (63) (64) (65) (66) (67)
According to one study, people who ate a 30% protein diet took in an average of 575 few calories than those who only ate 15% protein. (68)
All you have to do is make sure each of your meals includes a food high in protein. The great thing is that there are so many. Popular options include red meat, chicken, fish, nuts, beans, and legumes. (69)
Final Thoughts: Eating plenty of protein helps you lose weight by cutting down your appetite. You eat less, feel more full, and have a higher metabolic rate. And, you may not feel you need hep losing weight any more.
Diet Mistakes #9. Drinking Sugary Beverages
The amount of sugar is soda and soft drinks is incredible. And it’s just a bunch of empty calories.
What may not be so obvious is that fruit juice can be almost as bad. Even if it’s made from real fruit and has Vitamin C, fruit juice has so much sugar that it can cause weight problems. (75) (76) (77)
Also, these sugary drink calories are too easy to chug down mindlessly. The appetite centers in your brain don’t register liquid calories the same way they do solid food. So whereas you might eat a chicken breast and then not have anything else, you might drink two bottles of soda and still go on to eat a big meal.
That leads you to eat more calories overall. Your body converts the excess sugar into fat deposits. The result is weight gain.
Final Thoughts: It’s best to stay away from all sugary beverages. Even fruit juices are high in sugar (some have more than soda). These empty calories don’t satiate your appetite, which leads to higher calorie consumption.
Diet Mistakes #10. Eating Excessive Fat When Cutting Carbs
If you haven’t heard of them before, ketogenic diets are when you eat no or low carbs. The diet centers around eating fats and proteins.
The aim of ketogenic diets is to get your body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. This gets your liver to produce fatty acids and ketones instead of glucose. We’ve found products like Keto OS try to make this process happen faster. The ketone bodies have a positive impact for weight management and your brain.
These ketones are not to be mistaken for raspberry ketones.
Ketogenic diets work, in part, because they suppress your appetite. Some of these diets allow you to eat unlimited fat as long as you keep your calorie intake at the right levels.
But that’s exactly where some people make a critical mistake. They don’t stop eating.
The point of eating fat is to curb your appetite and eat fewer calories. If you overdo it with the fats, you cancel out those benefits.
The reason this sometimes happens is that they don’t feel a strong “stop eating” signal from their body. They don’t feel full or satisfied, so they mistakenly believe they need to need to continue eating.
It’s always important to be reasonable with your portions when you need help losing weight.
Have at least a general idea of how many calories you’re consuming. Look closely at product labels and use a notebook or app to track calories. Cut down on the fats if you don’t see any weight loss.
Final Thoughts: While eating plenty of fat is integral to success with ketogenic diets, you also don’t want to eat too much. Measure your portions and make sure you maintain a calorie deficit.
Diet Mistakes #11. Eating “Diet” and Low-Fat Foods
A lot of companies try to make money off of people’s desire to lose weight. Some of these try to sell you products labeled “diet” or “low-fat,” but in reality, these foods have the exact opposite of their claimed effect.
The makers of these products try to lull you in with the promise of health. But in the end, they leave you much worse off, and you then need help losing weight.
One huge issue with a number of these products is that while they’re low in fat, they’re full to the brim with sugar. Some Slimfast products fall into this category.
Take low-fat yogurt. A cup of low-fat yogurt can have nearly 12 tablespoons of sugar. (82)
What makes the situation worse is that these foods don’t fill you up. On the contrary, they make you feel hungrier. You wind up eating more.
Your weight loss aspirations go down the drain, and you need help losing weight, but you are burnt out from trying.
Say “no, thank you” to the “diet” and low-fat foods. Choose foods that have gone through as little processing as possible.
Final Thoughts: Fat-free and “diet” foods are often loaded with sugar. They make you hungrier and raise your calorie intake, undoing your weight loss progress.
Diet Mistakes #12. Not Eating Enough Fiber
Excluding the right amount of fiber from your diet can really ruin the work you’re putting into losing weight.
When you want to lose weight, your body needs viscous fiber. This nutrient forms a water-holding gel that helps reduce your appetite. It does this by moving through your digestive tract slowly, creating a feeling of fullness. (83) (84) (85) (86)
While all fibers are helpful for weight loss, studies show that viscous fiber is the best kind.
There’s another huge benefit of fiber. When you eat lots of fiber, your digestive system doesn’t absorb some of the calories from foods in mixed meals.
These calories are pretty much discounted. It’s like you get a free pass for them!
Researchers have found that by doubling the amount of fiber you eat, you can get your body to absorb up to 130 fewer calories.
Getting more fiber in your diet is easy. There are tons of delicious, versatile foods that serve as rich sources of fiber. Broccoli, beans, berries, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal. There are even plenty of great-tasting high-fiber cereals out there.
Final Thoughts: When you eat plenty of fiber, you curb your appetite, helping you consume fewer calories. Plus, fiber makes it possible to absorb fewer calories from the other foods you eat meaning you may no longer need help losing weight.
Diet Mistakes #13. Expectations When You Need Help Losing Weight
No one is saying you shouldn’t have high hopes. That’s what keeps you motivated and working hard. Without aspirations, you won’t be able to put in the effort necessary to experience lasting weight loss.
However, it’s also important to keep your expectations reasonable—grounded in reality. You can’t expect to shed 20 pounds in a week.
If you hold unrealistic expectations, you might be setting yourself up for failure. When time passes and you don’t see results as fast as you expected, you become discouraged and give up.
Researchers have looked into the relationship between expectations and final weight loss results. According to a study of several different weight loss centers, the women who expected to lose the most weight were the ones who tended to drop out. (87)
Always ground your goals and expectations in reality. It’s fine to have big goals—but they should also have a reasonable time table. Shoot to drop your weight 8-10% in a year (not a month). Doing it this way prevents discouragement and improves your odds of success.
Final Thoughts: If you have unrealistic goals, you might get frustrated. You give up, and then you’ll never see progress. Be reasonable by setting goals that make sense given your health, lifestyle, and circumstances.
Diet Mistakes #14. Too Many Calories or Too Few
Weight loss consists of burning more calories than you eat. Surprisingly, this is one of the things people forget when they need help losing weight.
The exact amount that you should eat depends on your unique bodily needs. For a long time, it was a common belief that you would lose 1 lb weekly by cutting down on 3,500 calories per week.
A study was done in which ten obese people said they had only eaten 1,000 calories a day. But according to lab testing, they were actually taking in twice that—over 2,000 calories a day!
Accurately assessing your calorie intake can be hard unless you make a concerted effort to be objective and accountable.
Portion size is key. Some foods are healthy but contain a lot of calories. Always watch exactly how much you’re eating.
But you also don’t want to go to the other extreme. Eating too few calories is bad, too.
According to research, diets that provide less than 1,000 calories per day lead to muscle loss and slow metabolism. This is something protein-based meal replacements like Almased aim to prevent.
Final Thoughts: Eating too many calories keeps you from losing weight. But eating too few deprives your body of much-needed nutrients, makes you suffer from hunger, and lowers your metabolism. Always strive to eat balanced portions.
Diet Mistakes #15. Ignoring the Product Labels
Often when you’re in the store, you just want to get in and get out as fast as possible. Stopping to read the nutritional labels is probably the last thing you have on your mind.
Maybe you even avoid reading the labels of your favorite foods, hoping they’re very healthy.
Whether you do it out of a lack of time or to remain in blissful ignorance, not reading the labels leads to higher calorie consumption.
You can especially fall into this trap when confronted with deceitful products. Many claim to be healthy, when in reality they’re far from it. This is especially the case with so-called “diet foods,” like those availalble from companies like Slimfast and Weight Watchers. Lots of them are actually bad for you. (90) (91)
Always look at the back of the container. Inspect calories, fat, nutrients. Choose foods that offer real nutritional value. Stay away from empty calories.
It’s best to check products before you buy them. If you buy food and it turns out to be unhealthy, you might end up eating it anyway because you don’t want to throw away something you paid good money for.
Final Thoughts: Food labels are a valuable resource. They reveal food ingredients, calorie count, and nutritional content. Read labels carefully before making a buying decision.
Conclusion on Diet Mistakes and Why You Need Help Losing Weight
Weight loss is an ongoing learning process. Sometimes you have to learn by trial and error. But other times, it’s best to learn from others’ diet mistakes when you need help losing weight.
The guiding principles of weight loss are healthy eating, regular exercise, and accountability. Avoid extremes and try to be balanced and reasonable in all you do.
Don’t be discouraged. Weight loss takes time. Having unrealistic expectations leads to frustration, and frustration can make you quit.
Avoid these mistakes on this list, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goals. And, you may not need help losing weight anymore.
Summer Banks, a content strategist at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 products in the past 10 years. She has years of nursing training, experience as a manager responsible for 15 supplement brands, and completed coursework on Food and Nutrition from Stanford University. full bio.