1. Stop setting unrealistic goals.
Dieters are often highly motivated and full of excitement at the beginning of their weight loss program. It is often during this phase that they set unrealistic goals. But unrealistic expectations can cause weight gain when lack of progress leads to lack of motivation.
Instead, take the time to sit down and set both short-term and long-term goals. By setting up small achievable steps on the way to your larger goal, you set yourself up for gradual success. Incremental steps will also help you stay motivated through the entire weight loss process.
2. Stop isolating yourself.
In a recent interview with Biggest Loser runner-up Hanna Curlee, she said that the most important thing she learned during her successful weight loss experience was to ask for help.
"I was accused to ask for help," she said. "I could have called someone and reached out for help, but I thought I did not have anyone." She realized later that she had friends and family who were willing and able to help her through her journey.
Instead of isolating yourself, learn how to get diet support from family and friends. Take the time to identify your needs for yourself and then approach others. That way, you'll be clear about defining specific ways in which they can help.
3. Stop believing that healthy foods will cause weight loss.
Several studies have shown that people are more likely to overeat foods that they perceive to be healthy. One study at the University of Michigan found that when food was labeled organic, dieters ate more of it. There may be health benefits to the food you are eating, but if you eat too much of it, it will cause weight gain.
Instead of reading product claims on packages, read nutritional facts labels. Start by assessing the serving size, then see how many calories and how much fat is in the product. You may find that your healthy snack is causing unhealthy gain gain.
4. Stop compensating for exercise by eating more.
It is normal for your appetite to increase when you begin to exercise. A common mistake is to indulge in extra snacks and treats as a reward for the workout. But eating those treats can cause weight gain.
Instead of overeating after your workout, plan to eat a healthy, low calorie snack right after you exercise. Combine a lean protein with a carbohydrate to satisfy your hunger and replace nutrients during the workout. A glass of skim chocolate milk works well and tastes decadent enough to feel like a treat.
5. Stop expecting major results from minimal change.
It's easy to believe the advertising claims made by numerous weight loss pills, supplements, and fad diets. Too many of them claim that major weight loss is easy. But weight loss is hard. Do not let the difficulty of the process deter your best efforts.