8 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Lose Weight & What To Do Instead

First, let’s make one thing clear. We don’t really care much about weight. Our top priority is helping you feel your absolute best, but let’s be real, establishing a healthy body weight, keyword: healthy (whatever that is for you), IS a crucial component to high vibe health. Whether or not you’re currently trying to lose weight, we think you’ll find this useful: 8 of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight and more importantly, what to do instead. Because no one should sabotage themselves or their #highvibehealth goals.

Pic via Instagram

Pic via Instagram

8 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Lose Weight & What To Do Instead

1.Focusing on calories.

When it comes to weight loss, most people focus on calories. The mantra becomes: calories in, calories out. Nutrition becomes a numbers game. (Which is the polar opposite of how we believe you should approach it.)

People with this mindset believe that to lose weight, you must reduce calories by either eating less or burning more, in other words, restrict your calories and workout like crazy to burn them off. Can you feel us fuming? This mentality is dangerously flawed.

Calorie restriction (actually any kind of restriction), never works — it's unhealthy and unsustainable. (The body always fights back.)

Calorie restriction might result in short-term weight loss but will most likely result in long-term starvation and a plethora of other health problems like hormone imbalance, irregular heart beats, decreased muscle mass, nutrient deficiencies, impaired gut function, heart disease, anemia, and malnutrition.

First, not all calories are created equal. The logic “a calorie is a calorie” does not take into account how calories are metabolized by the body and completely disregards the nutritional makeup of food. Food is made up of more than just calories (it’s made up of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats — or, in some cases, it’s void of them). I think we can all agree, 100 calories of kale is going to have a much different biological effect on the body than 100 calories of sugar cubes. Not to mention, the calorie counts on nutrition labels are rarely ever accurate.

Instead of focusing on calories, focus on how you FEEL. (The goal: feel GOOD.)

2.Let’s be real… It’s not just what you eat.

Dieters often miss this essential truth: “It's about more than just the food.”

As you’ll repeatedly hear us say over and over and over, food is just one (delicious) piece of the puzzle. Other things besides diet like when and how we eat, our stress levels, whether or not we’re getting enough sleep (←HUGE), thoughts and self-talk, relationships, work-life, home environment, etc., play a major role on our ability or inability to maintain a healthy bodyweight. That’s why it’s so important to look at the bigger picture, recognize the connection, identify any other areas of our life that need nourishing, and take appropriate action to nourish them.

3. Getting stuck in the cycle of stress induced weight gain.

Stress disrupts adrenal patterns, raises cortisol levels and blocks our body’s natural ability to lose weight. (Another reason we preach spirited nutrition and mind, body, soul nourishment). So even if you’ve been diligently avoiding “junk” food and physically exhausting yourself at the gym 7 nights a week (which we don’t recommend because over-exercising actually causes more stress on your body), if you’re stressed out, the number on the scale will most likely climb. Which of course, causes more stress, and in turn, more weight gain. To break the cycle of stress induced weight gain, try to minimize stressors (including the self-imposed ones), work on how you react to stressful situations, and make sure you’re getting sufficient sleep each night so your body has time to restore itself.

4. Buying into fad diet hype, illusive health claims, and prepackaged “diet foods” instead of listening to your own body.

This kills us. A huge part of what we do involves ditching dietary dogmas, intuitive eating, and educating and empowering our clients so they can make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. “Dieting” doesn’t work. Deprivation doesn’t work. Restriction doesn’t work. Instead, fill up on unprocessed whole foods, focus on nourishment, listening to your body, and tuning in for answers. (Inner alchemy always works.)

5. Overly complicating it.

Despite popular opinion and the hundreds of thousands of articles on Google, nutrition need not be complicated. Yes, it certainly can be, but when it comes to wellness, start with simplicity.

Tweet it out: Nutrition need not be complicated. When it comes to wellness, start with simplicity.

Prioritize health over aesthetics. The goal: feel GOOD.
Eat whole foods as close to their natural state as possible which will most likely include lots of plants.
Reduce your intake of processed and packaged foods.
Be mindful of what you’re consuming and how it makes you feel.
Remember that food is more than just calories or fuel, it’s also meant to be enjoyed.
Honor your hunger and fullness cues by tuning in and listening to your body.
Take care of your gut. (Your “second brain” resides in your gastrointestinal system.)
Ditch everything that doesn’t serve you including toxic relationships, grudges, in some instances, dairy, and all forms of self-inflicted food stress. (Health should not become an unhealthy obsession.)
Drink lots of water.
Dial down the stress by eliminating outside stressors and working on how you react to stressful situations.
Forget about perfection. (Sugar loaded death by chocolate cake on your birthday will not kill you despite the name.)
Be honest with yourself. If you think something is negatively affecting you, it probably is.

While there is definitely no one-size-fits all plan, this (or a version of it), works beautifully for us and our clients.

6. Working out as punishment.

So many people think in terms of: “I ate __ today, I have to go to the gym tomorrow”, as if somehow you'll exercise enough to make up for not eating well the day before. This kind of thinking basically deems working out punishment — which it’s 1000 percent not supposed to be. On top of that, if you don’t like the type workout you’re doing, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to find the motivation to do it (especially when it’s snowing, or raining, or your roommate just ordered a large pizza).

To avoid the self-inflicted guilt cycle about skipping the gym, first, find a workout you actually ENJOY doing. Then, let go of the guilt. (Because guilt = stress and stress =  weight gain + other health problems.)

7. Obsessing over the scale.

You are far more than a number on a scale. Unfortunately, when we’re trying to lose weight, we tend to forget that.

Instead of attaching your self-worth to a number (because your self-worth has absolutely NOTHING to do with your size), or focusing just on physical aesthetics (though it’s totally fine to want your ass to look good in tight jeans), set nothing-to-do-with-number goals like pulling off an unassisted pull up, or running a mile. Yes, in the process you’ll lose weight but, the end goal isn’t attached to some erroneous number on the scale or a distorted image of yourself.

8. Being WAY too hard on yourself.

We’ve seen this so many times. Body-bashing, comparison, scrutinizing yourself, and all other forms of self-sabotage typically result in weight gain, not weight loss. If your intention stems from a place of fear, inadequacy, or the need to control, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. The only way to healthfully lose weight (and keep it off long-term), is to love and accept yourself as you are in the present.

Tweet it out: Stop being so hard on yourself. Absolutely everything is progress. Forget about perfection.

You weren't put on this earth only to be thin and you are certainly not here to sacrifice your joy or your life.

Voiding yourself of pleasure is not the point.

It’s OK to occasionally skip the gym to meet your mom for drinks.
It’s OK to miss a training session (or 4) when traveling.
It’s OK to eat what you want (without guilt) and feel good about it.

We’ll end with this essential truth: “Your body wants your love and affection more than anything else.” -Jordan Bach

To body love and kick-ass health,
Erika & Jess

PS. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Post up in the comment section below. And if you enjoyed this article, please spread the love. Share this link on social media or forward it to three friends.

PPS. If you liked this post you might also like this. (Weight loss is often a side effect.)

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