You’ve been eating healthily, working out and getting in your 10,000 steps (nearly) every day, but the weight still isn’t coming down. What’s going on?
If you’ve been sticking to your plan but not getting the results you’d expect, it could be that you’re unknowingly making mistakes that are preventing you from losing weight.
Here are five common food mistakes that could be derailing your weight loss:
Time restricted eating, or 'intermittent fasting', has become increasingly popular and it can be supportive in helping you to lose weight. If restricting your eating window each day works for you, great, but it’s important to do it consistently. Just skipping breakfast here and there is more likely to end in trouble, as it can lead to overeating later in the day.
Some clients who come to see me have been skipping meals, only to find themselves with uncontrollable sugar cravings come 4pm. Or they have dinner, and then can’t stop raiding the cupboards after they’ve finished. Having healthy, balanced meals at regular intervals means you’re less likely to overeat later on.
A common mistake I see people making when they’re trying to lose weight is forgetting to consider drinks. Coffee shop hot drinks, fizzy drinks and cocktails can often be hiding huge amounts of sugar. Educate yourself. Check the website of your favourite coffee shop to see how much sugar is in your favourite flavoured latte. Look at the back of the can of your fizzy drink, even the healthier-looking ones can be deceiving. Opt for dry wines or Champagne over cocktails. Small changes like this can make a big difference.
If you’re trying to lose weight it can be easy to focus on what to eat less of, but if there’s one thing to increase, it’s your vegetable intake. We get fibre from vegetables, which fills us up and keeps us regular. You can also eat substantial portions of most vegetables (especially green veg) without dramatically increasing your calorie intake. Veggies don’t have to be boring. Think roasted Mediterranean vegetables, ratatouille, stir-fries, stews and veggie noodles topped with something delicious. Losing weight doesn’t have to mean going hungry.
Opting for low fat foods
Fat gained a bad reputation due to it’s higher calorie content per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein, but we now know that there us much more to weight loss than simply calories in vs calories out. Foods that are sold as ‘low fat’ are often highly processed and higher in sugar than the original version and as a general rule, I don’t recommend them.
Fat is an essential part of our diet, it has many important roles including hormone production and helping our body absorb fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D and E. The type of fats you’re including is key, focus on healthy fats like avocados, oily fish, unroasted nuts and seed and keep your portion sizes in check.
Thinking all calories are created equal
While we are on the subject of calories, it’s worth making sure that yours are coming from the best sources. It’s easy to be tempted to buy processed diet foods with the calorie count handily displayed on the front, but fresh, nutritious meals are a far better option. Base your meals around a quality protein source like fish, eggs or tofu, a moderate portion of healthy fats and plenty of vegetables or salad, which will fill and sustain you until your next meal. Meal prep can be helpful here, so find some recipes that you can batch cook in advance.
If you’re doing all of the above but still struggling to lose weight, try keeping a food diary on an app like MyFitnessPal. It can often be an eye opening experience.