When it comes to weight loss, you’ve likely heard your fair share of conflicting advice. From fad diets to the latest superfood craze, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Unfortunately, many of these gimmicks are empty promises at best, while other marketing ploys truly can sabotage a weight-loss plan.
Here are a few of the most common pitfalls that to avoid when it comes to shedding those unhealthy pounds.
Obsessing over the scale.
It’s easy to get hung up looking for a measurable change in weight when you’re eager for results. “The one mistake I see my patients make is that they live on the scale,” Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk says. “If the scale doesn’t move 10 pounds in one day, it’s like it’s the end of the world.”
There are often healthier and more significant ways to plot your progress, like energy levels or muscle tone. Dr. Dirk’s advice? “I recommend that patients get on a scale no more than once a month.”
Eating “diet” foods.
Many “health” foods are marketed as such, but reading the fine print reveals a different story. Veggie chips may sound much healthier than regular chips, but don’t be fooled: potatoes are sometimes classified as veggies, too. The same goes for fat-free dairy products such as ice cream, which typically contains more sugar (and sometimes more calories) to mask a lack of flavor. People tend to eat more of the foods labeled as healthy, which can seriously hinder a diet plan.
Cutting all carbs.
While Dr. Dirk advocates a low-carb diet for those looking to lose weight, “low-carb does not mean zero-carb,” he says. And some carbs are much worse offenders than others. Pastries and white bread? Those are worth giving up. However, many healthy starches like sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice are a necessary part of a balanced diet. How much is too much? “I tell my patients that for each gram of protein, they can have 1 gram of carbs,” Dr. Dirk advises.
Wait a second… Snacking helps with weight-loss? Not exactly, but pretty close. Research shows, and experts agree, that small portions throughout the day are far more effective when it comes to losing weight than infrequent, larger meals. The reason? These manageable meals keep your metabolism working, while frequent bites will keep you from over-eating. Dr. Dirk recommends eating small, measured portions of high-protein, low-carb food, six to eight times throughout the day.
Often, even those with the best intentions who have implemented a daily workout as part of their weight-loss routine will find their efforts thwarted. The reason? Taking your daily activity level from zero to 100 in a brief period of time often leads to injury. As a result, patients often aren’t able to return to their workout for months. “Start slow,” Dr. Dirk cautions.
While there’s a lot of conflicting advice about weight loss, there’s also a great deal known about successful approaches. Seeking professional advice from a doctor or bariatric surgeon is a sure-fire way to fuel your success.