5 Diet Mistakes That Tip the Scales Against Success

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Source: Jørgen Schyberg / Flickr

Source: Jørgen Schyberg / Flickr

On paper, it looks like you’re doing everything right; you’ve eliminated cookies, you’re hitting the gym, and you’re eating salads for dinner. But those numbers on the scale aren’t budging, and your jeans are just as tight as they were last month, so what gives? We tend to think of dieting and weight loss as a zero-sum game; by taking away the “bad” aspects, only the “good” can remain, which ought to have a positive effect on our weight and lives. It isn’t always this straightforward, and those “good” choices you’re making might really be sabotaging your goals.

1. Your mindset is too narrow and restrictive

The first barrier to overcome is one that can derail weight loss goals before you even begin, and it has to do with perception. If you always approach weight loss as a diet, you may enter with a narrow mindset about what will be eliminated and everything you’re giving up until you lose those last five pounds. Instead, think of this as a chance to incorporate better choices into your life. Otherwise, you’ll find your crash diet crashing around your ears. If you are altering what you eat so drastically that you are incapable of following it in the long run, then there is little point in sticking to it to begin with, Michael Dansinger, MD, and physician for The  Biggest Loser, explained to WebMD.

It is easy to see why, as diets with strict rules, or that cut out entire food groups completely — like fad diets — have a low retention rate. Your best friend may be able to fathom giving up chicken wings and all other meat for the rest of their lives, but that doesn’t mean you can. On the flip side, you might be able to forgo potato chips, but your vegetarian friend enjoys them with lunch almost every day. What is important is to find the balance that works for you; where one person sees an impossibility, another sees great potential.

Instead, Keri Gans, MS, RD recommends small changes over a period of time. ”Try to gradually incorporate new habits over time,” Gans said on WebMD. “Before you know it, you will be eating more healthfully and losing weight.”

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