Motivation Articles

6 Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid

Small Changes for Big Results

Page 1 of 2
Welcome to SparkPeople! Hopefully your program is off to a smooth start, and you’re happy with your progress so far. But for others who aren’t seeing results yet, it’s been a little more frustrating. Many dieters tend to make similar mistakes when trying to lose weight. But being aware of these mistakes—and making small physical and mental changes—will help you lose the weight and keep it off for good. Here’s how:

Slower is Better
The first mistake dieters make is having unrealistic weight loss expectations. The SparkPeople program is set up to help you safely lose between half a pound and two pounds per week. Studies show that individuals who rapidly lose weight are more likely to gain it back. So if you’ve lost a few pounds this month—excellent! Don’t discount that because you see someone on T.V. losing 15 pounds in two weeks.

Everyone is Different
While some people lose a lot of weight in the first few weeks, others might not lose any weight for a few weeks. Although this can be frustrating when you’re doing everything right, it’s not a reason to give up. Sometimes it just takes a little while longer to see the results of your hard work reflected on the scale. Remember, eating right and exercising regularly have positive impacts on your health in many other ways, such as more energy, less stress, better sleep, and reduced risk of many diseases. You’ll receive those benefits—regardless of the number on the scale.

Weight Loss is Rarely Constant from Week to Week
Many people lose a lot in the first few weeks, and then their weight loss slows down considerably. It’s totally normal to have weeks when you lose more than expected, and weeks when your weight remains the same despite your consistent efforts. Our bodies are very complicated and don’t always cooperate with the estimates of how much we should expect to lose. People rarely lose a consistent amount of weight each week. Measuring your weight loss on a monthly basis can be a more accurate gauge of how well you are doing.

Weight Loss is Not Immediate
Cutting calories today (through diet and exercise) will not necessarily show up on the scale at the end of the day or even by tomorrow. Your weight can fluctuate from day-to-day for reasons that have nothing to do with your diet and exercise program. Much of this fluctuation is due to water and food intake. While your scale may show changes throughout the day, fluctuations that could be due to food & water alone are not permanent weight losses or gains.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • This blog was very helpful. Even I am trying to loose weight from long back but reading this blog I got to know where I use to commit mistake. Keep posting such helpful blogs. - 6/9/2016 1:47:02 AM
  • Good article, timely reminders of things I should know but helps to see reinforced.

    My 2 cents is that I do much better mentally if I weigh-in daily. I can deal with daily fluctuations (I understand trend lines!) and can often rationalize day-to-day why my weight is the same or went up. Weekly weigh-ins carry too much "weight" (pun alert) and with less data, the trends can be more difficult to see. - 4/24/2016 1:09:04 PM
  • Right on the money!!! Yesterday I did a blog centered around why I'm losing only a few ounces when I had been on an average 1.5lb a week. I had not been reaching my calorie range set by my dietician of 1550. Instead I had slipped back into the range of 1,00,,,perhaps less to 1200. I'm of course correcting this. I started off at 248 beginning of Jan,,,, I started at 288,,, goal is 198 end of the year. Just need to stay focused.

    Yes there WILL be those times of eating more ,,,,remember SPARKS is NOT a diet,,, those DEPRIVE us,,, it's a LIFESTYLE change,,, celebrating!!! - 4/24/2016 9:20:53 AM
  • I love this article! Great reminders for losing and maintaining. - 4/24/2016 7:46:36 AM
    @dietsuggestions gives some more about what to avoid and what to eat.
    Nourishment Labels
    Reducing Calories Too Low
    Coming to be Obsessed With Your Weight and the Scale
    Changing Up Your Routine Too Often
    g Your Food Choices
    Obsessing Over Calories as well as Macronutrient Ratios
    Only Focusing on External Appearance
    - 3/30/2016 8:01:38 AM
  • I found this article had a lot of good reminders for me. I have gotten extremely frustrated with my weight loss! The first 40 lbs came off pretty quickly and easily for me while I was doing the HCG diet which some people may or may not be familiar with. Basically I would call it a "near starvation diet" and it was miserable. It was effective at making me lose weight quickly, but when I went off that diet I gained 10lbs back within less than a month. Due to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, after gaining the initial 10 back, I have maintained where I am at but any time I try to lose any more weight it comes off EXTREMELY slow! So slow that I often feel like giving up! I have only lost 2 lbs in the last 3 weeks which I assume is just water weight since I am no longer eating overly processed foods. So, now I am resorting to calorie counting which I absolutely hate but hopefully this will get those last 30-35 lbs off! - 3/28/2016 2:56:10 PM
  • This was a good article except for one glaring problem. I was so disappointed to see "starvation mode" invoked. This concept continues to be misunderstood and incorrectly applied, as happened in this article. I try to avoid nit-picking others' writing, but the whole "starvation mode" thing continues to be thrown around in discussions about weight loss, and leads to a lot of misunderstanding and poor decisions. - 2/18/2016 8:55:35 AM
  • I'm glad I came across this just now. I'm very close to reaching my first goal at the end of the month and was wondering what goal I should set next. A certain amount of weight loss by New Years? ehhh it will only be about 5 weeks. Then my b-day is in March, so maybe I'll try to get below 200 for that. But that's about 36 pounds in 15 weeks...about 6 more than the recommended amount. Still , maybe it's worth the focus. Can't decide, but leaning towards that one. If anyone has any suggestions send me a note! - 11/11/2015 12:10:51 AM
  • Taking it slow is hard but if I stopped trying every time my weight loss stalled (about every three weeks or so) then I would not be 50+ pounds less. I know if I hang in there it will start dropping again. - 8/25/2015 8:33:18 AM
  • helpful, thanks - 7/10/2015 2:40:29 PM
  • Thank you for this article. - 6/12/2015 3:54:15 AM
    Thank you for this. A month in and I needed this. The first few points especially. - 2/15/2015 6:51:33 PM
  • I weigh every morning, it keeps me accountable. I do realize that fluctuations are going to happen but it gives me an estimate of my fat loss. I don't watch the weight loss reality shows or any of the shows with weight as an issue--I want to be healthy and I think these shows can hurt that part of all sparkers lifestyle change--we want to lose weight but most importantly, I think we want to enjoy that loss and the only way to do that is be healthy!! Not all of us are ever going to be stick thin and that is a reality we need to realize, but healthy we can all embrace. ;0) - 2/15/2015 4:03:10 PM
  • I think it's well said not to pay attention to weight loss results "as seen on TV." I get frustrated with a lot of reality shows where people extreme measures to lose weight quickly. The shows seem to be more for entertainment with weight loss packaged as instant gratification than to really show people how to lose weight realistically. - 2/15/2015 12:12:00 PM
  • I really enjoyed and appreciated the part about "slow" weight loss and that everyone is different and has different weight loss even when doing everything "right." - 3/10/2014 1:36:39 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by August 6! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.