Bad Habit #4 Only caring about calories.
Calories are key to weight loss. In fact, balancing your calorie equation (what you eat and what you burn) is what results in successful weight management. However, there is more to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle than calories alone. Some foods that may be higher in calories per serving are actually healthier for you than foods that may be lower in calories (think a heart-healthy avocado vs. a processed 100-calorie pack of pretzels). So while calories count, nutrition matters, too.
Smart Fix: While tracking your calories, don't forget to look at other key nutrients like protein and healthy fats (both of which can keep you full) and key vitamins and minerals that are important for your overall health. Luckily, SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker allows you to track all of these nutrients. Ideally, you want to use a little trial and error to balance not only your calorie equation, but make the kinds of choices that meet your protein, fat, carbohydrate and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) goals.
Bad Habit #5: Focusing on the scale.
You want to lose weight, so you weigh yourself, right? Yes…and no. Weight is an easy way to measure your progress, but it doesn't tell you the whole story. Even if the scale isn't budging, that does not mean that you're not making major progress toward losing weight and getting healthier. You can lose inches, get fitter, gain lean muscle mass, drop body fat, become better hydrated, look better and feel more energized without the pounds budging at all.
Smart Fix: Remember that the scale tells you only one thing: the total mass of all your body parts at a given moment. Don't put too much stock into it. Weigh yourself less frequently (about once every 1-2 weeks), and track all the other signs that amazing changes are happening in your body even if the scale doesn't move. This is the best way to stay motivated for the long haul.
Bad Habit #6: Only dieting and not exercising.
This may be one of the most common reasons your weight loss is stalling. Yes, you can lose weight through diet alone, but it will be a lot harder. You can only cut so many calories without feeling overly hungry, lethargic or miserable. Yet by exercising along with making dietary changes, you can eat more (and feel more satisfied) and still lose weight. Plus, you'll get all the amazing physical and mental benefits that come from exercising, including improved appearance, better muscle tone and a healthier body overall.
Smart Fix: Add exercise to your weight-loss plan. It doesn't have to be boring, strenuous, or time-consuming either. Even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your results. For tons of fun, easy and effective workout ideas, check out our Fitness Resources. You're sure to find something that you enjoy!
Bad Habit #7: Trying to eat as little as possible.
If cutting calories is good for weight loss, then eating as little as possible is better, right? Wrong (especially if you're also trying to fuel your body for regular workouts). You need to eat a certain calorie level to function optimally and get all its essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Eating much less than that can cause serious problems in the long term and damage your metabolism, making weight loss even harder.
Smart Fix: Don't just guess how many calories you need, and don't eat what someone else eats either. Your SparkPeople free Nutrition Tracker has a recommended calorie range that is personalized for you and your goals. Eating within that range (even at the very top of it) will help you reach your weight loss goal. There is no reason to go below it. Remember: You have to eat to lose! Continued ›