How to Lose Weight: Common Pitfalls

When we’re trying to lose weight, our efforts can sometimes be hampered by our general eating habits, as well as our attitudes towards dieting. What can really help with losing weight is becoming more aware of how we behave and think, to spot any obstacles we might be putting in front of ourselves. Being more aware can then help us to build healthy eating skills to make better food choices. Some people feel they just don’t know how to lose weight- this could be because they haven’t learned the right skills to help them do so.

How To Lose Weight By Avoiding ‘Perfect Mode’

How To Lose WeightA key factor that can help a person learn how to lose weight is being aware of ‘black and white’ thinking. In terms of dieting, this can manifest as rigidly following a diet, but then giving up completely following a single lapse, with the belief that you’ve ‘blown it’. This is a really common mindset, and having perfectionist tendencies can be detrimental to weight loss- perfectionists can have the attitude of: ‘It’s got to be perfect or it’s not worth doing at all’. This mindset can result in alternating periods of being far too strict and periods of overeating. The aim is to not think you’ve blown it after a single lapse- this might be a chocolate bar or a piece of cake- and instead to aim for more ‘grey’ eating, based on a ‘grey’ mindset-this involves eating in a more moderate, less restrictive way, with less chance of cravings and lapses. We encounter socializing with friends and family all year round, and a black and white approach to eating doesn’t work. Your aim is to get it right most of the time- this means you can still enjoy yourself whilst losing weight. We can’t put our lives on hold, so it’s important to be patient when it comes to weight loss. Losing weight rapidly with a ‘quick fix’ diet is overly restrictive and you’re likely to put most of the weight back on. What’s the point of a diet that you can only stick to for a few days or weeks?

Rewarding Yourself After Exercise

How To Lose Weight

Another common pitfall is exercise. Although being more active can help with losing weight, it can also cause overeating. It’s all too easy to treat yourself to food after exercising- many dieters fall into the trap of thinking they’ve burned more calories than they actually have, and end up eating something quite calorific as a ‘reward’.

Eating Quickly

Eating quickly is another common pitfall- it doesn’t give your brain time to register the fullness of your stomach. The more slowly you eat, the more likely you are to feel satisfied with less food- and the less likely you are to go for second helpings!

Letting Go At Weekends

Another factor that can help with losing weight is being aware when you’re being ‘good’ midweek and letting go at weekends- sound familiar? The problem is that two days out of seven is a significant proportion of the week, so if you have a tendency to eat and drink what you like at weekends, despite being good midweek, this can make weight loss stall.

Calories In Drinks

How To Lose Weight

A key part of knowing how to lose weight is remembering the calories in drinks. It’s easy to forget about the calories we’re drinking- fruit juices, smoothies, alcoholic drinks and milky coffees are generally high in calories. Whilst you might be watching your food intake, you might be consuming excess calories through your fluid intake.

How To Lose Weight By Planning More

One way in which people can learn how to lose weight successfully is by becoming more organised and planning ahead. Planning is such an essential part of successful weight management. If you don’t plan your meals and snacks for the week you’re unlikely to stock up well, which means you can get caught out with nothing healthy at home, prompting poor food choices such as takeaways.

Portion Sizes

A crucial aspect of learning how to lose weight is to be mindful of portion sizes. Many people eat oversized portions; they might think they’re eating medium portions, but in fact they’re eating from extra large plates and bowls- downsizing your crockery can really help you to eat less.

How To Lose Weight With Help From The Family

Another way in which people can learn how to lose weight successfully is by getting other members of the family to eat the same as you. This can help to address the problem of having tempting foods in the house, if you find that this is a particular challenge for you. If you buy and keep unhelpful foods in the house for other family members, inviting your family to eat the same as you can be a real help. Take the time to find a few simple, tasty, healthy recipes that the whole family enjoys. There are now plenty of tasty, healthy snacks about, but if they do insist on having less healthy snacks, then keep them out of sight. Don’t let others sabotage your weight loss efforts- ask for support, and request that they don’t entice you with those foods you’re trying to limit or avoid.

Weighing Yourself Too Often

The weighing scales can be demotivating. If you’re impatient to lose weight, you might weigh yourself too often. Weight can fluctuate from day to day, so it’s much better to weigh yourself just once a week, to avoid too many disappointing readings.

Overeating After Starving All Day

Some people fall into the trap of starving during the day so that they can eat more in the evening. The problem with this is that you can get overly hungry, leading to overeating later on- you can actually end up eating more calories than if you ate three meals and 1 or 2 snacks over the day. If you starve yourself, your body will eventually respond by increasing your appetite, and perhaps cause cravings for something sweet or fatty, making weight control difficult. A key aspect of learning how to lose weight is to actually eat, as opposed to not eat!

Think about whether any of these common pitfalls apply to you- awareness is power!

If you feel you could do with some help in learning how to lose weight, give me a call for an initial chat on 07961 423120 or email me at

I am based in Camberley, Surrey, but I also offer Skype sessions for clients living in other parts of the UK and elsewhere.