Sabotaging Weight Loss

13 Habits Nutrition Professionals Blame For Sabotaging Weight Loss

July 11, 2022

Whether it’s before or after surgery, and regardless of how well-intentioned you are about your weight loss goals, there may be certain habits holding you back that you don't even realize. Here are 13 habits nutrition professionals blame for sabotaging weight loss.

13 Habits Nutrition Professionals Blame For Sabotaging Weight Loss

1. Believing That Fad Diets Will Help You Lose Weight

I know this sounds weird, but the problem with the classical restrictive diets is that they are just temporary measures you take to lose some extra weight.

When you go on a diet, you make an abrupt cut in calorie intake that slows down your metabolism because your body thinks it is starving. However, when you go back to eating the way you used to, the weight you lose on the diet is regained, usually within one to five years.

The real way to lose and keep off unwanted pounds is to change your lifestyle and eating habits. Give yourself some time, bite by bite, the benefits of healthy eating add up. You will see the results on the scale (although it is not all about the scale).

2. Reprove Yourself for Eating “Bad” Food

One food will not make you more or less healthy. Habits are what matter.

Oftentimes, thinking you've " messed up" with your diet just because you eat one “bad” food can cause you to binge eat, whether you're hungry or not because you’re thinking tomorrow is a brand new day and you'll “restart the diet and be good."

Ditching this "all or nothing" mentality and focusing on a healthy eating pattern with room for indulgences now and then can lead to a more balanced and sustainable diet. Remember that eating is not only about providing nutrients for your body, but it is also an encounter with pleasure.

3. Not Having a Personalized Meal Plan

A meal plan itself it’s not a magic tool that will automatically make you lose weight. Several variables influenced the weight loss journey.

Nevertheless, having a meal plan will help you stay committed and meet your goals. Keep in mind that a generic meal plan may not work for you, as everyone has different needs and requirements, and also different tastes and resources to consider. If you want a meal plan, it is best to discuss it with your dietician or nutritionist so that you have a personalized plan and not just one that you found online.

And don't forget that meal planning and preparation are key to avoiding impulse purchases or eating from a takeout menu.

4. Lack of Nutrition Education

One of the most important resources people should be entitled to have a healthy lifestyle is nutrition education. This is the foundation that allows having the basic knowledge about the dietary values of foods and food preparation, among other things, to help them choose the best foods for a proper diet to reach their goals.

For instance, in the weight loss journey, a reduction of calories is needed, but that is not the same as eating less, since certain foods, like fruits and vegetables, can generate adequate satiety but with much fewer calories than others (like processed foods that claim to have fruits and vegetables).

Nowadays, the information is more or less available to everyone online, but it's best if you turn to your dietitian or nutritionist who can help you with these matters.

5. Repeating the Same Meals Over and Over

Eating healthy shouldn’t be boring. You don't have to eat the same food over and over again until total boredom makes you give up and end up stuffing yourself with some packaged food. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.

But to avoid this, you’ll need not only a little understanding of food and nutrition education but also a few basic culinary techniques to create nutritious, low-calorie, and mouth-watering dishes.

We all know that chicken breast is a great source of lean protein, but perhaps if you always prepare grilled chicken breast the same way, it's no wonder that the fourth time you eat it, you hate it.

6. Cutting on Food Groups

Nowadays it is a trend to talk about which food groups we should not eat, (dairy, carbs, fruits, pulses, etc.), and not because we dislike them, but just because someone, somewhere, claims that it is better for us, often without scientific evidence or without knowing if it is something for everyone or only in some cases, for example, in some intolerances.

It doesn't matter if we are talking about processed or natural foods, everything falls under restriction and that is not the solution. By taking food you like away, you generate a feeling of deprivation, which rarely is a positive mindset. And your body isn't happy either. This deprivation can contribute to stronger cravings, possibly resulting in binge eating later on. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.

Although we don't need to cut back on food groups, be aware that if you feel that once you start eating a particular food and you can't stop, try to practice mindful eating.

7. Skimping on Sleep Can Mess Up Hunger Control

Sleep is the foundation of all our daily decision-making and habits. Poor quality sleep can have a negative impact not only on our mood and our ability to concentrate on daily tasks, but can also alter our hunger control.

Lack of sleep can alter the hormones that control hunger. Two hormones are involved in hunger control, the appetite-stimulating hormone called Ghrelin and the satiety-inducing hormone called Leptin.

People who sleep less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours tend to have reduced levels of leptin and elevated levels of ghrelin, which translates into increased appetite and poorer satiety control. This leads to sabotaging weight loss.

8. Lack of Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. It is quite accessible to anyone, can be super cheap or even free, and allows you to not only improve yourself physically speaking, but it is also a great way to socialize, meet new people and disconnect your mind from everyday problems.

But for exercise to be effective, both physically and mentally, it's important to find something you enjoy. If you think about it as a chore you have to do, it's not going to work. It could be going for a walk, taking up swimming, or even learning to golf.

The World Health Organization Recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination of both throughout the week, including strength training 2 to 3 times a week if possible.

I know it seems like a lot, but if exercise is not a regular part of your daily life, start small and try different activities until you find the one or ones you like.

9. Ignoring Your Stress Levels

When we are stressed, it is not uncommon for us to seek comfort food. This is known as "emotional eating" and is a way to suppress or calm stress, and other negative emotions such as anger, fear, boredom, sadness, and/or loneliness.

Even though this is perfectly fine on rare occasions, one should have healthy, non-food-related outings for reducing stress.

For instance, exercise is a great way to relieve stress, but we could also just go for a walk in the fresh air, read a good book, or call a friend.

10. Not Knowing About Hidden Calories

Cutting your calorie intake is the key to success on the journey to weight loss, but did you know that there are several foods you may eat regularly with "hidden calories"?

If you are used to having condiments, soft drinks, or fruit juices with sugar, alcoholic drinks, or even candies, gums, and mints, keep in mind that all of these things add to your calorie intake and hinder your success in losing weight.

So, the next time you choose a beverage, be mindful of it. Or when eating salads, don't load them up with commercial dressings, maybe try making your own next time.

11. Snacking Constantly

Most of the time, people do not think of snacks as food, and they do not take them into account when counting meals or calorie intake.

Snacking is simply eating or drinking something between meals, without thinking if the food is healthy or not. Even though hunger should be the main motivation for snacking, other factors such as location, social environment, time of day, and food availability also contribute. More often than not, people snack when appetizing food is nearby, even if they are not hungry.

12. Thinking the Weekend Doesn’t Count

This may sound silly, but when the weekend comes around, many people completely neglect their meal plans or weight loss goals and act as if whatever happens won't affect the outcomes.

This only sets you up for failure during the week. You can still indulge in some "out of the ordinary" food, but that doesn't mean you can eat any and everything and think that on Monday you'll be back on track as if nothing happened.

13. Gut Health and Fiber Intake

Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms living in our digestive tract. Taking care of it and maintaining the proper balance of these microorganisms is key to optimal health.

An adequate intake of dietary fiber can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce certain chemicals that have been linked to a reduction in body weight.

Sabotaging Weight Loss
Eva De Angelis


Eva De Angelis is a registered dietitian and chef. She is passionate about everything related to food, nutrition, and cooking. She loves to write about food and nutrition to share her knowledge with people and help them have better health. She believes that everyone should have access to nutrition education, as it is essential knowledge to have a healthy lifestyle. In her private practice, she focuses on providing her patients with the needed nutrition education while encouraging them to engage in cooking to make meal planning easier and more cost-effective.