The six mistakes stopping you losing weight- are you making them?

If you’re stuck in a health rut, one of these factors might be to blame.

We’ve all stood on the scales and sighed at our lack of progress or had to leave an outfit in the back of the cupboard ‘until it fits’. If you’re struggling to lose weight healthily, consider changing one of the habits below and find yourself back on track to health.

You don’t start small
The biggest blocker to long-term weight loss is trying to do everything at once. If you’re used to a hearty bacon-and-egg breakfast and haven’t walked further than your letterbox in months, suddenly resolving to run 10 kilometres and exist on celery is going to be a shock. Sure, everyone wants quick results, but if you make the mistake of biting off more than you can chew, you’re more likely to give up when you’re sore and hungry on Day 3. Instead, make small changes and stick with them, such as swapping juice for water and resolving to walk just ten minutes a day. When you keep small promises to yourself, you’re more likely to keep the big ones too. 

You don’t move on from ‘mistakes’
How often have you ‘broken your diet’ in a small way, like snacking on a few fries or maybe sneaking a slice of cake at the office birthday party? If you’re anything like the majority of people who struggle with their weight, the smallest slip-up then becomes an excuse to write off the rest of the day, telling yourself that you’ve already ‘ruined’ your diet, so you may as well order a pizza for dinner, and while you’re at it, order in a litre tub of ice cream. Perceived ‘failures’ like these can lead to feelings of shame and guilt, which can perpetuate the downward spiral of emotional eating, leaving you worse off than when you began. Instead, avoid categorising foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and try to see your ‘diet’ more as a long-term lifestyle change. If you choose to indulge, enjoy the moment guilt-free then immediately return to healthier eating.

You rely on “willpower”
We’re all familiar with the kind of praise associated with successful weight loss. ‘Oh, you’re so disciplined!’ people say, or ‘You have so much willpower!’ Hearing this kind of compliment can lead overweight people to feel like their own willpower is lacking when it comes to weight loss; but in fact, controlling your weight can take more than diet, exercise and willpower combined. In fact, some research suggests that your brain can work against you, ‘defending’ you from weight loss and causing you to put weight back on! Give yourself the best chance of success by visiting a GP before embarking on a new weight-loss regime and find out exactly what method or support might be right for you, or explore how a prescription medicine can help take the burden off your body and mind with support.

You can’t control your cravings
There’s a reason we love rich chocolate cake, salty crisps and gooey cheeses. Foods that are rich in fat, sugar and salt are associated with the mesolimbic reward system, sparking feelings of pleasure. When you eat them (or even imagine eating them), you might feel a dopamine rush which is so pleasurable, over time your brain seeks to repeat the feeling. Simply put? A craving. Understanding the science behind cravings can help you isolate the feelings and recognise them for what they are, which is the first step to conquering them.

Your goal weight is unrealistic
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and a weight loss journey begins with equally small steps! Don’t set yourself a goal of losing a huge number of kilos or overhauling your health in an extreme way; it seems impossible and will prevent you sticking with your plan. Not only that, but there’s evidence the human body is programmed to actively defend against weight loss and maintain a certain range of body weight, known as ‘set point’. When you drop below this, your brain can cause hunger and cravings in an attempt to bring your weight back up to your set point. Set yourself up for success by aiming to steadily lose half a kilo to one-kilo a week, and set your goal weight within a realistic realm.  

You don’t ask the experts
With so much information at our fingertips, it’s common for people to rely on Dr Google for hints and tips to do with weight loss. But as we all know, the internet can be an unreliable place to find advice. Make an effort to seek out people who’ve achieved the kind of goal you’re aiming for, and ask how they did it; and don’t forget, your doctor is an incredible resource who should always be your first stop for health and medical advice that’s specific to you and your lifestyle and who can help by recommending the latest treatments and support to help.

Can science take off the weight off? For more information visit