10. You’re too restrictive
In the same vein as avoiding fad diets that eliminate entire food groups, you don’t want to be too restrictive with what you allow yourself to eat.
Restriction sets you up for failure, because it’s not sustainable in the long run.
“Being too restrictive with your meal plan leads to burn out and often times binge eating,” Palinski-Wade says.
“There’s a reason we say that diets don’t work, and it’s because of the mentality that a diet is something you will ‘go on’ only to ‘go off’ again in the future. Instead of ‘dieting,’ focus on making one or two small changes and build upon this over time to not just lose weight but to keep it off for life.”
If you ease into it, and still allow yourself a treat every now and again, you’ll get used to the change gradually and will adapt better to healthy eating.
“Bottom line: Long-term lifestyle changes are necessary to maintain a healthy weight,” Moore says.
“This includes mindful eating, daily exercise, and portion control.”
The perfect meal is one in which you are served a reasonably sized portion of wonderful, surprising, delicious food. You shouldn’t feel overly full at the end of the meal, but you shouldn’t be hungry either.
11. You’re not considering your genetics
Scientists are learning there’s no one-size-fits-all diet plan, so what helps one person lose weight could actually make someone else gain weight.
Trial and error is an option, but to get clearer answers on what will or won’t work for you, consider over-the-counter genetic testing.
“Although the majority of your weight status is influenced by your environment and lifestyle choices, some of the way your body stores fat, as well as your body weight, is determined by genes,” says Seattle-based registered dietitian Ginger Hultin, RDN, a coach at the scientific wellness company Arivale.
“There’s not just one gene that determines this predisposition – there are hundreds, so genetic testing should take into account polygenic data to provide the most accurate information.”
Your results might reveal, for example, that you’re overly sensitive to dietary fat, so a fat-heavy diet plan like keto or Paleo could be a disaster for you.
“Your genes can give some insight into whether you may be more likely to gain weight from eating dietary fat or carbohydrates but again, it’s very multifactorial,” Hultin says.
12. You’re not making it yours
What’s the perfect diet for your personality type? The one you will stick to. Along with genetics, consider logistical, economic and personal preferences.
For example, if you love exercising, make that a bigger part of your routine; or if you find it easy to meal plan or love to cook, focus on food.
When it comes to the type of diet, no one size fits all. A recent study showed greater overall success was achieved by matching different people to different diets.
All facets of weight loss are important, but you’re definitely more likely to succeed at making lifestyle changes you can actually live with.
“To stick with long-term positive changes in healthy eating or exercise, it’s important to make it something that you enjoy and even look forward to,” Hultin says.
“This makes change much more sustainable and enjoyable.”