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By Taeler Christine

It’s good to set high standards, but only if they can be achieved in a reasonable fashion. Weight loss is not rocket science, but folks often overcomplicate it, pushing too hard, too fast and burning out.

There’s a few mistakes you’ll want to avoid while you’re trying to shed a few pounds.

Restricting Too Much

Americans do not have a weight loss problem, just a problem keeping weight off. We all want immediate gratification, which means fast results. Well, weight loss is not a fast process. It’s all about longevity, and finding what you can stick with for potentially life.

Somehow, this magical number of 1,500 calories got into the heads of Americans, and we all think we need to cut carbs, fats and anything else that sounds extreme. You can’t just cut macronutrients out of your diet. Instead, cut certain things out, like coffee creamers, sugary condiments and extra helpings of dessert, rather than cut out foods altogether.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

There will always be a diet fad. Just because something is trendy, does not mean it works. Eating Tide Pods broke the internet, and I don’t think we all jumped on that. Ridiculous comparison? Maybe. Accurate? Yes.

Picking a fad will likely mean it is very restrictive, too. The second it gets hard to keep up with, a person starts to fall off, and ultimately fail. The key to weight loss is to keep confidence high and motivation up.

Consistent Inconsistency

Consistency is the best tip for anyone looking to lose weight and keep it off. Following your diet five days out of the week will not cut it. Either stick to it, or move on. Dieting is not easy, and nobody should expect it to be.

Unrealistic Goals

Ask yourself: What is realistic? If you are going from not working out at all, and set the goal of hitting the weights five times per week, that could set you up for failure. Instead, take small steps, setting the goal of exercising three times per week. After a month, bump it up.

The same holds true for weight loss. The average female should shoot for losing around 0.5-1.5 pounds per week, and men should aim for 1-2 pounds. Keep in mind, that will vary per person and per week. The scale fluctuates based on sleep, what you ate the night before, stress and water retention, so go easy on yourself when you see jumps.

Cheat Meals

If you are trying to lose weight, avoid cheat meals. I might get some pushback on this, but hear me out: cheat meals set a person up for having a negative relationship with food.

Typically, someone has a hard time stopping with one chip, cookie or even meal, meaning that cheat will derail a person for the rest of the day. While an advanced dieter might be able to eat a burger and fries, then jump back to chicken and veggies, most can’t. Once a person opens the floodgates to pancakes at brunch, that leaves them feeling defeated and vulnerable to eating whatever for the rest of the day, because in their mind, they already “blew it”.

Instead of having a full out cheat meal, try having a meal out once per week (or every other week), and keep it within reason. If you want a burger, skip the fries, or swap a lettuce bun for bread. Keep your other meals high in protein and low in fats and carbs on these days. Another idea: find ways to recreate meals you crave at home.

Comparing yourself

Chances are, you have somebody in your Instagram feed who you’re mirin. Instead of comparing yourself to them, focus on small victories along the way. You can’t compare your day one to somebody else’s day 1,000. Progress takes time, and having patience takes practice.

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