You’re doing all the “right” things for weight loss – so why aren’t you seeing any results?
There is no fast track to losing weight, especially if you have a long road ahead of you.
Everyone faces plateaus in their journey, where weight loss stalls or you may put some back on.
But some of the rules you stick by may be making weight loss harder than it needs to be, according to Jersey-based nutritionist Pippa Campbell.
Writing on her blog, Pippa outlined five key mistakes people make when dieting.
It includes eating foods that are considered “healthy”, but should be eaten in controlled portions.
Healthy foods high in sugar or fat
Pippa said: “If your goal is weight loss, consuming foods which are healthy but high in calories or fat will not help your efforts.”
“Certain fruits are higher in sugar and so should be swapped in for lower sugar alternatives.”
Examples of fruits that are higher in sugar per portion are:
You don’t need to stop eating these entirely because each has nutrients and vitamins that are good for you.
But Pippa suggests picking up more strawberries, raspberries and blackberries while trying to increase fruit intake.
Berries are low in sugar, antioxidants and count towards your five a day.
Pippa also warned against high-fat foods such as:
- Fatty fish (like salmon)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Full fat yoghurt
- Coconut oil
Half a large avocado, for example, has 160 calories and 15g of fat.
While these foods are a great addition to the diet, Pippa said: “You need to strike a balance between obtaining the nutrition they offer but not eating so much that their fat content becomes detrimental to your weight loss plans.”
“Newsflash! Many low fat foods contain added sugar to improve the taste.”
“So there we are believing we are making the right choices when in actual fact, we are consuming hidden sugar that we don’t want or need.”
Examples of “diet foods” that appear healthy on the outside, but are still worth watching, are:
- Sweetened low fat yoghurt
- Low fat breakfast cereals
- Low fat/fat-free salad dressings
Pippa said: “Low-fat yogurts regularly contain added sugar to enhance the flavor. I mean, if it tastes yuck, you’re hardly going to buy it again?”
Pippa recommended checking the label, which will tell you how high the product is in sugar.
But if this becomes tedious, remember a general rule: “Choose a plain yogurt and add your own ingredients to it if necessary! Avoid flavored yogurts or those that have added fruits.”
Instead of low-fat breakfast cereals that are “packed full of sugar”, go for plain oats and make a warming porridge or overnight oats pot topped with fruit, Pippa said.
Lastly, she warned: “Low fat and fat-free salad dressings often contain lots of sugar and preservatives and have little nutritional value.”
Make your own salad dressing with a little olive oil, lemon and balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
There are heaps of recipes online for simple salad dressings that you can make at home.
Maybe it’s not the foods your eating that are detrimental, but the beverages you’re guzzling down daily.
Pippa warns against:
- Fruit juice
- Sports drinks
Fruit juice is the biggest culprit for being misleadingly healthy, Pippa explains.
“When whole fruits are broken down into juice, much of the existing fiber is lost. Fiber is essential for good gut health and helps digestion and prevent constipation.
“It helps us to feel full and is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.”
Fructose in fruit juice is also regarded as “free sugars” – the same type that are added to fizzy drinks like cola or lemonade.
Pippa explained that fruit juice can actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by causing insulin spikes over time.
Sports drinks can also be problematic because although they provide fuel and chemicals to help hydration, they are “contain a significant number of calories”, Pippa warned.
She added: “Kombucha is also another drink to approach with caution.
“It can contain up to 28g of sugar per serving and is often sweetened with fruit juice and cane sugar to enhance the flavor.”
You’re probably already aware – but water is the best choice of drink for weight loss, Pippa said, and it can be flavored with a squeeze of lemon or fresh ginger.
Pippa said if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to keep snacks to a minimum.
She said: “Some people prefer to eat five or six small meals a day in order to stabilize blood sugar and if you are diabetic, have reactive glycemia or have other blood sugar issues, there may be good reasons to do this.
“But for most people, snacking just means we keep our insulin levels in a perpetual state of spiking and we are only adding to the amount of calories we are consuming.
“The more you eat, the more you fill your body with insulin and have fluctuations in blood sugar.
“This roller-coaster effect on blood sugar can cause cravings, fat storage and irritability.
“If we are eating nutritious, balanced meals packed with protein and fibre, our bodies simply don’t need more snacks.”
If you do like to incorporate snacks into your diet, Pippa recommends a small handful of nuts or vegetable sticks.
Not enough protein
Lastly, it’s time to look at your protein intake to make sure it is hitting adequate levels.
Pippa said: “Protein can help with weight loss as it helps you stay fuller for longer.
“Protein intake at higher levels can increase levels of satiety hormones GLP-1 and peptide YY whilst also reducing levels of the ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
“A protein-rich diet can also help you build lean muscle if you are strength training – and lean muscle burns more fat.”
Protein sources include meats, fish and poultry, such as chicken, turkey, beef, and salmon.
Meat-free protein sources include nuts, milk, Greek yogurt, potatoes, legumes, beans, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, peas and cabbage.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.