The 8 Top Weight-Loss Saboteurs, According to Nutritionists

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At any given time, nutritionists are seeing dozens of clients who want to lose weight—so they would know best what’s slowing their progress. We talked to eight R.D.s to get the lowdown on the biggest thing standing between most people and weight-loss success—because realizing the problem is the first step in overcoming it.

Focusing on Quantity of Calories and Not Quality of Calories

“Focusing on the former means you’re never learning about how to eat well, you’re just learning how to count calories. Eventually, you’ll care more about the number and less about the food (100-calorie snack anyone??). Over time, you’ll go back to old habits and put the weight back on.” —Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., a wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

Elimination Diets

“Any claim of ‘I don’t eat X’—e.g., carbs, gluten, dairy, sugar, etc.—if it is not for a medical reason is a guaranteed way to either keep the scale where it is or gain weight. This habit or trend, without fail, leads people to either overcompensate in total calorie intake in other ways, or conversely, works for a prolonged period of time until it becomes apparent that we can’t live like this and then ultimately results in a binge or the ‘I give up’ mentality.” —Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., senior clinical dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital

Guilt

“I think guilt is the worst thing for weight loss. My clients learn that if they mess up, it’s just one meal. But when guilt is involved, it sets up a downward spiral of poor eating and bad feelings, which is a dangerous combination.” —Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., founder of B Nutritious

Not Eating Enough Protein, Fat, and Fiber

“You need these to feel satiated after a meal. Failing to achieve this balance can lead to overeating and, in turn, weight gain.” —Michelle Davenport, Ph.D., R.D., a Silicon Valley nutritionist

Out-of-Control Portion Sizes

“Sometimes you can be overeating even healthy items, so the calories will add up. This often happens with items such as nuts, avocado, and olive oil.” —Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet

Having an All-or-Nothing Mentality

“If you overeat, for example, while going out to dinner to enjoy a birthday celebration with friends, get back on track the next day. Notice I didn’t say the next week, next month, or next year. The key is getting back on track immediately.” —Mitzi Dulan, R.D., author of The Pinterest Diet

Refined Carbs

“They are everywhere, from pretzels to decadent breads to pastas. Clients find it hard to reduce these in their diets. It’s hard because they’re so prevalent, we are all used to eating them, they are often the easiest option, and yes, they often taste good!” —Keri Glassman, R.D., Women’s Health contributor

Friends and Family

“Many of the people who live with my clients don’t want to change or say ‘ewww, that is gross’ when my clients try to eat healthy food. Thanks a lot, friends and family!” —Shelly Marie Redmond, R.D.

Image courtesy of womenshealthmag.com

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