An athlete on a sofa looks uninterested as he does a curl with a PowerBlock adjustable dumbbell.

Habits That End Up Hurting Your Weight Loss Goals

Setting unrealistic goals:

A goal should be achievable, make you feel good and one you can maintain for the long haul. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-oriented (SMART). It’s best to avoid setting extreme goals that you are unlikely to obtain (20 pound weight loss in 10 days). Setting a goal of 20 pounds of weight loss over 3 months with a plan to lose 2 pounds per week would be a SMART goal. Make a plan that fits your lifestyle. Examples include increasing your exercise, subbing low-calorie food for high calorie options, or bringing lunch to work instead of eating out.

Only doing cardio:

It’s important to strike a balance between cardio and strength training. The experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days per week. Strength training at least two days per week is also recommended. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn when you are resting, and the less you are at risk from injury.

Not eating a balanced diet:

You can figure out your total daily calorie requirement by using an app. or Once you know your daily calorie requirements, set your protein intake between 10%-35% of your daily calories. 10% would be for low activity people and 35% for very active individuals. Then set your fat intake between 20% and 30% of total daily calories. What’s left will come from complex carbohydrates. Carbs should be between 45% and 65% of total daily calories.

Not tracking and measuring your intake:

Portion control is a major issue when it comes to weight loss and many people have no concept of what constitutes a serving. If you are serious about weight loss, you need to measure serving sizes. Many times, people will find they have been receiving a large number of calories from “healthy snacks” like nuts and granola. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it easy to track calories throughout the day. Calorie counting and food weighing can be cumbersome, just know that it is okay to slip from time to time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on persistence, not perfection.

Falling for fad diets:

Fad diets typically diminish one of the essential macronutrients creating a negative effect on metabolism. And it can contribute to strong cravings. Your calories consumed must be less than your calorie expenditure to lose weight. To lose just one pound per week (a healthy goal) you must sustain a daily 500 calorie deficit. We hear “going on a diet” when referring to weight loss, which implies something temporary. If you really want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you will need to change your lifelong eating habits. “Dieting” is synonymous with “punishment” and will almost certainly lead to gaining back lost weight eventually. People who are serious about their emotional and physical health do not go on diets. They adopt and embrace healthy lifelong eating habits.