5 Weight Loss Mistakes Beginners Make

The journey to long-term sustainable weight loss is often not a smooth one, we are all bound to make some mistakes along the way. Learn how to avoid these common pitfalls #weightloss #weightlossmistakes #healthyandhappy



Have you ever wondered why your weight loss efforts seem to always hit a roadblock? A successful weight loss journey isn’t just physical; it’s a mental journey. There are bound to be mistakes made along the way. But knowing some of the most common weight loss mistakes can you help you avoid them.

The first hurdle is recognition, and this post aims to guide you through it.

Table of Contents

1. Trying To Do Too Much At Once Is One Of The Weight Loss Mistakes We Are All Guilty Of

I think that anyone who has had weight loss struggles knows this feeling. You make a plan on Sunday that from Monday, you will eat 1200 calories and go for a run every day.

Then you follow through Monday and Tuesday, maybe Wednesday you start to slip, and by Friday you’ve given up. Now you feel like a failure and it’s a downward spiral, you’ve set yourself up to fail.

This was my biggest problem – I’ve always had an “All or Nothing” approach, and not just to weight loss! If I wasn’t 100% in, what was the point? But I would quickly become overwhelmed, and would be so hard on myself for “failing”. I would convince myself that I could never do it, and would never be able to stick to anything.

Long-term sustainable weight loss is made up of small habit changes over-time.

Instead, you should be looking at your “unhealthy” habits, maybe even listing them down. And focusing on making small changes at a time.

Weight loss is 80% nutrition.

food mistakes weight loss

Focus On One Thing At A Time

I recommend focusing fully on nutrition at the start of any weight loss journey. Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. You can lose weight without exercise, but trying to lose weight just by exercising, although not impossible, is very difficult. I would say a month is a great amount of time to focus on this area before introducing any exercise plans. But you may need a shorter or longer amount of time – it’s completely up to you! If you already do some exercise or just want to get moving more, you can carry on with these as normal.

What this nutrition change looks like will vary from person to person. You might want to and be able to take bigger steps e.g. cut out refined sugars altogether. But if you’re not ready for that you can take a look at certain food habits you have and start changing them slowly.

And once you do want to start bringing exercise in, start one thing at a time. Depending on your fitness levels, you can start by going out for walks. Find something fun that you enjoy doing (this is a tip by itself), or whatever you want really! And once you have gotten into the habit you can start adding in more intense exercises or programs, etc.

2. Letting One “Bad” Meal Ruin A Day

All foods in moderation!

This comes back to that ‘All or nothing’ mentality.

You’ve been “good” all day, you’ve had a salad, some fruit, and a low-fat yogurt. Then someone comes along and offers you a slice of cake, or pizza and you just can’t resist it. That’s OK!

But my mindset in the past always told me I had already ruined the day, so why continue eating healthy? And then the binge monster would kick in with promises of ‘tomorrow’.

And the cycle would inevitably repeat.

I’m going to be honest here, this pattern is not easy to get out of. I won’t say it’s something that comes naturally to me yet. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I’m allowed foods in moderation.

Losing Weight Is Calories In VS Calories Out

We all know that losing weight is calories in vs calories out, so let’s look at the numbers.

To lose 1lb of fat a week, I need to eat 1700 calories (Based on my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) of 2200). A slice of red-velvet cake (my absolute favourite!) has 293 calories, are there more filling meals out there with fewer calories? Sure! But it’s not that bad. That slice of cake would count for 17% of the calories I would eat that day, the day’s not ruined!

And this doesn’t just go for the day either, don’t let a bad day ruin the week! I call this “‘The Monday Mindset’, the ‘I’ll start again on Monday’. Your body doesn’t know the days of the week!

Just pick yourself up as soon as you can and start working towards being more flexible, and eating healthy while enjoying treats in moderation.

weight loss mistakes

3. Trying To “Make Up” For Overeating

Restricting too much will often lead to overeating later on.

This is kind of the opposite of the last one. Instead of letting a “bad” meal lead to a binge, it leads to trying to restrict further.

So you’ve just had a few slices of pizza for lunch (can you tell I love pizza?) instead of the salad you planned, you’re feeling guilty and so you tell yourself that you’re going to skip dinner and just have a snack in the evening. Or like me, you tell yourself you’re not going to eat again for the rest of the day.

And my 6 pm, you’re starving, and by this point, the healthy dinner you originally had planned (before your “bad” meal) isn’t going to cut it, and you end up overeating.

You should never starve yourself to make up for eating more calories than planned. You can adjust your calories around this extra meal you had, but again, if you look at the numbers (the 293 calories from a slice of cake for example), you’ll find that most of the time you can continue as normal. Eating 293 extra calories in a day isn’t going to lead to weight gain if you are already in a calorie deficit, and even if it puts you in a calorie surplus, it’s only one day! You would need to eat 3500 calories extra to gain a pound.

4. Not Having Enough Non-scale Goals Is One The Easiest Weight Loss Mistakes To Make

Weight loss can be your overall goal, but it is also a long process, and working towards sustainable weight loss can take years.

One HUGE factor in my own weight loss and staying motivated to lose weight was running.

Over the last couple of years, I have come to love running, which is something I never thought I would say. And the reason for this is that it’s something I can see progress with, that has nothing to do with weight. Each week I can run a little bit further, I can feel the difference in my breathing, my legs ache less, I get faster, etc.

non scale goals weight loss mistakes

Running my first 5K felt so much better than any amount of weight loss I have seen on the scales, after running my first 10K I was gleaming with pride for weeks! I’m running a half marathon this year and I genuinely think my head may explode from excitement when I finish it.

Set Goals That Give You A Sense Of Achievement

Realising how these non-scale victories were benefitting me so much, I started setting new goals – earlier last year I nailed my first push-up after months of trying. I’m currently working towards a pull-up (although this one’s proving much more difficult).

The reason these goals work so well to keep you motivated is that although you may be able to see a 1lb-2lb loss on the scale, you can’t really see or feel it straight away. It can take months to start noticing weight loss.

If you set yourself a ‘performance’ target, it may take a while to reach that goal but it is more measurable as you are working towards it. You can measure your pace or distance while running, go down a little bit further when trying to do a push-up, start lifting heavier weights and, feeling stronger.

And if your nutrition is in the right place, these goals will still contribute to your weight loss. Because you have found an exercise that you will do regardless of how many calories it burns.

weight loss mistakes beginners make

5. Weighing Too Often And Letting Fluctuations Demotivate You

I used to jump on the scales every morning. And my weight loss/gain would massively affect my mood for that day.

There will always be weight loss fluctuations.

Or even when weighing myself weekly, seeing no loss or a gain after a “perfect” week would frustrate to me so much and leave me feeling so dejected that I would have just wanted to quit there and then.

There are so many reasons that your weight can fluctuate! And most of the time it just comes down to your body holding onto a bit of water weight, for various reasons. I tracked my weight every day for a month, see the results here.

Weight Loss & Fat Loss Are Not The Same

Carbs have a huge impact on water weight, that’s why people doing Keto will usually see a big loss in the beginning. This is because, for every gram of carbs you eat, your body can store between 3-4 grams of water. So if you happen to have had a bigger/higher carb meal than usual, it may look like you have gained 1-3lbs the next day, but this isn’t real weight. To gain 3lbs overnight you would have to have been in a 10,500 calorie surplus..in one day! And while I’m not saying that this is impossible, the average person would not be able to eat that much in one day. That’s around 5 large pan pizzas, on top of your maintenance calories!

Another factor in retaining extra water weight is exercise. This is because when you exercise, you can cause micro-tears and in your muscles (this is good!). This is how your muscles get stronger. You get the micro tears, your body heals them, your muscles become stronger.

During this ‘healing phase’ your body retains extra water around your muscles to help the process along. You may experience general aches or DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). That’s why it’s so important to rest after strenuous activities – to give your body the time to heal. And the water weight increase will go back down.

There are so many things that can affect your weight – hormones, stress, sleep, etc.

As long as you have been in a calorie deficit overall, you will lose weight. It’s better to look at your averages of weight loss over some time rather than checking every day if you have lost anything.

Weight Loss Mistakes Beginners Make: Conclusion

There is a lot of conflicting information out there and so weight loss mistakes are going to happen. The most important thing is that you are aware of what they are and catch them out early!

Have you made any of these mistakes before? Or have some advice that helped you? Leave a comment below!

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