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Eight Sabotaging Techniques to Avoid

By Ronda L. Hart, MSN APRN-BC CBN

When people are frustrated over weight loss plateaus or even failure to lose weight, there are several recurring themes that tend to occur when we sit down to determine the cause of the problem. By eliminating a few common pitfalls and reinforcing a few basic guidelines, weight loss can reliably get back on track. Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make:


  1. No Exercise – No matter where you stand with your weight loss goals, it’s essential to get exercise incorporated into your plan. Calorie restriction and portion control are not enough to succeed. Exercise doesn’t require a gym membership, but it does require commitment. Lace on your walking shoes and hit the pavement! Thirty minutes of brisk walking 4-5 times weekly is a great routine. If it’s raining outside, then find a way to exercise inside. Walk up and down the stairs in your house if you can safely do so, or march in place. Anything you do to get that heart rate up and break a sweat will work. Schedule time for your exercise! If you try to just fit your exercise into a busy schedule whenever you “have time”, it will get pushed aside for other things.
  2. Wrong Foods – Are you eating the proper foods? Your dietitian assists you in making a meal plan to follow for weight loss. Are you doing it? Simply eating smaller portions of high calorie foods won’t get you to your goals. If it has been a while since you reevaluated your eating plan, then see your dietitian for assistance or dig out those old meal plans and get back on track.
  3. No Plan – To succeed in most things, you have to have a game plan. Losing weight is no different. Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week and shop from it so that you have the proper foods at home to eat. Prepare your meals in advance if you can, or do as much meal prep ahead of time. Plan healthy snacks for those recurring hungry times you may have mid-morning or mid-afternoon. If it takes a lot of work or thought to get a meal together, then you may turn to less healthy options out of convenience. Pack your lunch to control calories and portion sizes.
  4. Unrealistic Goals – Set short term goals with small steps that are achievable. If you have 100 pounds to lose, it seems much more manageable to think about losing 5 or 10 pounds at a time, not the entire 100. Reward yourself when you achieve your short term goals, then get to work on your next goal. In no time at all, you will see yourself getting closer and closer to your long term goal.
  5. Letting a “Slip” Ruin Your Day or Week – Have you ever eaten something that’s not on your meal plan? Or skipped exercising? Or beaten yourself up thinking “Well I already blew it today, so I’ll just get on track again tomorrow (or this weekend, or next week)”?  Don’t let this small mishap become a trend! If you stray from your plan, FORGIVE yourself and get right back on the wagon that day. We affectionately tell people to not let a small lapse become a relapse or a collapse!
  6. Not Coming to Support Group – Support group is a great place to get energized and motivated. Group is a lively place where everyone feels free to talk about their struggles and successes, to share ideas, and to get inspired for success. If you aren’t going to support group, give it a try! If you don’t have a formal support group, think about starting one.
  7. Not Utilizing the Bariatric Team – The bariatric team can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and support! Dietitians, nurses, exercise physiologists, physicians, and the behavioral health specialists each have something unique and helpful to contribute to your weight loss plan. They are there to help you - utilize them!
  8. Embarrassment – I have heard over and over again from people how “embarrassed” they feel when they fail to lose weight, or regain lost weight. This frequently leads to avoidance of office follow-ups for fear of being chastised. Please don’t be embarrassed! It can and does happen to many people. Your bariatric team can’t help you get back on the road to weight loss success if you don’t come to the office! Please, please never feel embarrassed to come to the office for guidance – it is why your team is here.