Atlanta dietitians weigh in on worst weight loss mistakes

Lots of tactics can help you lose weight, but nutritional experts consider a few to be fundamental mistakes. Here, three Atlanta dietitians and nutritionists reveal the methods you should avoid if you're trying to drop some pounds.

Margaret Schwenke is a Certified Eating Psychology Counselor and Certified Holistic Health Coach with an education in culinary arts and mind-body nutrition. She said she encourages her clients to avoid repeated use of the bathroom scale. "Many of us feel controlled by this mechanical device, defining our value by a very specific numeric value on the scale," said Schwenke. "If we are happy with the number, we tend to feel deserving of reward, which often takes the form of a sugary treat for all of our hard work!"

A scale that shows a weight gain can create another problem. "If the results aren't what we want to see, we can feel discouraged and may even feel self-hatred or judgement about ourselves and our bodies," she said. "By removing the scale and the control it has over us, we can focus on what is truly important." According to Schwenke, the important list includes health, self-acceptance and love for ourselves and our bodies, meaningful connections with others and cultivating fun in our lives.

Missing meals

"The biggest weight loss mistake is skipping meals," said Rahaf Al Bochi, a registered dietitian in Duluth. "Many people think by skipping meals they eat less and therefore will lose weight."

According to Al Bochi, the reverse might be true. "What people don't realize is that when we skip meals and follow a very low-calorie diet the body's metabolism slows down and we don't burn as many calories."

Another effect of skipping meals: "We are more likely to be hungry at the next meal and overindulge on foods," she said. "A key component of weight loss is to have balanced meals throughout the day."

Staying in a workout rut

Jenny Askew, owner of Balance Fitness and Nutrition in Alpharetta, said one of the biggest weight-loss mistakes she sees is people who don't change up their workout routines. "Our bodies are efficient and therefore adapt very well to what we do," said Askew. "The more you can prevent adaptations to exercise routines the better."

To achieve that end, she recommends changing up the length of time you spend on certain aspects of your workout, the type of exercise you do, or intensity of exercise each time you work out.

"Sleeping well, uncovering hormonal issues, getting to the bottom of digestive issues and lowering stress are also essential for weight management," she said.

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