Common weight-loss mistakes

  • What are 5 common weight-loss mistakes?
  • Does Weight Watchers help or hinder weight loss?
  • Why is a wealthy, educated country so unhealthy?

Common weight-loss mistakes were discussed on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup; a Canada-wide phone-in radio show. This week the national call-in question was:

What’s the best way to tackle Canada’s weight problem?

Common weight-loss mistakes - Four Pictures

Common weight-loss mistakes cause global obesity

The more information we have, the more complicated the diet industry makes losing weight—which leads to us making more common weight-loss mistakes.

…We’ve never had so much choice when it comes to our lifestyle. At the same time, we’ve never had so much science explaining how we can lead healthier more active lives. In yet as a nation we are carrying far too much weight.
CBC’s Cross Country Checkup

Common weight-loss mistakes lead to obesity.

Obesity is a global issue. To put it into context, recent research from Imperial College London, shows a disturbing trend. In 1975 there were 5 million obese girls. By 2016 that number had risen to 50 million. For boys the 1975 obesity rate was 6 million. At the last count, that figure had become 74 million.
– CBC’s Cross Country Checkup

For 10 years I made common weight-loss mistakes

CBC’s Cross Country Checkup‘s question: “What’s the best way to tackle Canada’s weight problem?” inspired me to pick up the phone.

Common weight-loss mistakes - Cross Country Checkup

I struggled with my weight for a decade. Why? All the complicated weight-loss information creates misinformation. I got lost in the details and, without realizing, kept making common weight-loss mistakes.

I lost about 30 pounds 18 years ago. How? By simplifying my approach.

How should we tackle Canada’s weight problem? Or anybody’s goal to lose weight?

Go back to the basics.

Eat balanced meals and exercise moderately.
Turn unhealthy habits into healthy habits with baby steps.

Then you’ll reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally.

Simplify your approach!

We can learn from common weight-loss mistakes

I phoned CBC 3 minutes into their 2 hour show. Already a few people with similar stories to mine, were lined up to speak. So many of us have struggled with common weight-loss mistakes.

Here’s the whole episode. I’ve chosen 5 common weight-loss mistakes that arose during the show. These common weight-loss mistakes teach us how to simplify weight loss. You can fast forward to the relevant times (outlined below). However, it’s NOT necessary to listen to the audio.

CBC’s Cross Country Checkup full audio clip:


Please note:
Weight Watchers is referenced throughout the episode. At the start of CBC’s Cross Country Checkup the following is stated:

Weight Watchers has come up with one approach (to help Canada’s weight-loss epidemic). Not everyone thinks it is an advisable one. This summer, teens between 13 and 17, will be entitled to a free Weight Watchers membership. Is this a proactive step for a demographic that is becoming dangerously overweight? Or is the company engaging in the kind of body shaming that some say leads to years of pointless dieting and negative self esteem?
CBC’s Cross Country Checkup

Ok, so here’s 5 common weight-loss mistakes from which we can learn.

Common Weight-loss Mistakes: #1 Dieting

Common weight-loss mistakes - St JohnsCBC’s Cross Country Checkup Caller:
Melanie Oates from St. John’s Newfoundland
Listen at 17:50

Melanie Oates:
I was a teen who dieted a lot and that diet parlayed into a pretty severe eating disorder. And so I think targeting teens (by encouraging dieting via free access to Weight Watchers) is severely dangerous.

Suhana Meharchand from CBC’s Cross Country Checkup:
Is it important for teens to know what a calorie is? …

Melanie Oates:
I think the problem more so than learning what a calorie is and learning how to restrict your food… is that Canada has an obsession with diet culture. So I think the solution could lie in teaching teens about celebrating body types and focusing more on hobbies and interests and their passions. You know, when I was a teenager with an eating disorder, I found myself at 20 years old, at university. And I had no idea what I was interested in or what I was passionate about because I wasted all those years obsessed with dieting.

Take-away message:
Melanie Oates experience mirrors mine. I dropped out of everything to focus on weight loss. I thought it would help me get healthy faster. Not only did giving up all the things I loved give me more time to run in the wrong direction, but when I finally got healthy I felt completely lost. After teaching for a while I developed The Who Is NOBODY? Program that helps kids figure out their interests and experience using them to help others. This project teaches youth to value themselves for their actions. I also agree with Melanie that dieting isn’t the answer. A healthy body is a reflection of a healthy habits.

Common Weight-loss Mistakes: #2 Yo yo dieting

Common weight-loss mistakes - WhitbyCBC’s Cross Country Checkup Caller:
Barb from Whitby
Listen at 38: 10

My sweetie and I decided to do a lifestyle change about 6 years ago… it was time to be healthier and feel better… I spent most of my adult life doing the diet thing… but I always gained back more than I lost… it just kept piling on. So we decided to have a lifestyle change.

We cut out processed foods. There are some foods that we brought back in. We did our own tomatoes one year but it was too much effort. So we use canned tomatoes now when we make tomato sauce… and we introduced exercise. We both started walking. It was one thing I knew I could do and I could keep up with. I refused to cut out butter. I refused to cut out wine. And I like rye once in a while so I had ginger ale and not the diet kind… everything in moderation.

Take-away message:
Barb gives a lot of insight. I love that she chose to change her lifestyle rather than go on yet another diet. She wanted the weight loss to be permanent so she made choices she could keep up permanently. I also like that she gave up most processed foods; they have tons of additives that keep you feeling hungry. Barb explains they went back to canned tomatoes after making their own tomato sauce. This is key! It’s important Barb didn’t give up her whole weight-loss approach because one thing wasn’t working. (Personally, I don’t consider canned tomatoes processed anyways!) Like Barb, I believe you have to eat as naturally as possible without getting fanatical about it. She is also wise for staying away from diet pop.

Common Weight-loss Mistakes: #3 Fixating on numbers

Common weight-loss mistakes - CourtlandCBC’s Cross Country Checkup Caller:
Caitlin Edmonds, Courtland, Ontario
Listen at 41:30

The problem that I personally have with Weight Watchers is that I struggled with an eating disorder in my past. Companies like Weight Watchers say they promote health and that they’re not about weight and numbers. But they still are about weight and numbers. People go in weekly to be weighed. They count points. While this can help people lose weight it drives an unhealthy relationship with numbers. Your health isn’t just determined by your weight. There’s lots of indicators of health.

Suhana Meharchand, CBC’s Cross Country Checkup:
What was it that changed the way you look at those numbers?

At first I was looking at them like this was something in my life that I can control in a time when everything felt out of control. But then it started to get to a point that it was taking over my entire life and I couldn’t accomplish other things. So my view on these numbers changed because they were very restricting and all I cared about. I knew if I wanted to go on to accomplish other things in my life I needed to focus on my health and not worry about a number.

Take-away message:
Caitlin’s story and turning point really resonated with me. There’s such a push for rigid dieting when healthy eating isn’t that exact. For instance, I eat roughly balanced meals each day. Roughly balanced is good enough. And good enough has allowed me to maintain a healthy weight for 18 years. Just like Caitlin, I got better when I focused on being healthy instead of thin.

Common Weight-loss Mistakes: #4 Making dramatic change

Common weight-loss mistakes - TorontoCBC’s Cross Country Checkup Host:
Suhana Meharchand, Toronto
Listen at 1:24:50

Suhana Meharchand:
We’re talking about why as a nation we’re piling on the pounds and how we can best shift some of our weight… but that is costing us dearly… We are a wealthy, educated country so why are we failing to take heed of the messages of the health professionals? What can we do about this obesity issue in Canada?… I know the information but I’m not doing it. I know not to eat potato chips. Am I just dumb?

Take-away message:
Having the right information isn’t enough. You also need a strategy to turn unhealthy habits into healthy habits. You can’t go from eating diet food or processed food to suddenly having healthy habits. It’s important to make change slowly with baby steps. Then change is lasting.

Common Weight-loss Mistakes: #5 NOT moving your body

Common weight-loss mistakes - HuntsvilleCBC’s Cross Country Checkup Caller:
Buck Miller, Huntsville, Ontario
Listen at 1:26:10

I drive out of town to go ice fishing with my daughter. Then I park and start walking up the trail (to go ice fishing). It’s only a few hundred meters. And there’s a guy who is riding his ski-doo the same distance… The further north you go the more you’re looked at as crazy if you use human power… I lived up north and biked to work (only 800 meters) and many times I was asked if I lost my license for drinking and driving.

Take-away message:
Buck shares an important piece of the puzzle. We need to move our bodies each day. Just a little activity triggers incredible things. Being physically active gets your heart pumping, jump starts your metabolism and clears your head. Moving your body also moves waste and toxins out of your body, which makes you feel better. Exercise creates a positive domino effect. I love that Buck isn’t saying buy a gym membership. Buck is simply suggesting you incorporate movement in what you’re already doing.

In my case I exercised too much and often did extra exercise. This common weight-loss mistake makes it difficult to lose weight.

In Summary:

I’m thrilled CBC’s Cross Country Checkup asked why people who live in a wealthy, educated country are not healthy. This phone-in highlights a disconnect. My experience bridges the gap.

I struggled with my weight, and all 5 common weight-loss mistakes discussed in this post. Why? There’s so much complicated information out there. We’ve lost sight of the basics; information that took me 10 years to re-learn. Weight loss is natural when we:

Eat roughly balanced meals made mostly of whole foods and exercise moderately.
Make this change lasting by turning unhealthy habits into healthy habits gradually.

Common weight-loss mistakes come from misinformation.
Misinformation comes from complicated weight-loss methods.
Making weight loss complicated is the underlying issue of Canada’s weight problem.

The more resources you have, the easier it is to complicate weight loss. This truth explains why Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah, Tina Fey and people in developed countries all struggle with common weight-loss mistakes. The diet industry knows we have money to spend on fancy diets, exercise regimes and everything from kitchen and gym equipment to weight-loss magazines.
make today count - the10principles
Ignore complicated weight-loss methods! Simplify reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

Common weight-loss mistakes - summary

Next Steps:
Are you practicing any of these common weight-loss mistakes? It’s hard to stop cold turkey. You aren’t a robot! For instance, if you’re fixated on numbers and weigh yourself 14 times this week, make your goal to weigh yourself 13 times next week. Don’t try to make dramatic change. Sign up for my newsletter (below) and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I’ve learned.

Don’t run away from your unhealthy habits. Walk away. Take baby steps toward healthy eating and exercise choices.

“Walk away, walk away girl, if you know what’s good for you.”



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