Weight Loss Saboteurs

1.) Caloric Beverages

People have a tendency to forgot that just because something is liquid and not pop – it still contains calories – typically calories that are coming from sugar.

how much sugar in your drink

Examples are (but not limited to): juices, pop, sports drinks (gatorade, powderade, vitamin water), coffee type beverages (do you really think your tiramisu latte doesn’t have calories?!

Just like a really good rule of thumb: if you’re drink is trying to taste like a dessert…. it likely has enough calories TO BE A DESSERT!

working off the calories

Options > Get acquianted with a QUALITY Protein Powder.  Some brands I am particularly fond of: Jay Robb Egg White Protein and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey – and add a packet of instant coffee with a scoop of chocolate powder and 8 oz of unsweetened almond milk for a java-chocolate protein shake, or add some peppermint oil to a chocolate protein shake for a chocolate mint shake.

Oh, and sorry booze is a source of calories.  So opt for that light beer, and remember a standard drink =

12 oz light beer, 5 oz wine, 1 oz (shot) of spirit

I know.   I’m the worst.

2.) You

Yes this may come as a surprise, but many people are in fact their own worst enemy.  The fact of the matter is, the very bottomest of the bottom lines is this: you will not achieve your goals until you are ready to make changes.

Not because some Fitspo made you feel lazy, or because your mom, or significant other suggests it-  long lasting changes are only feasible when the person trying to make changes IS READY TO CHANGE.

readiness to change

If you’re not ready to change- you can talk about exercise and calories all damn day – and still not do a thing about it.

3.) Excessive carbohydrate intake

I see this A LOT in practice.  In fact I see it a lot outside of a work day – on average, the basic human – eats too many carbohydrates.


There are several reasons this happens: 1) Carbs are tasty 2) carbs are in such a wide variety of foods that many times people aren’t aware they are taking in too many carbs.

Even though carbs provide our body glucose – it’s preferred form of energy – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – more carbs do not mean more energy.  In fact it may lead to weight gain.

Lets review carbs:

Cereals (hot, cold, sweet, unsweet), grains (yes even whole grains), potatoes, peas, corn, beans, winter squash, fruits, sweets, milk, yogurt, crackers, chips etc.

So this is kind of something I have against the old-school food pyramid we saw in our elementary school cafeterias – that gave us the “food groups” – well it’s kind of screwed sh*t up- that and incorrect portion sizes of course.  The pyramid separated everything (dairy, fruit, vegetables, grains, fats, and proteins), and then recommended servings – without really specifying what a serving size actually is.  Nor did it specify that dairy, fruit and grains all hail from the same macronutrient group.  These are things that were slightly improved up on with the plate method – but should use more improvement.

Obviously I am not condoning – a diet that is too low in carbs either – as short term restriction will result in weight loss – it will not result in long term, sustained loss.  It will likely also result in hanger and crabbiness

low carb

4.) Not eating enough vegetables

This goes hand in hand with the point above but it’s true.  If on average – if individuals took the amount of carbs on their plates/in their meals – cut it in half, and replaced that same quantity of food or more with vegetables – I would guarantee a calorie deficit would be created.  Vegetables are nutrient dense – not energy dense – meaning you get a lot of great benefits from them without boatloads of calories.

energy dense

vegetables 2

5.) Skipping meals/Going too long without eating

ok.  This is something we are all guilty of from time to time – and skipping a meal from time to time is not the end of the world.

It’s when it becomes a pattern that it can become a factor with inhibiting weight loss.  Hunger and satiety are also HORMONE DRIVEN. By our dynamic duo Ghrelin and Leptin – these are two hormones that both have a major impact on energy balance.

Ghrelin > is a fast activing hormone that plays a role in meal initiation.

(“hunger hormone”)

Leptin > is involved with long term energy balance and is involved suppressing food intake)

(“satiety hormone”)

Ghrelin is actually a finicky little beast. As it is somewhat a “creature of habit” – what I mean by this – is if an individual has kind of a semi -set schedule your body adapts to that – and ghrelin will start to circulate around those food times each day.

Well once people develop disordered eating patterns – and stick to them – Ghrelin kind of get’s pissy – and circulates at those times less less.

Having people get on a routine when trying to lose weight is a big part of my day.  Most people associate fewer meals with weight loss – but then note- that they have not lost weight with this method. There is a reason why for this too – disordered meal patterns and skipping meals are linked to hormonal imbalances and individuals being more prone to fat-storing.  Yes obviously this can lead to over indulging at future meals – but when it’s done in a pattern like this over years – it does make people more prone to fat storing.

Our metabolism is like a motor – it’s important to keep it running throughout the day by fueling it with nutritious foods in appropriate servings. 

6.) Igorning Hunger and Satiety Cues

This also goes hand in hand with the point above.

But it’s still important.  When losing weight or maintaining weight – it’s really important to listen to your body.  Our bodies have an infinite amount of wisdom – they let us know what it wants – if it needs fuel – it will signal for hunger- but you have to listen – same thing for satiety or (“comfortable fullness”).

7.) Treating your body like a checking account

I see this a lot more now as more of my clients are using fitness bands, and apps that feed into MyFitnessPal – or who aren’t but are doing more exercise than before.


The exceptions here are those who engage in intense physical activity on an almost daily basis, and those who are burning calories on calories each day.  But that is a post on fueling – not weight loss- another time.


If your goal is lose weight – then your caloric goal does not change because you start engaging in physical activity.  But continuing with physical activity, especially activity that is enjoyable is important.


There is a growing body of evidence that links sleep deprivation to: weight gain, increased insulin resistance obesity etc.  Sleep is something that is in fact hormone driven – so an imbalance in sleep can lead to a cascade of other issues.

There is plenty of evidence that links sleep deprivation with obesity, & increased waist circumference.  In part this is due to the better understanding of hormones.

This is a very crude explanation of the roles of hormones in weight loss/gain.  Ghrelin is our hunger hormone while leptins signals that satiety has been reached
This is a very crude explanation of the roles of hormones in weight loss/gain. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone while leptins signals that satiety has been reached

So, do yourself a favor, and aim for about 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  If you are overweight, and you do get these hours of sleep in, it may be beneficial to be assessed for any sleep apnea.

nom nom

Especially if you have a bed partner that indicates you snore, or you wake up gasping for air – or feel like you have stopped breathing.

Letting poor sleep go on, can create a nasty feedback loop in terms of weight gain then having worse sleep – and so on.

9) Portion Distortion

As I have eluded to this entire post – knowing what is an actual “Serving” or “serving size” of a food is so very important – like vital.

portion distortion

For instance.  1/3 cup cooked rice/pasta = 1 serving grains

1 tsp (NOT a tbsp) = 1 serving of fat

1 cup raw veggies = 1 serving of veggies

1/2 cup cooked veggies = 1 serving

1 small pc of fruit, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of berries or melon = 1 serving for fruit

1/4 of a bagel = 1 serving of grains (1 large bagel =~ 60 g CHO, and 4 servings of grains).

Oh and for every 1 oz of protein you take in – you get 7 g of protein.

Read your labels and use your measuring cups!!!

10) Forgetting that it’s a journey

Many people gain weight over months and years.  Expecting to lose weight any faster than the time it took one to gain that weight is unrealistic.

Losing weight isn’t just a matter of eating less and exercising more.  Those antiquated beliefs are trending out of popularity.

Losing weight is physiological yes, but it’s also psychological.  It essentially takes a village.

So.  With that being said.  Not everyone’s journey will be the same.  Remember that you can only take this journey for you – you’ll probably hit some bumps.  But when you do – focus on your non-scale victories: improved blood pressure, improved cholesterol, pants fitting better, exercising with more ease etc.

If you’re considering any type of weight management assistance I would urge anyone to participate in a program that offers at the very least: a physician (preferably an endocrinologist, a dietitian, and a health psychologist).

Leave a Reply