If you feel like you're doing all the right things but still not losing weight fast enough, then here are five mistakes you may be making:
1. You're being too hard on yourself
There's only so many "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days" weight loss ads you can see before the message starts seeping into your brain. Most people think that these are normal targets to have.
I work exclusively with women over 40, and I know that most of the women I see have unrealistic expectations as to how fast they should be able to lose weight.
This is partly because of all the unrealistic messages they get about weight loss that I've just mentioned, but also because they can remember how much faster they were able to lose weight in their 20s and 30s. The fact is, as you get older, the rate at which you can lose weight gets slower.
But this shouldn't be a problem if you're focused on healthy, long-term weight loss (which you should be!). After all, when we're talking about being slim for the rest of your life, what's a few extra weeks to get to your goal?
2. You're trying something too drastic.
One thing I always say to my clients is that weight loss should never feel unpleasant. If it's unpleasant you're on the wrong track. I know that this flies in the face of "no-pain, no-gain," but the fact is, if you want to be slim and healthy for life you're not going to get there doing things that you hate.
If you're starving yourself, it's not a long-term solution. You might be able to stick at it long enough to get to your goal, but then what?
Rather than going for some drastic diet, focus on making smaller changes that you know you can live with.
3. You're relying too much on exercise.
I have seen plenty of women who exercised regularly hoping to lose weight and then were baffled as to why it was having no impact.
Exercise is valuable for your health. But despite what most people think about exercise and weight loss, the fact is on its own (especially for women, and even more so for women over 40) it's not enough.
You should still keep exercising (because it's very good for you), but if you want to lose weight, also think about how you can cut back on calories.
4. You're forgetting about liquid calories.
I've got clients who agonize about whether to eat the bread roll with dinner, but have three glasses of wine without batting an eyelid. Of course the number of calories in the wine is much more than a single bread roll.
This isn't to say you shouldn't drink wine, because I believe you should be able to drink whatever you want. But just be aware of how much you're drinking, and figure out if the amount is compatible with your weight loss goals.
5. You're not getting enough sleep.
I've thrown this one in because it's one that affects most of my clients.
They will be making great progress and then after a few nights of poor sleep, things start unraveling. They feel hungrier than usual. And they start craving high-carb foods.
When this is happening, they start getting upset with themselves. But it's not their fault. They're just sleep deprived and sleep deprivation can increase hunger.
In this case, I tell them that their absolute priority no matter what else is happening at the time is to get a good night's sleep.
Give Yourself A Break
I hope that you see that the underlying theme in all of these tips is to not give yourself such a hard time. It's so easy to get upset by a lack of progress and start blaming yourself. But that's not helpful and not justified.
Be gentle on yourself. If you're strongly motivated to lose weight, then any struggles you have are not because of personal failings but because of small mistakes in your approach to weight loss.