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Whether it’s to get beach-ready for a much-anticipated holiday or to stand out at an upcoming work event, many people look to quick fixes, fad diets and unsafe techniques in a bid to drop unwanted pounds. But these methods may leave you with results that fall short of your ultimate weight loss goals and you’ll no doubt be left thinking why am I not losing weight?

As much as we want to believe in them, the truth is, there are no quick-fix solutions to long-term weight loss. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UK is home to the highest level of obesity in Western Europe (24.9%), but the good news is plenty of us are trying to get ourselves in tip-top shape and work towards a healthier version of ourselves. If you’re trying to losing weight, it’s important you do it gradually and that you make changes to your diet and activity levels that you can realistically stick to in the long-term.

We’ve taken a look at a number of the most common mistakes people make, so if you’re dieting but not losing weight you may be able to spot where you’re going wrong:

Trusting in novelty diets
From the 5:2 plan to the cabbage soup diet, there are endless programmes available that promise quick weight loss results. The trouble is, while you might lose weight, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll keep it off in the long-term after the diet finishes. And that’s not all – you could be doing damage to your health with these quick-burst diets. The British Dietetic Association warned people in 2011 against following popular diets such as the Dukan diet, stating that, among other things, it had no scientific evidence to back it up and reportedly did not lead to long-term weight loss.

Cutting out carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation but cutting them out of your diet completely could cost you nutritionally. It won’t do you any harm to reduce the amount of white bread and white rice you eat as they, and other refined grains, are low in nutrients. However, the key is to keep it wholegrain – wholegrain bread and brown rice are high in fibre and rich in B vitamins, which are essential to your diet.

Skipping meals
You might have heard the mantra a million times before, but it’s true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Research shows that regularly starting the day with a healthy, nutritional breakfast can help keep hunger at bay, making it much easier to avoid eating too much later on. Many people resort to cutting out meals altogether when trying to lose weight, but this is bad news. Irregular eating habits – as well as being drastic and unsafe – can disrupt your blood sugar and metabolism, making it harder to lose weight . There are prescription weight-loss drugs available to help reduce calorie intake by only allowing a certain percentage of fat to pass through the digestive system without being absorbed.

Never changing your exercise routine
While exercise alongside a healthy diet plan is important, it’s a mistake to allow yourself to get stuck in the same old rut. Undertaking the same exercises over and over again won’t bring the results you want – you need to vary what you’re doing. For better results, make sure you’re regularly changing up the frequency, intensity or time of your routines.

Thinking cardio is everything
You should never assume that just because you’re hammering high intensity cardiovascular exercise you’ve got a fast-track ticket to a slim-line, lighter you – working out with weights is equally as important. Lifting weights can help keep your metabolism revved up and reduce fat in the midriff area, as well as giving you an edge over stress, heart disease and cancer. Cardio work is a great way to burn fat, but by adding strength training to your workout, you’ll burn extra calories – even when you’re sleeping or sat watching television . The fact is, for every pound of muscle gained, your body burns approximately 50 extra calories each day of the week.

Being unaware of what you’re drinking
Don’t underestimate the amount of calories hidden in your favourite drink. You might have managed to cut out fizzy drinks or think you’re safe because you’ve never really indulged in them; but what about coffees, smoothies and fruit juices? A large latte deliciously disguises as many as 300 calories, while a mocha can contain as many as 600 and certain smoothies can have as much sugar in them as three and a half doughnuts.

Avoiding fat
Many people are attracted to ‘fat-free’ or ‘low-fat’ labels on food products, but this usually just means it’s overloaded with sugar or thickeners to compensate. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘fat’ – the body needs certain fats. For example, those found in olive oil, nuts and avocado are needed for energy, tissue repair and making sure vitamins A, D, E and K are transported in the blood. Choose unsaturated fats from plant sources instead and try not to go overboard with them.

Lose weight the right way
If you’re having difficulty losing weight or finding that you’re not dropping the pounds as quickly as you’d like, it’s worth bearing in mind that the safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5 and 1kg. If weight comes off any quicker than this rate, you’re at risk of health problems , so subscribing to ‘quick-fix’ diets isn’t recommended. When it comes to food and exercise, your body will thank you for slow changes.

If you’re looking to lose weight, be sure to avoid these common mistakes, follow a balanced diet and exercise plan and above all, don’t expect miracles. Weight loss takes time and determination, but if you’re still wondering why you can’t lose weight after months of trying, then you could consider a convenient and confidential consultation from Pharmacy2U’s online doctor service.