What are some common weight-loss pitfalls?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

There are so many opportunities to get weight loss right and wrong! Here are a few common pitfalls that can sink any diet. An unrealistic expectation is a biggie. To think you can lose thirty pounds in a month by drinking only shakes is unrealistic. It takes time to learn healthy eating habits. Plus soon you will tire of shakes and if you have not learned to eat right the weight will quickly return. Another pitfall is thinking you can lose weight without exercise. Technically you can but the chances of keeping it off are slim. Exercise burns calories, raises your metabolism, increases well-being, and is a constant reminder to care for yourself. Finally, there is no magic bullet. Weight loss and weight maintenance take constant vigilance.

Angela Lemond
Nutrition & Dietetics

One of the most common weight loss pitfalls is being enticed by a fad diets. Fad diets do not usually yield lasting weight loss. Fad diets typically:

Claim Rapid Weight Loss. Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than ½ pound to 1 pound per week. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly afterwards.

Require Specific Quantities or Limitations. Ditch diets that allow unlimited quantities of any food, such as grapefruit and cabbage soup. Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates. Even if you take a multivitamin, you'll still miss some critical nutrients.

Direct Specific Food Combinations. There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the "wrong" combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

For a personalized plan, tailored to your lifestyle and food preferences, consult a registered dietitian (RD) with expertise in weight management. An RD can help you find a realistic, flexible eating style that helps you feel and be your best. To find an RD in your area, visit

Samantha Heller, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

The road to a slimmer, healthier you is likely to contain some bumps and potholes, says weight loss expert and Dr. Oz Show guest Samantha Heller. In this video, she alerts dieters to the most common pitfalls.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.