Losing weight is supposed to be easy. Just burn more calories than you consume. Simple as that, right? Not really.

Everyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows shedding those extra pounds is a difficult journey full of ups and downs. Not only is it a struggle to lose the weight, but it can be even more of a struggle keeping it off. We all know the concept of “rebound weight gain” all too well.

Dieting and exercising to lose weight is never easy, but sometimes people make it more difficult than it needs to be by getting in their own way. They make a lot of mistakes that actually curtail their weight loss.

Here are some of the worst weight loss mistakes people commonly make.

Skipping Meals

Sure, skipping a meal will cut down on your caloric intake for the day, but it also impacts your metabolism in a negative way. Research shows that skipping meals can actually trigger your body to store fat to make up for that missed meal.

Instead of skipping meals, eat frequent small meals (about every three hours) that are packed with highly quality and nutritious foods. Then, refrain from eating a few hours before bedtime. This will help kick start your metabolism, so you can break down the food in your system and will also help you sleep better.

Eating less food and starving yourself isn’t the answer. Eating only healthy and high quality foods, like those found on the “Let Jesus Take The Grocery Cart” list from the Salvation Diet, is. Read this post for more on the Salvation Diet.

Crash Diets

A crash diet and yo-yo dieting are actually bad for your overall health. By quickly lowering your body’s food intake, you slow down your metabolism to better store energy.

Crash diets tend to show quick results, but you’ll end up plateauing early and your energy levels will plummet. As your energy drops, you’ll begin to crave food like chocolate and other sugars to give you back some energy. In the long run, this hurts your weight loss efforts.

Being Too Strict

If you really want to lose weight, it’s really easy to overcommit to a diet. You become too strict with what you eat and start consuming food like a canary.

When you deny yourself a treat or feel overly guilty for indulging, it affects you mentally. Instead of viewing your diet as a healthy lifestyle change, you see it as a burden or inconvenience.

If your diet makes you miserable, you’ll quit. When you quit and the weight is still there, it only makes you even more depressed and more miserable in a vicious cycle.
It’s ok to break the rules every once in a while and treat yourself. That’s what “cheat days” are for.

Eating Too Much Protein

If you’ve done your weight loss research, you already know protein is supposed to be good for you. This is true because it’s an essential energy source, but too much protein in your diet can be a bad thing.

This is a sentiment shared by Chris Walker, author of the Salvation Diet, who dispels a common weight loss myth that states, “High protein diets are best.”

Chris says..

“Protein is an essential energy source, but your body has a difficult time metabolizing too much of it. A heavy protein diet with little fat and low sugar can leave you depleted and craving sugar the rest of the day. It can also lead to bloating.”

The bottom line: include protein in your diet, but don’t overdo it. Try to consume between .50-.75 grams per day per pound of body weight.

Falling Into A Workout Rut

Physical activity is important if you want to lose weight, but sticking to the same workout routine day in and day out can be problematic and is one of the worst weight loss mistakes you can make.

According to Hollywood trainer, Harley Pasternak, you need to vary your workout every day and focus on different body parts.  This not only keeps you from getting bored, it also helps you avoid weight loss plateaus caused when your body becomes accustomed to the same routine day in and day out. If you want your body to keep responding and the weight to keep coming off, vary your exercise routine and don’t fall into a workout rut.

Not Sleeping Enough

Sleep. Rest. Rejuvenate. When most people think of the best ways to lose weight, sleep isn’t something that comes to mind. Yet sleep is VITALLY important to weight loss.

Sleep levels are directly related to hormone levels and research shows the hormone cortisol is more prevalent in people who are sleep-deprived. Cortisol is often associated with stress, and it triggers fat storage.

People also tend to crave comfort foods when they are tired due to hormonal reasons. Hunger hormones like ghrelin and leptin also fluctuate more due to a lack of sleep and make you feel hungry when you don’t actually need to eat.