Doctors Agree: Why People Who Make This Common Diet Mistake Struggle To Lose Weight

November 16, 2021 by Merrell Readman
shefinds | Food

It’s no secret that consuming a healthy and balanced diet is one of the most important factors for achieving weight loss in a sustainable way. Creating a calorie deficit that you can stick to in the long term is essential for seeing changes in your body, but it’s necessary to remember that this is not the only facet that matters when working towards healthy weight loss. 

With this, there are certain mistakes you may be making that, outside of a calorie deficit, may be stalling your progress or making it more difficult to keep up with your results. We spoke with Amy Goodrich MS, RD to get a sense of what factors may be negatively impacting your progress, and she revealed that focusing too much on calories can actually put you at a disadvantage for weight loss in the long term.


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Although a calorie deficit is an essential factor for weight loss, the quality of the calories you’re eating matters just as much. Over time, if you’re maintaining a deficit but filling your diet with foods which are heavily processed or lacking in nutritional value, your body will reflect that as certain nutrients are essential to your overall health. 

Not only this, but overly restricting your calories to make a more significant deficit may be a quick fix, but it can slow your metabolism and put your body at risk over time. “Being overly restrictive with your diet like reducing calories too drastically or cutting out all food groups (i.e. following gluten-free or ketogenic diets) might seem like a good idea at first, but it's extremely hard to stick to in the long run,” Goodrich says. 

If you’ve been heavily influenced by diet culture as many people have, you may be tempted to remove certain food groups from your eating plan in order to achieve results more quickly. However, moderation is key to losing weight, and eliminating your favorite foods will in fact only make you crave them more. “By trying to follow a very strict diet, many people effectively put those foods on a pedestal and give them more power over the mind. This can lead to a restrict/binge cycle in addition to weight cycling, which makes it difficult to lose weight for good,” adds Goodrich. 



Instead of being heavily restrictive and limiting yourself only to foods which you consider to be ‘healthy,’ it can be useful to consider the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the foods you eat are nutrient dense and filling fruits, veggies, grains, and protein. With the other 20%, you have the freedom to enjoy a snack or dessert that you love without completely eliminating it from your diet. Over time, this will be much easier to maintain, resulting in lasting weight loss.

“My biggest recommendation to my clients is to try and find things you can add to your diet vs. subtracting. Where can you add a serving of vegetables or fruit to your day? By changing your mindset from a place of restriction to a place of addition, you're more likely to stick to small changes in the long run,” says Goodrich.  

Losing weight may seem like a daunting task and one which removes much of the joy from eating, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In creating a balanced diet that does not focus too heavily on calories, but rather the quality of the food you’re eating, you can successfully achieve healthy changes in your body without depriving yourself of the foods you love. 

Adding in ample fruits, veggies, and fibrous foods that will fill you up and satisfy you in between meals is the best way to reach your goals, so take the focus off the calories and stack your plate with a variety of nutrient dense foods instead. 



Author: Merrell Readman

Associate Editor

Merrell Readman is an Associate Editor at SheFinds Media. When she isn't trying out new recipes and making a mess of the kitchen, she can be found covering the latest on wellness, beauty, fashion and celebrity news. You can reach Merrell at

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