We put a lot of effort into losing weight and looking good, but sometimes despite the effort, we still lack results. And most of the time, we don’t know what we’re doing wrong, so here are five reasons our efforts might get sabotaged despite our best intentions.

Being too strict

One of the most common mistakes we make when dieting is being too hard on ourselves. Not everything has to be “black and white,” and if you ever make a diet mishap, it’s not the end of the world either.

Next time you miss a workout or eat that donut, don’t give up on your diet. Just make sure you keep going on the right track and don’t force yourself to be perfect all the time. After all, we’re all human, and temptations happen way too often with most diets.

Starving yourself

It may seem like the “logical thing” at first. Eat less, lose more! But that’s not the case, because when you deprive your body of food and reach a calorie intake below a certain level, your body automatically starts to defend itself from starvation. Your metabolism decreases, your body retains more water, and you end up with a slow and frustrating weight loss journey.

Instead, listen to your body and eat enough to use it as energy. One of the simplest ways to do that is to count your calorie intake. Depending on your height and weight, your body burns a certain amount. Staying slightly above that quota allows a higher chance of losing weight faster.

Eating the wrong calories

I think it’s safe to say that we gathered enough information over the years to know that not all foods and calories are the same. For example, 200 calories of vegetables are not the same as 200 calories of sugar or saturated fats. This means that if you do it right, you can eat more calories while still losing weight. Opt for more fiber, leafy greens, and lean proteins to stay full longer while still consuming fewer calories.

Diet foods

There’s a significant stigma around store-bought diet foods or foods that are marketed as “low carb.” The mistake most of us make is to indulge in these foods, thinking we won’t gain any weight. But the shocking truth is you may be getting extra calories even from those low-calorie drinks or low carb options.

So when you’re on a diet, try to stay away from energy drinks, low-calorie sodas, fruit juice, etc. Instead, try to substitute them for plain water. More benefits, fewer calories!

Not getting enough sleep

Sleep deprivation or lack of sleep is a direct cause of weight gain. If you sleep less than 7 hours a day, your glucose and insulin levels tend to get very high, which is terrible if you’re trying to lose weight. It slows down your metabolism and makes it difficult to reach your weight goals.

Try to get at least 8 hours of rest every day and keep in mind that you burn approximately 300 calories every night in your sleep. A nice added bonus!