6 Sneaky Weight-Loss Mistakes You Might Be Making

You're making healthier meals, watching your portions and trying to move more. So why aren't you losing weight? You may be making one of these sneaky, subtle diet mistakes. Here's how to stop tripping yourself up when it comes to weight loss.
-Ginny Graves

Weight-Loss Mistake #1: Guzzling your calories

And we're not just talking about alcohol (although booze is a notorious calorie bomb). The market for juice and smoothie bars globally is forecast to reach $11 billion in 2016, and those healthy-seeming beverages-yes, even green juice!-can pack on pounds, says Ellie Krieger, R.D., author of Small Changes, Big Results"Not only do they contain lots of calories, but they leave you hungry and prone to overeating," she adds. Slurping doesn't seem to set off the same chemical reaction that contributes to satiety that chewing does.

Weight-Loss Mistake #2: Equating "healthy" with "low-cal."

"Foods with health halos are the number-one blind spot for savvy dieters. You can still gain weight eating too much wild salmon and quinoa," warns Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., author of the forthcoming Superfood Swap Diet. "Yes, it's important to pay attention to the quality of your food, but when it comes to weight loss, quantityis the bottom line." Too much of a good thing is still too much.

Weight-Loss Mistake #3: Eating meal-size snacks

Research shows that between-meal bites account for a quarter of the calories we take in each day-adding about 580 caloriesto our diets. Rachel Beller, M.S., R.D.N., author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win,recommends keeping snacks between 150 and 175 calories, going for something with satiating protein, like edamame, and portioning your snack rather than eating straight from the fridge or package.

Weight-Loss Mistake #4: Grocery shopping without a list

People who wing it tend to have poorer-quality diets and weigh more than those who always bring a list, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior"Shopping with one makes it less likely you'll buy unhealthy snacks," explains Blatner. And that old wisdom about never shopping when you're hungry? Also true. Wansink's lab found that hungry shoppers bought 31 percent more high-calorie snacks.

Weight-Loss Mistake #5: Getting too little sleep

Inadequate sleep can be a major diet saboteur, warns Chris Hardy, D.O., co-author of Strong Medicine: How to Conquer Chronic Disease and Achieve Your Full Genetic PotentialDuring shut-eye, your body releases growth hormone-a major player in fat burning. "In addition, sleep loss stimulates the drive to eat, especially sugary, fatty foods," he says. Research at the University of Colorado found that participants who lost just a few hours of sleep over five nights put on an average of two pounds. Aim for about 7« hours a night.

Pictured Recipe: Quick Pasta Bolognese

Weight-Loss Mistake #6: Eating on the fly

Instead, make eating a mini ritual, suggests Krieger. "Put out a placemat and silverware and sit at the table. Pause before you begin and appreciate the sight and smell of the food," she says. "It only has to take 5 or 10 minutes, but you'll eat less because it prevents you from mindless nibbling and makes you feel more satisfied afterward." Get a healthy dinner on the table fast with one of these 30-minute dinners