Are you trying to lose weight, but feel like the harder you work at it the less you lose? Do you wonder if the workouts you’re doing to try to increase your full body strength (including strengthening those hard to tone abdominal muscles) are for nothing because you can’t get the results you desire no matter what you do?

Recent research findings suggest that if you’re struggling to lose weight and get into shape, it may not be your fault. The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia discovered that when a person tries to limit their caloric intake, their body goes into what is called “starvation mode”.

You see, when our ancestors long ago weren’t getting enough to eat due to famine, their body released a chemical called Neuropeptide, which increased their hunger. Doing so meant that they were more likely to go in search of the food they needed to survive any spell where nutrition was scarce.

However, today food is readily available to us. That means that when we try to restrict our caloric intake by dieting, our body thinks we’re going into a famine and releases this very same chemical which makes us just want to eat. And eat. And eat.

The result is weight gain, even though what you’re trying to do is exactly the opposite. How frustrating it can be when you’re trying to do good for your body and it is fighting your every effort.

The good news is that there are other factors that affect your ability to lose weight that you have more control over. In fact, here are twelve of the most common mistakes that people make and what you can do to avoid them:

1.    You Don’t Have a Goal.

You have to know what it is that you’re trying to achieve. What is the end goal that you desire to reach? Be as specific and realistic as possible. Are you trying to lose a certain number of pounds or fit into a specific clothing size? The more you know about what your finish line looks like, the more likely you are to reach that destination.

2.    You Don’t Have a Plan.

You can have the best goal in the world, but it isn’t going to mean anything if you have no idea what you’re going to do to achieve it. Create a timeline between where you are now and when you want to hit your goal. Then decide what changes you need to make and when you’ll implement them.

For example, if your goal is to strengthen your abdominal muscles to the point where you have a six pack, you’re going to want to create a plan by deciding how many workout sessions you need weekly and what exercises you’re going to need to do.

3.    You Lack Motivation.

Usually, motivation is there in the beginning, but it quickly slithers away into the night when the reality kicks in that losing weight isn’t going to be easy. So, to keep your drive and enthusiasm up, you have to fully understand why you want to lose weight.

Is it that you want to get healthier? Maybe playing with your kids would be easier if you weighed less? Come up with a list of all the positive benefits that you associate with weight loss so you can refer to it when you feel your resolve start to weaken.

One way to stay motivated is to regularly look at a photo of a person who lose weight, and get inspired by how beautiful they now look. Here is one:

4.    You’re Not Focused.

Because losing weight usually involves making major changes, it requires that you stay focused on the task at hand. Let your mind wander and you won’t get the results you want.

One way to do this is to keep your goal in front of you at all times. Write it in a place that you look at often or create a vision board that is full of pictures that represent the changes you want to see. The more focus you have, the less likely it is that you will stray into not-so-good for you behaviors.

5.    You Don’t Take Action.

As the old quote says, “Wishing doesn’t make it so.” If you want to see changes, you’re going to have to do something to get them. You can’t just sit and wait for them to arrive because they aren’t going to.

For instance, if you want to increase your full body strength, you’re going to have to lift weights or do some form of body resistance exercises. That’s the only way that your muscles are going to grow bigger and stronger.

6.    You Don’t Want It Bad Enough.

You may try to argue that you want it really bad, but think about it honestly for a minute or two. In what ways does being overweight benefit you?
Does it keep you from getting attention that makes you uncomfortable? Perhaps it gives you an excuse for failing? Figure out how your weight is making life easier for you and you may unlock the key to future weight loss.

7.    You’re a Couch Potato.

Very few people actually like to exercise. In fact, most if given the option would prefer to do anything but, however those who exercise regularly know that they have to keep it up if they want to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

So, even though you would prefer the couch to a treadmill, being healthy sometimes involves doing things we don’t want to do so you need to just deal with it. Crazy as it seems, you may actually end up liking the way it makes you feel enough to look forward to doing it.  Successful weight loss programs like Nutrisystem and Diet to Go are based on the concept that both diet and exercise are necessary to lose weight effectively.

8.    You Don’t Know How to Make it Happen.

If you have no idea what it takes to lose weight and get in shape, it only goes to reason that you’re not going to hit your goals very easily. You have to know certain information, such as which foods to eat and what exercises are beneficial, if you’re going to succeed with weight loss.

Luckily we live in the information age. With the internet at your fingertips, you can finds all sorts of great information. Just stick with reputable sites, such as Health & Fitness Sports Magazine and WebMD so you don’t get thrown off course.

Of course, you could always hire a fitness trainer or nutritionist. These experts can help you create a program designed specifically for you and your needs.

9.    You’re Not Following Through.

Are you a starter and not a finisher? Do you typically begin a diet or weight loss program just to end it within a day or two and return to your old habits?
Weight loss isn’t something you just “do”. It is a process. It involves being present from beginning to end. You already set a goal, created a plan and came up with all the reasons you want to do this. Now make it happen.

10.  You Don’t Believe You Can Change your Bad Habits.

If you truly think that you’re going to fail because you have all of these behaviors that defeat weight loss, then you’re right. You aren’t going to succeed if you don’t believe that it’s a possibility.

You have to have faith in yourself that you’re capable of doing whatever you set out to do. Sure, it probably won’t be easy, but as long as you continue to move in the right direction, victory will be yours.

11.  You Think That Changes Are Only Temporary.

That’s the bad thing about a diet. It implies that you only have to do it short term and once you’ve hit your goal you can return to your old way of living.

Here’s one thing to remember: Temporary changes equal temporary results. If you want to maintain your weight loss for a lifetime, then you’re going to have to make lifetime changes. To believe anything else will just stop you from achieving your goal.

12.  You Aren’t Fully Committed.

If you tell yourself that you’ll “try” to lose weight, then you aren’t committed enough to the cause. You’re giving yourself an out, an okay to fail.
Instead of saying that you’ll “try” to shed some pounds, say that you “will”. Using a strong action word such as that tells your mind that it will accept nothing less than success, so that is what you’ll get.

13. You Don't Take Advantage of Savings Deals

If you have ever thought of losing weight with the help of a weight loss program like Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, or Nutrisystem (see overview and get promo codes), perhaps you got intimidated by the cost of these programs. Well, you didn't know you can use coupons to save on all these programs, did you. They have deals and discount codes that bring the cost down significantly. This website offers deals and coupons for two of the most popular weight loss programs: Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers.

Weight loss isn’t easy, but neither is being overweight. The choice is yours as to which one you’re willing to live with.