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Has your new year’s resolution to finally shift your gut not worked out? Are you paying out every month for a gym membership you never use? Do you bounce from fad diet to fad diet?

Losing weight and getting into shape takes real effort and commitment. But you also need to be smart about it. You need to know what you’re doing. It’s no good spending hours in the gym if you’re not doing the right things.

Nutritionist and dietician Nichola Whitehead has put together a list of ten common errors that people make when trying to lose weight.

Here are the ten things to avoid.

Buying ‘diet’ and ‘low-fat’ versions of food

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Look, let’s be real. Diet Coke is still a fizzy drink, and low-fat crisps are still crisps. If you are serious, you’ve got to cut out the processed foods.

Doing cardio over weights

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Weights are intimidating. And hard. It’s much easier to just work up a sweat on the treadmill. But lifting weights is known to be one of the most effective ways of turning muscle into fat, and getting rid of that belly.

Thinking an hour on the treadmill is better than a focused shorter workout

Scientific evidence shows that music helps a person get the most out of their workoutPicture: iStock

In your head, you think that the longer you work out, the better, right?

Not necessarily.

15 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where you carry out quick bursts of exercise while going full throttle, can be far more effective than just slowly jogging for an hour.

Not getting enough sleep

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Studies show that people who get less than six hours of sleep are much more likely to put on calories the next day. So get your full eight hours.

Not being realistic about your aims

Can music really affect your workout?Picture: Alamy

If you work hard enough you can achieve anything. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t set impossible goals, otherwise you’ll just end up being disappointed in yourself.

Confusing weight loss with fat loss.

A variation on the plank, which is one of the key exercises in this three-minute workoutPicture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ultimately, you’re trying to turn fat into muscle. And muscle is much denser than fat, so you could be making excellent progress even if the needle on the scales isn’t moving much.

Not drinking enough water

84 obese people took part in the study to see how much weight they lost by drinking water before a mealPicture: Getty

Self-explanatory. Hydration is important.

Checking your weight too often

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Have patience. Your weight fluctuates during the day, depending on when you last ate, and, er, other bodily functions. It’s about the long game.

Not eating enough

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Yes, you do need to change your diet, and probably eat less. But if you’re not eating enough, you won’t have the energy to exercise.

Not getting enough protein

Fried eggs and toasted breadsPicture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s not just how much you eat, it’s what you eat – protein is vital for weight loss. Make sure you’re getting at least 0.8g per Kg of your body weight a day.

HT: Mail Online

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