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There are still only a small percentage of people who go around losing weight the right way and do not succumb to the promises of instant keto diets, detox programs or poorly set diet plans with energy intake below the level of basal metabolism. As a result, people then unnecessarily waste time with dysfunctional diets, where they alternate between periods of drastic weight loss and re-gaining weight, blaming themselves for their failure instead of blaming these dysfunctional tools.
If everyone knew from the beginning that this is just a waste time and life energy, perhaps they would then reconsider their approach and follow a process that takes time but produces sustainable results. Below is a list of the 10 most common questions that people pay too much attention to when losing weight and forget about the basic principles. To find out what really matters when losing weight, read our article Simple Basics of Weight Loss: You’ll Be Surprised What’s Really Important.
1. Eliminating gluten, carbohydrates or dairy products
You can often read or hear that people only managed to lose weight when they eliminated gluten or carbohydrates from their diet. Is really gluten or carbohydrates behind this?
No. By eliminating a fairly rich group of gluten or all carbohydrates from their diet, they spontaneously reduced their energy intake and fell into a caloric deficit. They simply did not compensate for the elimination of these foods by increasing another energy source. If you don’t have confirmed health problems related to a certain group of foods, there is no reason to avoid them in your diet. If you want to know more about the caloric deficit, read our article Caloric Deficit: How to Lose Weight and Also Have a Life?
2. Dieting and losing weight by following the rules of low-carb, keto, rational diet or veganism
It is entirely up to you to pick which nutritional direction is the right one for you and which one offers you the health benefits you are looking for. As long as you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight, no matter if you eat clean, or stick to low-carb or paleo diet.
3. Timing of meals
Regarding food, you need to have your own system and order that suits you. Are you more of a morning bird? Then you may want to start your day with a hearty breakfast. If, on the other hand, you are one of the night owls, you will probably appreciate a hearty dinner. Not eating at all after 5 or 8 p.m. is not the answer.
The timing of your meals is entirely up to you, and as long as you stay in caloric deficit, nothing is off the table. It is true that professional or strength athletes striving for maximum muscle mass and minimum body fat should be thinking about the timing of their meals, but this is a topic for some other time.
4. Frequency of meals
You don’t have to eat two or six times a day to lose weight just because intermittent fasting is now in fashion. Some people prefer more meals during the day and others can’t go without two huge meals a day. The same rules as in the previous point apply; maintain your own system in your diet that suits you.
You can start with 3 larger meals during the day, suitably complemented by snacks. The results of studies comparing the effectiveness of high-frequency and low-frequency diets when losing weight come with comparable results. [1–3]
5. Being too precise with calorie and macronutrient intake
Nutrition is not about perfectionism, but about long-term systematic work and the choice of more suitable foods and meals. To start with, it’s nice to go through your personal diet plan by recording your meals into nutritional apps such as MyFitnessPal to get an idea about how much food you really need. Keep in mind, however, that this will give you a long-term average, so your intake can and will fluctuate. Remember, it is about flexibility and freedom, not about exactly adhering to a nutritional plan.
What may come as a surprise to you is the fact that people generally underestimate their energy intake and, conversely, overestimate calories burned while exercising. In one study, participants believed that they were consuming only 1,200 kcal, but in fact were receiving 47% more kcal, while also overestimating their physical activity by 51%! Things just aren’t always what they seem. 
6. To have, or not to have breakfast?
This sounds like a Hamlet quote, but the solution for this one is much simpler. Again, it’s about what suits you specifically. Do you have to eat within a few minutes after waking up, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to function at all? Have breakfast. The idea of an early breakfast is not appealing to you, and you would rather have a brunch a little later? That’s fine too. Plan your schedule around it.
Also keep in mind that the reason behind this condition can be your evening eating habits. This is especially true for people who don’t eat much during the day and then raid the pantry and fridge in the evening, which is definitely not in line with the rules of healthy eating. Try to give it a thought and eat at least 2-3 hours before your planned sleep. Maybe then you will appreciate the breakfast. If you want to know more about this issue, read our article Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day, or is it Just a Myth?
7. Doing cardio on an empty stomach, after breakfast, or at any time during the day
Maybe I’ll save you the hassle of getting up early and going for a run with your eyes not even fully opened because the fact is that you will burn about the same number of calories at six in the morning, at ten in the morning, at three in the afternoon, and at nine in the evening. According to current scientific research, there is no evidence for the morning cardio on an empty stomach to be extra beneficial when losing weight. Therefore, go for a run at any point during the day, whenever your lifestyle allows it. Every calorie counts. 
8. Trying to find the best workout to burn as many calories as possible
Consistent productivity and perseverance are key success factors. Everyday life and habits create the ground for success or failure. What good is a highly demanding workout for you, in which you burn, for example, 200 kcal more than the average, but due to the complexity and the time needed for regeneration, it will stop you from doing anything for the next five days? During these five days, you could exercise maybe three times and run twice, which could easily burn just over 2,000 kcal. Remember, in every way, it’s a long run, not a sprint. You can increase your energy expenditure during training by taking your favourite pre–workout or a fat burner.
9. Checking your weight every day
The number on the scale can easily move within 3 kilograms in one day, and almost the same is true for the fluctuation of the weight from day to day. Dietary factors like salt, the amount of food eaten or carbohydrates that naturally bind water have a huge effect on this. Training factors or stress also come into play. If you want to know more about this issue, read our article Why The Scale Shows You a Higher Number and It’s Not Fat.
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10. Slow or damaged metabolism
Although many people think they have a slow metabolism, in the vast majority of cases this is not true. As we have shown above, people generally underestimate energy intake, but on the contrary overestimate energy expenditure.
When you learn to eat according to your needs and goals, exercise according to what you enjoy, and live an active lifestyle, you will see for yourself that slow metabolism is not really one of your concerns. And if you want to know more about this issue, read our article Could Your Metabolism Have Slowed Down or Be Damaged? 5 Tips to Speed Up Your Metabolism.
What is the lesson?
Pay attention to the factors that are actually important and determine success or failure. Then you will find that the best thing to do is to find a system for your diet, exercise and lifestyle that suits you. You don’t have to go running on an empty stomach or eat in accordance with the guidelines of the latest Hollywood diet trends to lose weight.
Start thinking about food a little more and pay attention to it. For example, you might discover a number of hidden calorie bombs in the form of fast food meals, sweets or savoury “delicacies” in your diet, and you should consider stopping eating so many of them. For example, you can add more vegetables, fruits and protein to your diet at the expense of highly industrially processed foods and start exercising regularly. Then you might notice that your clothes are getting looser without you having to follow any specific diet.
And what did you pay too much attention to while losing weight? Tell us in the comments about your experience, advice and tips. If you liked the article, support it by sharing so that your friends can also read about what things are a waste of time when losing weight.
 Klempel, M. C., Kroeger, C. M., Bhutani, S., Trepanowski, J. F., & Varady, K. A. – Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. – https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-11-98
 Louis-Sylvestre, J., Lluch, A., Neant, F., & Blundell, J. E. – Highlighting the positive impact of increasing feeding frequency on metabolism and weight management. – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15806828/
 Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A. A., & Krieger, J. W. – Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: A meta-analysis. – https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuu017
 Murakami, K., Livingstone, M. B. E., Okubo, H., & Sasaki, S. – Prevalence and characteristics of misreporting of energy intake in Japanese adults: The 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey. – https://doi.org/10.6133/apjcn.042017.11
 Hackett, D., & Hagstrom, A. D. – Effect of Overnight Fasted Exercise on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. – https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk2040043