Because obesity is linked to many common chronic illnesses, losing weight is one of the best things you can do for your current and future health. But many people report failing at one weight loss plan after another. If you’ve had problems getting your weight under control, it’s likely that you have fallen victim to one of the following seven weight loss saboteurs.

1. You tend to crash diet. Remember that weight loss is about making permanent lifestyle changes. If you starve your body into dropping ten or twenty pounds, then go right back to your old diet and activity habits, that weight will return. In fact, crash dieting can actually cause your body’s metabolism to slow, so that you regain even more weight when you start eating “normally” again. Rather than viewing weight loss as a cycle of “dieting” and “eating normally”, you have to change your “normal”.

2. You deprive yourself of treats. On the other hand, changing your eating patterns does not mean you should given up your favorite treats for the rest of your life. It’s not realistic to tell yourself, “I’ll never eat cookies again”. Eventually you will deplete your will power, and splurge on a bag of Chips A’hoy. Instead, allow yourself a small treat several times per week. If you enjoyed an extra-long workout this morning, promise yourself one cookie after dinner, for example.

3. You deprive yourself of sleep. When your body is deprived of sleep, your metabolism slows. Your body also produces hormones which cause you to crave sugary, high calorie “comfort” foods. Part of your lifestyle changes must include a commitment to regular, quality sleep.

4. You worry too much about the numbers. When you’re trying to lose weight, you may feel tempted to weight yourself multiple times per day. As the numbers on the scale fluctuate slightly (which is normal, due to water weight and other reasons), you may feel depressed any time it appears your efforts aren’t paying off. Resist the temptation to weigh yourself every day, and schedule a weekly weigh-in instead. You will feel more motivated when you see visible, more accurate results.

5. Your friends and family sabotage you. Some of the people closest to you might attempt to derail your weight loss plan. It could be that they feel insecure about their own weight, or they don’t understand how difficult your weight struggle truly is. Talk to your loved ones in a firm, but friendly way, and set clear boundaries. Remember that your health is your number one priority. Your loved ones shouldn’t need you to sacrifice that in order to have fun.

6. You snack late at night. Toward the end of the day, we all lose some of our will power. We’re tired from work and taking care of our families, and it can be tempting to reach for comfort foods. Brush your teeth after dinner, or start going to bed a little bit earlier at night. Find a way to signal to your body that you are finished eating for the day. If snacking in front of the TV is your main problem, record your favorite shows and then watch them during the middle of the day on weekends, when you’re feeling less stressed.

7. You don’t drink enough water. Adequate water intake helps your body to effectively metabolize the foods you eat. Remember that your urine should be clear to light yellow; if it’s darker than that, you’re dehydrated.

Sound overwhelming?

If so, select 2-3 of these points to start and make small improvements each day.  Paying attention to the details can yield great results!