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6 Common Mistakes That Can Prevent Weight Loss

03/20/2015 10:25 am ET | Updated May 20, 2015

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Spring is around the corner, and it's all about change. You shake off those winter blues and come alive again. You spring clean your house and your get rid of clutter in your closet. See ya, big winter sweaters, it's finally safe to venture outside again. Then you realize there's something else you want to change... your body! If you are on a mission to lose weight and improve your body by summertime, make sure you don't make one of these six common mistakes that prevent weight loss.

1. You don't break up with starchy carbs.
If you want to slim down, one of first things you should do is reduce your intake of starchy carbs. Avoid white breads and white rice, potatoes, fried foods and processed foods. Aim for more healthy fats like avocados and nuts in small quantities, and increase your intake of fruits and veggies. Squeeze fresh lemons into your water, too. Water helps you fill you up and lemons benefit your body in lots of ways! I always start my day with a tall glass of lemon water.

2. You are the queen of the same 'ol routine.
Your body gets used to the same exercise if you do it every day, and weight loss can be much more effective when you surprise your body once in a while. Change up your workout and mix it up by increasing the intensity or duration of your exercise. If you really want to blast fat, try some high intensity interval training. Called HIIT training, it involves shorter cardio workouts at a higher intensity. Getting your heart rate up in bursts revs up your metabolism and burns those calories. Oh, and make sure your workouts involve this sparkly glistening thing called "sweating."

3. You forget it takes two.
If you want to get right to it, you need two things for weight loss -- clean eating and exercise. Period. Not just clean eating. Not just exercise. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Try healthy eating and increased exercise to steadily lose weight. For every pound you want to lose, you need a deficit of 3,500 calories, or put another way, you need to burn an extra 3,500 calories. Create the 3,500 deficit with a combination of reduced caloric intake and an increased calorie burn with exercise. Most people have a tendency to overestimate the calories they are burning and underestimate the calories they take in, so keep that in mind! Remember, you can't lose weight for the long term without a combined effort of healthy eating and exercise. You won't be able to lose weight and keep it off if you only choose one method.

4. You live in stress mode.
Often overlooked in weight loss, stress can keep you stuck at a certain weight or cause you to gain, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are stressed to the max, your body produces a hormone called cortisol, and if not controlled, your body can increase its fat storage. Plus, how often have you turned to a favorite food or snacked endlessly when you are stressed out? Get ahead of your stress and you can watch the numbers go down on the scale. Take a walk, get some fresh air, meditate, do something fun, read a book, laugh, call up a friend or seek some alone time. Find ways to reduce your stress and commit to doing a few of those things each week. Managing your stress effectively is an essential component of weight loss.

5. You love cardio (yeah!) but you ignore your muscles (boo).
Too often people get psyched that they are exercising most days of the week -- with some type of cardio -- and they forget about building and maintaining muscle. The less muscle you have, the lower your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories your bod burns even when you aren't working out! For weight loss and a strong body you need to do some form of weight training. Don't be intimidated by the term, it doesn't mean you have to become a body builder and lift barbells. Grab a set of hand weights or try workouts that combine cardio and strength training. You also can use your own body weight and do planks, push-ups, squats or lunges -- they are all muscle-building exercises.

6. You skimp on sleep.
Straight to the point: Missing sleep increases your stress level and makes you hungrier. With a lack of sleep (less than seven hours a night) your ghrelin level gets off and stimulates your appetite more and your leptin level (responsible for suppressing your appetite) goes down, according to WebMD. If you want to lose more fat, get more sleep! You will be more likely to have mental clarity to make healthier decisions and your body will be able to operate at its best.

If you find yourself stuck on a plateau or not losing weight like you want to, put a little spring in your step and avoid these six things that can sabotage your weight loss! You can successfully push past a plateau and lose weight this spring!