Steer clear of these four weight-loss roadblocks!

iansmith.jpgDr. Ian Smith in the SELF offices!Losing weight: I research and write about this topic on a monthly basis in the pages of SELF, but as we all know, it's easier said than done. So when Dr. Ian Smith, of Celebrity Fit Club fame, came by the SELF offices to talk about his newest project, The 50 Million Pound Challenge, I asked him about the tough stuff - we're a nation obsessed with dieting and yet we're in the middle of an obesity epidemic! What gives? Why can't we lose the weight? Surprisingly, his answers had less to do with what we eat and more to do with the way we think about weight-loss. "After all," said Smith, "Dieting is 80 percent mental." So true. Read on for his list of top diet mistakes and advice on how to avoid them at all costs!

1. Starting at the wrong time. You need to start a diet during a time you can make weight loss your number one priority - not after a big breakup, not before a big move. Of course, there is not "perfect" time to start a diet, but wait until you'll have the most control over you food environment for at least four to six weeks. This is the period you'll need to get accustomed to the program and to show success. Showing success in these first weeks will help you stick with it through trouble spots, since you know it can work.

How to understand your hunger signals!

2. Going for a quick fix.
Some people don't understand weight-loss as a journey, they go for a diet that promises to help them lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time, but what happens after that? When you start a diet you need to see the big picture. Making two good decisions is just as much progress as losing two pounds - they both get you further along on your journey.

3. Having unrealistic expectations. I think the Biggest Loser is great from an inspirational standpoint - it's very inspiring and maybe even motivating for some people to watch that show. But, it also sets up unrealistic expectations - contestants on the Biggest Loser lose too much weight too fast. If you begin dieting hoping to achieve Biggest Loser-style weight loss, you're going to think you're failing when really you are succeeding!

Put a stop to stress eating--and save money!

4. Not having a support system. People lose more weight and keep it off longer when they do it in groups. In the 50 Million Pound Challenge, people that are on a weight-loss team lose 25% more than people who entered individually. People are always telling me about a work challenge, teaming up with people in their workplace to lose weight, which sounds great because then you have someone there that you can complain to and who can give advice and trade tips with you.

Now it's your turn. Do you agree with this list? What stops you in your tracks when it comes to losing weight?

Seasonal superstars! Supermarket shelves are full of slimming spring vegetables.