You snack on fruit and veg and get some form of exercise most days. So when you step on that scale and the number doesn't budge, you wonder what you're doing wrong. Even with clean eating and good fitness habits, you may be making a few small mistakes that can lead to a plateau and derail your results. Here's how to upgrade your already-healthy habits to finally reach your get-slim goal.
1. If you count kilojoules - determine the right intake for you
Think you're good at counting kilojoules? Think again. Most of us tend to overestimate says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix.
Do it better: If 8,500kJ (1,790cal) is your max, split it into three 2,000kJ (500cal) meals and one 1,250kJ (300cal) snack.
2. If you're consistently active - rev your routine
When you spend a few hours running errands, it feels like you've worked off some serious weight. But despite hauling around those grocery bags, you burned only about 1,600kJ (400cal) - that's about 45 grams.
Do it better: Short bursts of intense activity burn more kilojoules - and up to 36% more fat, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Strolling around the local shopping centre for an hour works off about 630kJ (150cal); pick up the pace 1 minute out of every 5 to burn over a third more kilojoules.
3. If you choose nutritious food - keep portions in check
What you put on your plate is important, but healthy eating is also about being mindful of how much you consume. For example, if you opt for a cup of porridge with walnuts, banana and a large glass of organic fruit juice, you may win on nutrients, but when it comes to kilojoules, you're dead last.
Do it better: The best way to know if you're eating too much is to write it down. "Just the act of writing makes you more aware," says Taub-Dix.
4. If you order the "healthiest" menu item - do your dining out research in advance
Choose the chicken sandwich over pizza and you think you're set, but again, looks can be deceiving. A chicken sandwich that comes on focaccia with cheese and mayo can deliver 4,000kJ (970cal). Two slices of pepperoni pizza total 2,175kJ (520cal).
Do it better: Look up nutrition facts before you eat there. See if your favourite eatery has nutrition facts online or in the store - you may be surprised at what you see.
5. If you choose diet 'treats' - eat the real thing, but downsize your portion
When you want something sweet, all those fat-free, sugar-free options seem like a smart choice for weight loss. But researchers at Cornell University found overweight people who choose low-fat versions of snack foods rather than the regular kinds consume, on average, twice as many kilojoules.
Do it better: Go for reasonable amounts of the real thing. If you love ice cream, have a small scoop of premium.
6. If you're a crunch queen - don't forget your cardio
One of the biggest mistakes women make when trying to lose belly fat: too many crunches, too little cardio. No matter how toned your abs are, your belly won't look flat until you get rid of the layer of fat on top of them, says personal trainer Jessica Smith. Interval training has been shown to zap more belly fat than steady-paced moderate workouts.
Do it better: Each week, aim for three interval sessions and two or three moderate, steady-paced workouts of 30 to 60 minutes each - along with ab exercises - for best results.
7. If you eat snacks to quell cravings - be more mindful of your intake
Eating while distracted can cause mindless eating, too. When women who normally watched their portions had lunch in different situations, they ate 15% more while listening to a detective story, compared with when they ate alone and free of any distractions, found a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Do it better: Avoid eating when your mind's elsewhere (while on the computer, for example), and eliminate unnecessary distractions (turn off the TV; set aside the book).