open fridgeOkay, what gives? You made all the "healthy lifestyle" changes everybody says you're supposed to make: Stopped drinking a gallon-sized mocha with extra whipped cream every morning, gave up greasy burgers, started paying attention to portions. You're even taking the stairs instead of the elevator ... but you're STILL not losing weight! No fair!

Don't feel bad -- it's not your fault. The truth is, there are lots of surprising ways to sabotage your slim-down plan without even trying! And avoiding those pitfalls is super-simple once you know what they are. Are you ready to find out?

Here are 5 ways you could be derailing your diet every day:

1. Not eating enough fiber. You might compare nutrition labels and think, If a slice of white bread has the same amount of calories as a slice of wheat, why does going with the whole grain matter? Because whole grains not only make you feel full (for a longer time), they help speed along digestion and prevent bloating. 

2. Eating "low-fat" foods. Don't fall for the "low-fat" line -- when they take the fat out of foods, they replace it with such fillers as high fructose corn syrup and starch -- which sometimes ADD calories!

3. Drinking skim milk. That's right, skim milk is a scam! See, fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, which reduces the amount that can be stored as fat. And guess what? Milk ain't exactly low-sugar. So skim milk can actually make you gain weight!

4. Eating food with chemicals. Need another reason to go organic?  The toxins in most food, including pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and plastic pollutants, can actually disrupt the function of our hormonal system, resulting in everything from heart disease and diabetes to obesity, and high cholesterol.

5. Drinking diet soda. Basically a complete nutritional failure, diet soda contains artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) which throw the good bacteria in your gut for a loop, forcing them to "adapt in a way that interferes with your satiety signals and metabolism."

Scary stuff, right? Why didn't anybody say anything sooner?!

Does anything on this list surprise you?


Image via Kathleen Franklin/Flickr