When it comes to weight loss, you are oftentimes your own worst enemy. Indeed, many people on this journey miss their goals by unknowingly sabotaging their own efforts, either by eating or exercising wrong. Unfortunately, when they don’t see the results they want on the scale, they often abandon the endeavor altogether.
Want to avoid the same fate? Be sure to avoid these common mistakes.
Too much, too soon
A lot of people make the mistake of drastically changing their diets from the word “go.” Oftentimes, this means quitting things like carbs and sugar cold-turkey, as well as aggressively cutting down the amount of calories they consume. Furthermore, they also tend to be overzealous with their workouts, spending hours each day in the gym.
While such enthusiasm is certainly admirable, the kind of rigor you put yourself under is most likely unsustainable. The more you deprive yourself, the higher the probability that you will “relapse” and binge eat at the first temptation. Remember, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to find a system that will be sustainable for you in the long run.
This is why you should start slow. Begin by reducing your consumption of so-called guilty foods until you phase them out completely. Or, replace favorites such as coffee with healthier alternatives that contain fat-loss enhancing ingredients.
Going overboard on cheat days
Finally managed to run an hour straight? Great job on your endurance training! While such an achievement is definitely worth celebrating, try not to do so with food. Indeed, many people reward themselves way too much during their “cheat” days.
A reward every so often is more than fine, but the only danger with having cheat days is that it’s so easy to go overboard. A slice of cake quickly turns into two, and before you know it you’ve obliterated the calorie deficit you’ve worked all week to create.
A better mindset is to have cheat meals where you get to enjoy one treat and one treat only for that day. It’s more sustainable to have one to two cheat meals within the week, instead of waiting to have a smorgasbord. Limiting cheats to one meal also makes it easier to keep track of your calorie consumption.
Not knowing your calorie intake
You work out regularly, but you still can’t lose the excess pounds? If this sounds like you, you better take a closer look at your calorie intake—you may be eating way more calories that you initially thought.
In fact, let’s do a little experiment: How many calories do you think are in a tablespoon of vegetable oil? If you’re like most people, you’d probably answer about 50 calories. The real answer: 120 calories!
As you can see, many dieters are often unaware of how many calories they’re actually eating, which is why they often overeat unwittingly. A good rule of thumb is to always look at a product’s nutrition label before consuming it. Or, if you’re cooking your own meals, look up a recipe’s calorie content online to get a general sense of its energy value.
You don’t eat enough
Yes, creating a calorie deficit is the goal of all weight loss programs, and it is most often achieved by eating a little less than you’re used to. However, some people go overboard with their dieting and consume only the bare minimum of 1200 calories to hasten the weight loss.
Yes, you may be able to drastically reduce your weight using this strategy, but you’ll no doubt be miserable the entire time. What’s more, it’s only effective up to a certain degree. Depriving your body of too much calories will cause it to enter starvation mode. Here, your metabolism slows to a crawl. When this happens, your body clamps downs on your metabolic rate, so while you may be dieting and eating as healthily as possible, you still won’t drop the pounds.
To ensure safe and effective weight loss, make sure to eat about 500 calories less than your recommended energy intake. Doing so over the course of a week will cause you to lose 3,500 calories in total—the same amount of calories as one pound of fat.
Not drinking enough water
Hydration is vital to your overall well-being, and it can even help improve your athletic performance during workouts. However, not getting enough water can also make you more likely to snack—and gain weight. This is because the body often confuses thirst signals for hunger. That’s why you get cravings even if you’d just had a full meal. The next time that you feel your tummy growling, reach for a glass of water instead of a bag of chips. Not only will water help you feel fuller, it will also assist many bodily functions including nutrient absorption and facilitating energy expenditure.
You’re only doing cardio
Cardio is an excellent form of exercise if you wish to lose weight. All it requires is a good pair of running shoes and good old-fashioned will power. That being said, don’t rely on it as your sole form of physical activity—when you’re down to your last 5-10 pounds, cardio might not be able to help you anymore.
If you really want to get that fit body you desire, considering combining cardio with some weight training. Lifting weights increases your body’s muscle mass, and muscles happen to be very metabolically active, meaning they require more calories to sustain. In effect, the more muscles you have, the faster your metabolism.
Now, there will be ladies out there who shun weightlifting because they think it’ll make them look like a bodybuilder. This couldn’t farther from the truth! The increased muscle mass will only replace the fat you lost, giving your body a tighter and firmer look.
The most crucial part of any weight loss program is getting started. But if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to lose your way. Hopefully, the tips and tricks above will keep you on the right track until you finally meet your ultimate goal.