Despite what you consider your best efforts, are you having problems losing weight? Don’t feel bad, while many people THINK they are doing all the right things, there are quite a few little things that we can all do that will go a long way in finally shedding those unwanted extra pounds.
But before we get into the tips, I want to stress that you should NOT become obsessed with the number on the scale. What matters is how you’re feeling, how you look in the mirror, what your tape measure says, and how your clothes fit.
If you’re not seeing the effects you’re looking for, check if one or more of these common culprits may be holding you back in your quest for a healthier body. This is part one of a two-part series. First I’ll focus on ten eating and drinking mistakes to watch out for. In the next post I’ll cover common exercise habits that often fall short of helping you reach your full potential.
1. You are not eating enough fat.
Fat is often seen as “evil”, but good fats are vital for your heart – fats found in foods such as fish, nuts, eggs and avocados. The consumption of healthy fats increases energy and prompts the body to burn stored fat for fuel.
2. You drink too much alcohol.
The types and amount of alcohol you take in could be sabotaging your weight loss. Your body can’t store alcohol, so it metabolizes it immediately. This may sound great, but while your body is focusing on processing the alcohol, your metabolism won’t be working as efficiently on other foods that you’ve eaten – like breaking down carbohydrates and fat. This means that those calories will be converted into fat, and stored in your body.
3. You eat too much after exercise.
It is a common belief that if you exercise then it makes it acceptable for you to eat more. Sadly this isn’t true. Many people “reward” themselves for going out for a run by eating an extra slice of cake for example. Exercising is great for burning calories and building muscle, but if you increase your caloric intake then you aren’t going to see any improvement in your body. Working out will build your muscle, but unless you eat healthier, then you will never get to see that muscle.
4. You may not be eating enough.
This may sound crazy, but you will actually struggle to lose weight if you don’t eat enough. Lowering your caloric intake by a moderate amount is necessary to lose weight, but lowering it drastically can actually cause you to gain weight. If you don’t eat enough then your body actually goes into starvation mode, and begins to hold on to the fat that remains in your body for fear of needing it to survive.
5. Your diet isn’t clean.
It’s fairly simple to eat less food, but if you are cutting your food intake but still eating junk then you will struggle to lose weight. A clean eating plan is the best way to lose weight, but this must be a permanent lifestyle change. Adopting a clean eating diet for just a few months will see you lose weight, but if you decide to resort back to eating processed foods then you will soon regain that weight.
6. You don’t allow yourself a cheat day.
Whether you have a cheat day, or even allow yourself one small daily treat, this can be an important part of weight loss. Allowing yourself small regular treats is a great way to stay focused without depriving yourself. Just be smart and enjoy in moderation.
7. People around you aren’t on the same healthy path.
It can be difficult to follow a clean eating diet if those around you aren’t doing the same. Nobody is expecting you to force your family or friends to change their eating habits, but if you let them know that you will need support on this journey can really make a difference. Heck, they might even learn a thing or two from you and join you in your clean-eating lifestyle.
8. You don’t drink enough water.
Water is the best thing to drink for hydration and – you guessed it – weight loss. Water does actually fill you up, so even just having a glass before a meal could help you to not eat too much. The recommended daily intake of fluid is 1.6 liters for women and 2 liters for men. Cold water has even been found to speed up the metabolism. Do you really need any more reasons to drink it!
9. You are a fan of fad diets.
Fad diets are often a bad choice for long-term weight loss. Although you may lose weight initially (which is often just water retention leaving the body), it can often come back on when the diet finishes. The best diet, as mentioned before, is to adopt a clean and healthy eating lifestyle.
10. You are expecting too much too soon.
Weight loss takes time. Despite the unrealistic claims from many fad diets and some exercise gurus, there is not a quick fix. You need to exercise regularly and eat healthy to get the results you want. This may not happen for a few weeks, or even months, but it will happen.
About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.