Losing weight and getting into shape takes real effort and commitment. But you also need to be smart about it. You need to know what you’re doing. It’s no good spending hours in the gym if you’re not doing the right things.
We all know , that diet and exercise are both crucial to your well-being and your waistline. And that generally means sticking to recommended guidelines (like getting regular doses of aerobic activity and resistance training, filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and eating lean protein) is the best way to optimize your health overall.
From upping your pace to cutting back on calories, I have chosen 10 common mistakes some of us do during our “slim down” moment.
1. The Fat- Burn Zone
Mistake: Running slowly to stay in the ‘fat-burning zone’.
Why it keeps you fat: The body uses more fat when you’re jogging along than when you’re running hard, but the total calories you’ll have burned by the end of your training day will be lower. However, it does not mean you are actually loosing more weight by running slowly for 2 hours.
Do this instead: Dr Ricardo Costa, a lecturer in dietetics and nutrition at Coventry University, explains that you’d be better off running faster: “After you run, your metabolism increases,” he says.
“This continues for 24-48 hours, depending on the intensity of your run. So, although intense exercise doesn’t burn a lot of fat at the time, you will burn more in the long term. Plus you get the extra benefits that come with working your body harder.”
2. Weight Watching
Mistake: Hopping on the scales every day.
Why it keeps you fat: Some people seem to only be motivated, when they see their weight drop by three pounds per week, but that’s not good for the long term.
If you lose a pound a week you can keep that weight loss going, whereas if you’re losing three or four pounds, the weight will probably go back on.”
Do this instead: Only weigh yourself once a week. Look for long-term trends rather than fluctuations. And remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so you could be getting leaner without dropping weight.
3. Popping Pills
Mistake: Taking diet supplements that promise to increase metabolism or suppress appetite.
Why it keeps you fat: According to Costa, research has failed to produce any conclusive evidence that these so-called ‘diet pills’ work to help you shed the pounds.
“If you turn over the packet, you’ll find that they all say they work in conjunction with a healthy diet and physical activity,” he says. “Plus, some of these products can cause liver damage or even put extra stress on your heart.” Which isn’t great news.
Do this instead: All you need to do is simply follow a healthy, balanced diet and do regular exercise – you don’t need any help from pills. You can always have add Herbal Teas to your diet, especially the ones containing fennel seeds, dandelion root and turmeric.
4.The After Burn
Mistake: Not eating after your run in the hope of burning extra fat as your metabolism speeds up.
Why it keeps you fat: Many researchers have shown that if you take in a combination of carbohydrate and protein after running, you recover better, increase your fitness levels more effectively and perform better in your next session. So, by eating shortly after a training run or a race, you’ll be leaner in the long term.
Do this instead: Eat a balanced meal that is rich in protein and carbohydrate (I have written “The 10 best carbs to eat for weight loss” ) as soon as possible after running. Something like a peanut butter sandwich or chicken with rice makes the ideal post-run fuel.
5. Running for Treats
Mistake: According to personal trainer Paul Richardson (pwrpersonaltraining.co.uk), some runners ruin their efforts to get lean by rewarding themselves with unhealthy foods after a training session.
Why it keeps you fat: It’s a lot quicker to eat calories than it is to burn them. “Many people say, ‘Right, I’ve done my 30-minute run, now there’s room for that Mars bar etc.” Then they’re back to square one. They won’t make any changes to their body shape if they keep repeating that pattern.”
Do this instead: Prepare a healthy post-run meal or snack beforehand, then you’ll be less likely to reach for fattening treats.
If You Want to Drop a Dress Size
Focus on diet: Research shows, that most people who exercise to lose weight and don’t restrict calories shed only 2 to 3 percent of their weight over 6 to 12 months.
The reason? It’s much easier to deny yourself 500 calories a day—the amount you typically need to cut to lose a pound a week—than to burn that much through exercise. For instance, to work off almost 500 calories, an average woman would have to spend an hour pedalling a stationary bike at moderate intensity. Compare that with swapping a Starbucks Grande Caffé Mocha with 2 percent milk (200 calories without whipped cream) for a plain brewed coffee (5 calories) and eliminating a nightly bowl of ice cream (about 200 calories in a half cup) and a handful of potato chips (almost 160 calories). A bonus benefit of losing weight: Shedding about 5 percent of your body weight will reduce your risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
Take action: Eating fewer calories is pretty straightforward when you follow three guiding principles. First, stick with a primarily plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and heart-healthy fats, like olive oil). Second, limit processed foods (such as frozen meals, deli meats, and refined carbohydrates, including pastries and white bread), which contain lots of empty calories in the form of sugar and unhealthy fats (not to mention a lot of salt).
6. Buying ‘diet’ and ‘low-fat’ versions of food
Diet Coke is still a fizzy drink, and low-fat crisps are still crisps. If you are serious, you’ve got to cut out the processed foods. They usually add more salt and sugar to make them taste good, so it doesn’t really help that much.
Protein is an essential part of the weight loss regime and cannot be adequately utilized without dietary fats. That is why protein and fats occur together in eggs, milk, fish and meats. A high protein, low fat diet can cause many problems including too rapid growth and depletion of vitamin A and D reserves.
Low fat diets also undermine balanced hormones by preventing the detox of excess hormones, particularly estragon. When there is excess estragon in the body, it is packaged into the bile so it can be excreted with food waste. If bile is not being released, then old estragon sits in the liver and gallbladder and can be recirculated in the body.
Modern lifestyles lead to estragon dominance for many men and women, since stress and poor diet increases estragon synthesis and reduces detox of old hormones. For women, estragon dominance means PMS and menopausal symptoms. For men, this often manifests as erectile dysfunction .
7. Not getting enough sleep
Recent studies have suggested an association between sleep duration and weight gain. Sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.
In one study, recurrent sleep deprivation in men increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake. In another study, women who slept less than six hours a night or more than nine hours were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kilograms) compared with women who slept seven hours a night. Other studies have found similar patterns in children and adolescents.
One explanation might be that sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin — and stimulates the appetite. Another contributing factor might be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.
So now you have another reason to get a good night’s sleep.
8. Not drinking enough water
We are all told to drink plenty of water – at least 8 glasses a day.
Many of us don’t like drinking water, and don’t drink enough of it. We would much rather have something with sugar or caffeine in it – both of which actually dehydrate rather than hydrate us. For instance – if you drink a cup of coffee, when you go to the bathroom, you will actually pass more liquid than you just consumed.
So, here are 5 good reasons why we should all drink more water and how it can help with weight loss:
1) Water suppresses the appetite.
Have you ever started to feel hungry and reached for a snack? Your body was asking for something and you presumed it must be food. But it may have just been thirst. Next time grab a glass of water and see if this helps, you may just be dehydrated.
Water will also help metabolise stored fats. Studies have shown that a decrease in water will cause fat deposits to increase. An increase in water can reduce this.
2) An increase in water can help fluid retention.
When the body does not receive enough water it will perceive this as a threat to survival. So, every drop of liquid that you provide, it will hang onto. Water is stored outside the cells and this will show up in swollen hands and feet. A water retention pill may help, but this only provides a short term solution. As this forces water out of the body, it will also take some nutrients with it. The body will still perceive this as a threat to survival and the next time you drink something, the body will store it.
The best way to combat this is to drink more water. The body will know that there is an endless supply so will stop hanging on to every drop. You may find that if you have a high sodium diet you will also suffer from water retention. Again, drink more water. This will help flush the sodium through your kidneys and keep things working properly.
3) Big versus small
An overweight person will need more water than a thin one. An overweight person has a bigger metabolic load. As we learned above, water can help metabolise fat. More water is needed to help the kidneys and liver to function optimally. On average for every 25lbs overweight, an extra glass of water is needed.
4) Muscle Tone
By preventing dehydration, water will help muscle tone by giving them the natural ability to contract. Water can also help against sagging skin in weight loss. Shrunken cells are buoyed by water and this will help the skin plump, and leave it clear and healthy.
When we lose weight we have a lot more metabolised fat to get rid of. Drinking more water will help flush this waste out of the body. Water can also help constipation as well. The body siphons what it needs from internal recourses, this includes the colon. If there is not enough liquid in the body, this can cause constipation. The cure? You’ve guessed it – drink more water!
So how much water should we drink?
Saying 8 glasses is fair enough, but how big (or small) are the glasses? We should be consuming around 1.5 litres a day. This sounds a lot when you are not used to drinking that much, and yes to begin with it is difficult and you have to drink when you are not thirsty. But after a few days, you will pass the ‘breakthrough’ period and will begin to get your natural thirst back. You will be surprised, in the end, how easy you will find drinking 1.5 litres actually is.
If you stop drinking enough water your body will be thrown out of balance. You may experience weight gain, fluid retention and loss of thirst.
9. Not eating enough food
The majority of the time when we are having a problem losing weight, it’s not because you we are not making good food choices. The reason why your weight loss has stagnated is because you’re not eating enough calories to lose weight.
When most people start dieting, they slash their calories and add a large amount of exercise to their daily routine. That’s fine, but they usually cut their calories way too low. Add in the extra exercise, and all of a sudden you have an extreme calorie deficit that is working against you.
Not eating enough calories causes many metabolic changes. Your body is a smart machine and senses a large decrease in dietary energy. Your large calorie deficit might work for a few days or even weeks, but eventually your body will wake up and sound alarms that it needs to conserve energy.
It doesn’t want to just waste away. It needs that energy (fat) to survive. So, what does your body do when it senses prolonged energy restriction? Not eating enough calories…
- Slows down thyroid production – Your thyroid is responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, among other things. Your body has the ability to slow down thyroid output in an effort to maintain energy balance .
- Decreases muscle mass – Muscle is highly calorie intensive to maintain. In a prolonged extreme calorie deficit, it is one of the first things that your body looks to get rid of, especially if you’re not providing a stimulus to keep it. Your body needs the fat, wants the fat, and the muscle can be spared. It breaks down the muscle tissue and uses it for energy.
- Lowers testosterone levels – An important hormone for both men and women, testosterone is just one of many hormones that are affected with severe calorie restriction . Testosterone is anabolic to muscle tissue. Without it, it becomes that much harder to maintain, let alone put on muscle mass.
- Decreases leptin levels – Leptin is one of many energy regulating hormones. More importantly, it’s a “hunger” hormone that tells you whether to eat or not. High leptin levels signal that it’s OK to stop eating, while low leptin levels are a signal to eat more energy. Because of this, leptin levels decrease in calorie restricted environments .
- Decreases energy levels – There are many physical actions your body takes when you’re not eating enough calories, but there are also some mental ones. Neurotransmitter production is limited, which can lead to a lack of motivation. It’s your body’s way of telling you to “slow down” – conserve your energy.
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10. Setting unrealistic goals.
You have to think long term, and not expect to lose a ton of weight overnight. Otherwise you’ll get discouraged.
If you’ve determined you do need to lose weight, your next step is to set a reasonable weight loss goal for yourself. You can base your goals on any number of factors, but a great place to start would be the general recommendations set out by the American College of Sports Medicine which are 5-10% of body weight or one to two pounds per week.
To calculate your BMI Pease follow the link HERE
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and realised some mistakes you were making in achieving your weight loss goal. Or may be you can add some other tips to it. Pease, let me know .
Love , Samira xxx