How to Avoid These 4 Simple Weight Loss Mistakes
It’s not always easy to keep up with your workout routine around the holidays. We worry about gaining a few extra pounds thanks to a lack of physical activity and an increase in calorie-rich foods. As a result, it can be tempting to look to diets such as Ketogenic, Atkins, Vegan or Paleo for a quick fix.
Losing weight isn’t that simple. Most fad diets focus on restrictions, whether it’s macronutrients, calories, or a mixture of both.
Anyone who has followed a custom fitness program or a personalized meal plan knows that’s not enough. And you may be making mistakes without realizing it that are preventing you from seeing the changes you desire.
Here are four mistakes you may be making that are keeping you from achieving your weight-loss goals.
4 Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes You May Be Making
Read about some of the most common weight loss mistakes we all make, even with custom fitness programs and meal plans, and how to avoid them.
1. Skipping Meals
It’s easy to think that skipping meals is a quick solution to losing weight, especially after a particularly heavy meal. Many of us go without eating proper meals when we don’t feel hungry, thinking it will help us lose weight.
But this is a dangerous path because skipping meals sets off a chain of adverse effects such as slowing down your metabolism or your blood sugar levels dropping. It can also encourage you to overeat, thinking you are already consuming fewer calories.
Skipping the occasional meal may not have severe results, but if it becomes a habit, it can lead to low energy levels and make it harder to keep off extra weight. Undereating for extended periods can also lead to unnecessary stress on your body and mind, as well as metabolic damage. Furthermore, it can disrupt your hormonal balance, which can lead to a loss of muscle mass and a slower metabolism.
Instead of trying to starve yourself, it’s better to focus on consuming good carbs such as quinoa, barley and roasted chickpeas, and unrefined and unprocessed whole foods.
If you’ve started training again, remember to eat small meals every three to four hours. It may sound like a lot, but personal trainers recommend it as the best way to achieve your weight-loss goals.
2. Focusing Too Much on the Scale
Even if you’ve been maintaining a proper diet, it might feel as though you aren’t losing weight fast enough. But the number you see on the scale is only one way to measure weight changes.
Your weight can be influenced by several factors. These include how much food you have remaining in your system along with fluid fluctuations. In reality, your weight can vary by up to 4 lbs over a single day, depending on the amount of liquid and food you’ve consumed. For women, an increase in estrogen levels, along with other hormonal changes, can cause water retention, which can be seen on the scale.
Alternatively, if you’re working out regularly and still don’t see a change, you may be losing fat but gaining muscle mass. In this case, your clothes may feel a bit loose, particularly around the waist even though you may not see a major change on the scale.
3. Trusting Low-Fat Foods
When trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get into the habit of choosing foods that are ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’. These packaged foods make healthy-sounding claims that fool us into believing they might be good for us. However, if you check their labels properly, you’ll notice that most of those claims don’t have facts to support them. Furthermore, there tends to be a lot of sugar in these products that are disguised with words such as glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose and dextrose.
Moreover, depending on these foods for a long time often results in people craving sugar and experiencing lower energy levels which leads to weight gain. Foods that are high in saturated fats should ideally be replaced with ones that contain polyunsaturated and/or monosaturated fats. This means it’s best to avoid foods made using tropical oils and instead choose ones that contain vegetable oil.
Also, steer clear of low-calorie and diet drinks as they tend to do more harm than good. They are made using artificial sweeteners that often trigger the appetite and make you feel hungrier more often.
Most personal trainers who design custom fitness programs suggest following a low-carb diet as it’s highly effective in reducing the body’s insulin resistance.
4. Overeating Fast-Digesting Carbs
People counting calories often overlook what they’re consuming.
To that end, if you’re trying to lose weight – more specifically, fat – you need to be aware of the type of carb sources you are choosing.
Simple carbohydrates spike blood sugar levels which causes your body to secrete insulin. Insulin is responsible for ushering glucose into our cells and regulates the accumulation of fat. When in our bloodstream, it discourages fatty acids from leaving the fat cells. This makes it necessary to know the difference between good carbs and bad carbs.
The best way to lose weight is by avoiding table sugar; liquid carbs such as beer, fruit juice, soda, sports drinks and wine; along with high-fructose corn syrup.
Also, try to avoid refined grains such as cereals, baked goods, white rice, pasta and bread along with starchy foods like rice, corn and potatoes.
However, if you can’t seem to give up fast-acting carbs, at least limit consuming them right after workouts. Getting your insulin level up during this time can help the amino acids in protein (which should also be consumed post-workout) help repair your muscles.
Remember, carbs help your brain function properly so it’s best to be systematic about which ones you consume. Choose low-glycemic carbs such as legumes, nuts, brown rice, yams or sweet potatoes, and oats.
A few extra pounds isn’t the end of the world, and starving yourself or becoming a slave to fad diets and rigorous exercise won’t make a difference. In fact, becoming obsessed with these can lead you down a vicious cycle that doesn’t get you closer to the body you want. Like everything, the key here is moderation, so you need to find the right balance and adjust what (and how) you eat. Still having trouble? Get in touch with our personal trainers to have them prepare a personalized meal plan and custom workouts to ensure you achieve your desired fitness and weight-loss goals.