Avoid These 11 Weight Loss Mistakes
I can tell you for a fact every single person that has begun their weight loss journey has made mistakes.
Losing weight can be a struggle sometimes. Combined with the desire to lose weight and feel good is the fear and punishment which often takes over our body and mind.
Approaching weight loss the right, but most importantly the healthy way will always lead to a successful weight loss.
Below you will find 11 weight loss mistakes we have all made. Knowing the weight loss mistakes, you will now be able to recognise them and avoid making them yourselves.
Eating too little calories
You may be thinking, well how can this be? Isn't the whole principle of losing weight to be in a caloric deficit, so, therefore, I need to eat fewer calories, right? Yes, to lose weight you must be eating in a caloric deficit, however, eating too little calories can affect your weight loss.
Restricting your calories too much can often lead to a weight loss plateau.
Your severe caloric deficit may work well for a few days or weeks, but your body is smart and can sense there is a large decrease in energy. Eventually, your body will start to conserve energy to continue function they way it should be.
Low-calorie dieting brings with it many negative side effects. Restricting your calories too much also increases both chronic psychological stress and cortisol production – two factors that are known to cause weight gain.
Exercising too much
Studies suggest that people need to stop so much emphasis on exercise for weight loss. Researchers outline that more physical activity does not always correlate with more calories. It is believed that there may be a "sweet spot" for physical activity--indicating too much and the body makes big adjustments to adapt, and too little is unhealthy.
Low Calories and too much Cardio
An important tip is to avoid doing too much cardio and having really low calories. These are two variables that you want to be able to manipulate when you hit a weight loss plateau. If your calories are super low and your hours of cardio are high, it will difficult for you manipulate them, as you have started off at extreme levels. Start with your calories relatively high and cardio low, once you hit a plateau you will be able to break through the plateau by simply adjusting one of these variables.
Not eating enough Protein
It is important that you are eating enough protein while dieting to help you stay full and satiated. Many people who are dieting forget the importance of protein, while protein is an important macronutrient when looking to build muscle, it is just as important if not more important when trying to lose weight.
Studies show increasing your protein intake from 15% to 30% of energy and keeping your carbohydrate intake constant will help in eating fewer calories, in turn, lose weight. This is a result of protein ability to keep you fuller and more satiated for longer.
When you are dieting and eating fewer calories it is important you are eating enough protein to preserve lean mass.
A study found that participants in the high protein group (2.2g/kg) lost more body fat mass and retain muscle mass.
Believing the Weight Loss Scale
We often put too much emphasis on what the number on the scale says. Do not let that number dictate your progress or self-worth. However, the scale is not the most reliable or accurate weight loss tool. Often we get discouraged when we do not see the scale going down. However, our weight fluctuates. It is common to notice weight fluctuations if you weigh yourself every day. Weight fluctuations occur, due to water weight, you may have eaten food or drank water late at night, it is also likely that you gained some muscle along the way.
Furthermore, if you are new to lifting weights, it is possible that you are also gaining some muscle while also losing fat. Therefore, it may seem like you are not losing weight because the number on the scale is not going, just remember you are, and that muscle weighs more than fat.
Stop jumping from one diet to another.
When it comes to weight loss there are no rules, one size fits all or a perfect diet. You are in charge of your body, you know your body more than the fitness guru telling you low-calorie dieting or fasting for 5 days will get you those results you so desperately want.
We all know diets do not work in the long run. Studies show that 95% of all dieters will regain the weight they lost in 1-5 years. A most common effect of beginning a diet and not 'succeeding' is yo-yo dieting. This cycle involves starting a diet for a period of time, stopping and then restarting it again. Many women can be on a dieting cycle for their whole life, not knowing that chronic dieting is doing them more harm than good. However, women often yo - yo diet because they believe they have failed the diet, not that the diet has failed them.
Studies have further shown that dieting is also associated with increased food preoccupation, binge eating, and eating in the absence of hunger.
It is important that you stay away from short term and fad diets for weight loss, sure you will lose weight, but it is not true weight loss. These types of diets are not maintainable or sustainable. Such dieting methods do not instil healthy eating or life changing habits. Once the extreme diet is over, you will have gone back to your bad eating habits and poor lifestyle choices.
Restricting too much
Be flexible with your diet. If you want to lose weight, you do not have to go on a crazy low calories diet and you do not have to deprive or restrict yourself. Many people who decide to lose weight restrict certain foods and food groups. They label foods a 'good' and 'bad,' 'healthy' and 'unhealthy.' When you start labelling and restricting food, you begin to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and start to hate the journey and as a result quit or start binging.
Allow yourself those foods you crave every once in a while. You can include some 'unhealthy' foods in your diet every day if you want. As long as your diet is mostly made up of micro nutrient dense foods, you can include a few 'bad' foods. You can follow the 80/20 rule. If your diet is 80% whole foods, the other 20% can be processed foods.
We are all guilty of this. It is important that you avoid comparing yourself to others. All of our bodies are different. We all have different body types, muscle insertion, we are all genetically predisposed to hold fat differently and our metabolism is different. Therefore, you cannot compare your weight loss progress with someone else.
The only person you should be comparing yourself to is you. Look and be better than your yesterday.
Stress causes the hormone cortisol to elevate, which may affect your weight loss by increasing the amount of fat your body stores. In fact, research has shown that higher levels of cortisol have been linked to greater amounts of visceral fat.
Not sleeping enough
A study found that dieters who got adequate sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. However, when they reduced the number of hours they slept, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat. Furthermore, they found that getting an adequate amount of sleep also helped control the dieters' hunger. The results showed, average levels of ghrelin did not change when dieters spent 8.5 hours in bed, however, when they spent 5.5 hours in bed, their ghrelin levels increased over two weeks from 75 ng/L to 84 ng/L.
Research shows that a lack of sleep results in a decrease in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, as well as leptin levels. An increase in evening concentrations of cortisol, ghrelin levels, and hunger and appetite. Evidence confirms previous findings, indicating the relationship between lack of sleep and the increased risk of obesity.
Researchers undertook a study to understand the relationship between sleep and weight gain. They found that sleep deprivation has effects in the body similar to activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, a key player in the brain’s regulation of appetite and energy levels.
The results showed that when participants were sleep-deprived, their eCB levels in the afternoons were both higher and lasted longer than when they’d had a full night’s sleep. Moreover, the elevated levels of eCB also occurred around the same time they reported an increase in hunger and appetite. Furthermore, during the high levels of eCB the sleep deprived participants consumed more and unhealthier snacks in between meals. The findings, therefore, suggest that high eCB levels are the cause of opting for unhealthier food options.
If you struggle to sleep while dieting, a study found that eating more protein while dieting can improve sleep, this is a result of its ability to keep you satiated.
Not Eating Mindfully
Studies show that eating mindfully is a great technique when looking to lose weight. A study found participants who implemented mindful eating document a significant weight loss.
Mindful eating is all about being present when you are eating, which means, eating with no distractions, eating slowly, savouring and enjoying each bite, while also listening to your bodies natural signals and cues letting your brain know you have had enough.
Here are some tips to help you be more mindful when eating:
- Eat with zero distractions, sit down at a table with just your food.
- Eat slowly and make sure you chew your food thoroughly. While eating be aware of the smells, flavours colours and textures.
- Finally, when you feel the satiety signals kicking in, you have reached the point where you feel full and cannot eat anymore, drink some water and stop eating.
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