Weight loss is a subject where people have lots of differing opinions. Some are helpful, some a not. Many people take the wrong advice or interpret something the wrong way. Most people quit really early because of either a lack of results or the fact that losing weight was too hard for them. If the case is any of the two, then you’re likely making a mistake. Are you on the right track? Here are some of the most common mistakes beginners make when they start out:
Eating too less
Perhaps the most common mistake people make when wanting to lose weight is to stop eating food. Instead of switching to healthier choices, people eat minimal amounts of food. Yes, in order to lose weight you need to be at a caloric deficit, but crash dieting is not going to help you in the long run.
There is a certain number of calories that your body requires per day in order to function normally. When you don’t provide the full amount, it turns to fat for energy, that is how one loses weight. However, when one consumes too few calories, the metabolism starts to slow down because the body compensates for the lack of food it’s receiving. Our bodies are built for survival, so the body fights back.
Moreover, muscle is burnt away in order to fuel your body. When muscle loss occurs, your metabolism slows down even further. Therefore, even though you may lose weight, it will come back haunting in the long run because all you did was restrict calories. When you go back to your regular diet with a slower metabolism, all the weight will come back on soon enough.
Therefore, it’s recommended to make small changes over time to your diet and thus, switch to healthier alternatives. If you eat the right foods, you’ll become full before you even get a chance to go above your daily caloric requirements.
Overdoing the diet
Many people give up just a few days, weeks, maybe months into their weight loss program. The reason is that people often don’t choose a plan that they can sustain in the long run. It’s very common for a person to go from one extreme to the other, and that doesn’t help.
For example, a very common scenario is a person who drinks junk food every day or every other day of the week. They drink sodas etc. and eat a lot of sugary foods. Now, this person goes on a “diet” and starts avoiding all these foods for fruits, vegetables, and all the “healthy” foods. The chances of this person sticking to his/her “diet” are very slim. This is because we are simply not used to eating “healthy” or different types of food. Jumping straight into everything will not help.
When you’re new to a gym, you are told to take it easy for the first week or two, keep the intensity low to medium in order to get a feel for each exercise. Later you start to get more and more into the workouts, adding intensity each week. There’s a similar case for changing your diet. You have to ease into it. Start by reducing the amount of junk food you eat and sodas you drink per week. Then keep reducing until you eventually remove them from your diet altogether.
Moreover, a ‘diet’ doesn’t have to be miserable. If I told you, I lost weight by eating spaghetti, pasta, and burgers, would you believe me? It’s true, and it’s possible. Whole wheat pasta, whole wheat burger buns etc. are healthier carbohydrate choices with high amounts of fiber. Simply make a few lifestyle switches and you’re good to go. Choose a program that you can follow for life and only then will you be consistent enough to produce results.
Not lifting weights
A lot of people believe that lifting weights has nothing to do with weight loss. Some people argue that they want a lean figure and not a bulky one, the latter one resulting from a weight lifting routine. This is not true. In fact, lifting weights actually helps you lose weight faster and it also improves your overall body composition.
There are many studies that show how lifting weights are good for the metabolism. During a weightlifting session, you are essentially tearing up your muscle fibers. The body has to undergo the process of recovery, which helps in speeding up the rate at which your body burns calories i.e. metabolism. Moreover, you gain lean muscle which helps improve your body composition. It’s a myth that you’ll become ‘bulky’ if you lift weights.
If you only do cardio and not lift weights, you can trigger muscle loss which is bad for your body long term. Instead, build lean muscle by lifting weights and increase your metabolism and overall fitness in the process. The increased metabolic rate will burn fats faster and it will also ensure that your weight stays off in the long term.
Focusing on only the reading of the weight scale
The main reason for quitting your weight loss program is due to demotivation. How does demotivation occur? When people do not see results. It takes a lot of hard work and consistency to lose weight. If one is doing everything right, but the number on the scale doesn’t move, then it will obviously lead to demotivation.
However, associating “results” with a number on the weight scale is not a good idea. Your body goes through a lot of changes when you start to work out. You burn a lot of fat and gain a bit of muscle, something people refer to as the “newbie gains”. Muscle is naturally more dense than fat, so it may appear as though you have not lost a single pound, but you may have actually lost a lot of fat.
Therefore, reading the value on the scales can be misleading. It’s recommended that you measure inches instead. Taking before and after measurements help give a better picture of whether your efforts are working or not. If you can, you can also get your body fat tested from time to time, which also is a good indicator of your progress.
Eating too many “low-fat” foods
Whenever people go on a “diet”, they automatically assume they need to avoid all food containing fat. They also switch to some so-called ‘diet’ foods. However, what people don’t realize is that they are actually hurting themselves more than benefitting from these type of foods.
Most of the low-fat foods are added with a lot of sugar to improve taste. Fruit flavored Yogurt has a lot of sugar if you paid attention to the label at the back. Low-fat foods often lack the necessary amount of fiber as well which means these foods also don’t make you feel full either. If you don’t feel full, then it’s likely you will overeat.
It’s always good to read nutritional labels behind all the foods you purchase. It’s generally good practice that helps you avoid a lot of unnecessary calories that you would have otherwise eaten. Instead of avoiding fats, eat nuts, use olive oil with food to get healthy fats daily.
Fats are essential for your body, and avoiding them completely is not a good idea. Diet foods, with their additives, actually do more harm than good, which is why they should be avoided.