Fat Loss Mistakes Can Demotivate You
You feel like you've been doing your best. You work out a few days a week, and you think your diet is OK. But still, that weight isn't budging. Week after week you look the same, feel the same, and it's becoming demotivating.
How can you fix this? The good news is that there is a high likelihood that you are not doing everything correctly. Why is this good? Because it means that things are FIXABLE.
In fact, unless you are an elite level athlete trying to get even better, the average guy or gal will be able to accomplish some weight loss without much difficulty.
Wondering what those mistakes are and how you can go about fixing them? Let's check them out now.
Most Common Fat Loss Pitfalls
You Can Only Lose Weight By Doing Cardio
Head to the nearest gym or fitness centre, and you're likely to be greeted by a slew of cardio bunnies. What's a cardio bunny? Someone who devotes their entire (or almost) gym time to cardio and nothing else. Does this mean cardio is bad?
Not inherently. But it does mean you need to understand what it can and cannot do. It certainly will help you lose weight. It is recommended that everyone on the planet does it to help support cardiovascular health.
Do it more frequently and you will achieve good weight loss as a result of the calorie burning potential it possesses. But go further still, and cardio can turn into a nightmare.
This is because excessive cardio will also burn through muscle tissue- a scenario you do not want. Loss of muscle tissue will lead to poor body composition and will only serve to impair subsequent weight loss.
Always remember- muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body; lose it and your metabolism is bound to stutter and stall.
Making Quick Fixes & Following Fad Diets
A fad diet is one that is classified as a trend or one that is obscure and not accepted by mainstream health and fitness professionals.
Over the course of history, many fad diets have come and gone. The cabbage juice diet was one such ridiculous example. Dieters were only allowed to consume cabbage juice over the course of 3 days, or a few times every week.
Do these diets lead to weight loss? In the short term, yes. You will lose weight when you virtually STARVE yourself and drink only that horrid cabbage juice.
And this is why fad diets fail. They are not sustainable or remotely realistic. People are not able to have a job, responsibilities and then work out when all they've had is a glass of stinking cabbage juice for the day.
Other fad diets have done a better job of getting some amount of recognition as effective, but still, questions surround their sustainability. Low carb and keto diets are two such examples.
Weight loss and other benefits have been positively demonstrated, but sustainability is still fairly difficult and the majority of dieters are unable to stay on them for the long haul.
Nutrition Before And After Workouts Is Not Appreciated
Peri-workout nutrition is not appreciated as a useful tool in the management of weight, helping you perform at an optimal level and also supporting recovery. Pre-workout nutrition may include a small meal taken 90 minutes or so before your exercise session, helping you o complete what you need to do.
Post-workout nutrition might include a fast acting whey protein shake, with or without added carbohydrates. If you are restricting carbohydrates in an effort to lose weight, the post-workout period is one of those forgiving periods that actually allows you to take some as glucose is preferentially shuttled to muscle cells after a tough workout session.
Skimping On Water
Water is life. Ever heard that before? Water is basically so much of what we are, and yet people make the assumption that water can be limited on a weight loss plan.
You restrict water, and you inevitably restrict your metabolism. That includes the metabolism of fat too.
Dehydration will affect performance immensely. That means no exercise, brain fog, fatigue, and just a feeling of lethargy.
Then there's the fact that water is a great way to blunt hunger, and that it is crucial in the removal of metabolic waste products from the body.
There are just too many reasons to NOT restrict water if you're serious about losing weight.
A Lack Of Focus On Getting Stronger
How does the body get stronger? With regards to physical strength, by resistance training. It broadly refers to muscular strength or force output, both of which are positively correlated with weight loss.
Is it any coincidence that weight lifters are sometimes the leanest in the room? Not at all. This isn't just a freak coincidence, but a real demonstration of how active muscles are.
As you get stronger, muscles tend to get larger or increase their mitochondrial oxidative capacity. The oxidative capacity of the mitochondria refers to the efficiency at which it burns fuel to generate energy, either in the form of glucose or fatty acids.
Resistance training and weightlifting also contribute greatly to your basal metabolic rate. This is your metabolism running at idle while assuming no other physical activity is being performed.
So, one person weighing 200lbs with 40% bodyfat will have a lower basal metabolic rate than someone of the same weight with 15% bodyfat. Why? Because person number 2 has more muscle mass.
This is why weight lifting is the easiest way to sustain weight loss over the long term.
The Nighttime Sleep You Get Is Insufficient
If you're trying to lose weight, sleep is a must. Skimping on sleep is a surefire way to GAIN weight, thanks to the detrimental metabolic effects.
For instance, hunger hormones are disrupted, stress hormones rise, and overall energy levels decrease. In addition to this, growth hormone- which is known as a lipolytic hormone, is impaired.
There are just too many things going on that sleep plays a part in to neglect getting enough.
The Practice Of Skipping Meals
We understand you want to lose weight fast, and if you're new to the world of fitness, skipping meals can seem like an attractive way to get that done. Just think about it- if you eat three square meals daily, and can manage skipping one (or more), then you immediately cut calories to a massive extent, right?
If you do manage to do it, you're still likely to suffer in other ways. For one, hunger will be massive. Then, there's the very high likelihood that your metabolism will crash from the sharp decrease in calories consumed.
Another mistake that goes hand in hand with this practice is to restrict the number of carbs and fats consumed simultaneously (effectively going low fat and carb). Your body needs nutrition and is unable to get it from protein alone, even though pathways exist to produce glucose from amino acids.
You should restrict one of the two aforementioned macronutrient groups, and aim to limit calories to just 500 under your daily calorie needs.
Eating Too Often
Eating often and in sufficient quantities is necessary to support weight loss and weight maintenance, but not to the extent that you're trying to gain weight.
This is very true if you are not watching what you eat. For instance, every time you consume carbohydrates, insulin is released into the bloodstream to facilitate absorption.
At that time, fat oxidation is suppressed in favor of storage processes. This is just one way insulin can affect your weight loss plans, and why it is important to keep it in check.
Relying Solely On Exercise
Another pitfall many people experience is thinking that you can outwork a bad diet. Yes, exercise is necessary for burning calories, but it is something like 70% diet and 30% exercise that determines success.
Weight loss comes about from a concerted effort on both fronts, with diet being arguably, more important.
You're A Dirty Eater
Weight loss does not coincide with dirty dieting. Dirty dieting is the practice of eating anything as long as it fits into calorie budgets, and sometimes, even that isn't adhered to.
Because many of these so-called dirty foods are calorie heavy, and inconsistent at best, you aren't even sure of what you're consuming most of the time.
Think fast food- they may come with nutrition info, but how often are they going to measure a serving size precisely when averaging is the rule of the day?
Plus, this dieting style might be sugar heavy, especially when it comes to fast carbs, and supply less than ideal fast to support health. All in all, this practice should be avoided.
How To Fix Your Problems
The list of fixes we have included below are not all-encompassing, but they are ones that can be implemented fairly rapidly to turn around an otherwise, failing plan. Give them a try and see for yourself.
Gradually Reduce Calories
One of the major pitfalls well-meaning dieters experience is reducing calories too rapidly.
The better way to do this? Gradually reduce the calories consumed. In fact, one of the first things that you should do is to calculate your calorie needs daily.
Then, and only then, should you start to reduce calories. To lose one pound of weight weekly, you need to reduce 3500 calories. This is easy to achieve by simply lowering calorie intake by 500 daily.
It is never a good idea to cut calories by 1000 or more as this will slow down metabolism. The body feels as if a caloric shortfall is on the horizon, and in response, will slow processes to just the essential.
Weight loss is not a survival mechanism and will be shut down if you cut too much and too fast.
Eat Your Calories, Not Drink Them
There is a myth that calories are calories wherever they come from, and however they come. This, of course, is not true. A liquid diet can never come close to the satiety that solid food brings.
The problem is that liquid calories are not processed by the body the same as solid food, making us overeat instead.
This is also why meal replacement shakes are notoriously bad for weight loss, and should only be used to supplement an already good diet.
Eat More Protein And Less Fat Or Carbs
You will need to restrict calories to lose weight. However, you still need to do so in a methodical way. You can't just haphazardly restrict things.
A good approach? Keep the protein high, and limit either carbs or fats. Fat might seem like the logical answer, especially since they are the most nutrient dense of the macronutrients, and might be the answer if you are looking to preserve a lot of muscle mass.
Restricting carbs, on the other hand, will lead to enhanced fat loss over the long haul as the body is capable of manufacturing ketone bodies from fatty acids.
This is why a diet high in protein and fats will not necessarily make you fat, as long as you are smart about it.
Getting A Balance Between Different Types Of Exercise
It is a good approach to include both resistance and cardiovascular exercise into your routine.
Resistance exercise will prevent excessive muscle loss, and keep your metabolism elevated for the long term, as well as following your workout.
Cardiovascular exercise, on the other hand, is a great way to burn a large number of calories in a single session, improve heart and lung function and support your ability to exercise.
Just keep in mind that you also need rest. Aim for no more than 4 days of resistance exercise weekly, and between 3-5 cardiovascular sessions.
Fat loss might seem easy on paper, but there are many perils just waiting to catch you off guard. We hope that you are now more confident knowing some of what to look out for.
Above all is, don't make failure discourage you. One bad week will not ruin your goal, so it is important you keep that in mind. Just stay consistent most of the time and you will achieve sustainable weight loss.