Losing weight is already a hard and challenging task for so many people around the world, it takes dedication, time and consistency on anyone to reach their desired goals. With so much information out there coming from magazines, videos and particularly marketing fads we can easily get lost on what are efficient ways of losing that unwanted bodyfat and weight, even worst what if you believe that you are actually doing your body good but in reality you are just sabotaging your own results without knowing it? It happens! Many believe that their goals are one step closer every day but once they look in the mirror or check the scale nothing has changed, in fact, even worst they’ve actually gained more bodyfat and weight. So how’s that even possible?
1.) Make it a lifestyle not a diet
Dieting. Let’s briefly analyze that concept itself. Most people who decide to jump on a diet have usually a specific time frame they want to stick with in order to reach their goals. Reality is, we all want things done now fast and effortless. Whether it may be a 30 day challenge or 90 day transformation plan it seems there is always a date or time frame associated with it. The good about that is that it definitely gets many off the couch and into the gym, the bad is, will you keep the habits you are dramatically changing on a long run? Unfortunately most don’t. If you have been doing the same things over and over daily for years, it will be hard to immediately change those habits from one day to the other. The key is to get motivated and slowly start making changes you can sustain without withdrawal and eventually completely change the habit(s)or decrease the amount you do it substantially. For those coffee lovers that add caramel, whole milk and more, slowly start making healthier substitutions like 0% fat free milk, very little to none caramel etc… These small changes will eventually become habit and you won’t be stuck with a coffee that contains as many calories as a cheeseburger with fries. The major problem with diets is that they go up and down like a roller coaster or yo-yo. You start off 100% and then slowly as time goes you go back to old habits and re-gain the weight you originally lost, or worst you gain more weight. Don’t allow this to happen, slowly start making healthier lifestyle changes that will burn the fat and keep it off.
2.) Healthy doesn’t always mean you will burn fat
Organic, natural, gluten-free, farm raised, sugar free, fat free etc…I’m sure you have heard these terms and words before associated with food. Let me start with the usual sentence I heard from several people daily “But I eat all organic meats and tons of fruits daily, how is it that I can’t lose weight?” Foods, whether they may be organic, natural, fat free etc…still contain calories. It’s simple, if you are trying to lose weight while you are dieting the main concept is to lower your calorie consumption or expend more caloric in a day that you are taking in. By substituting your foods to organic, natural etc won’t make a difference in the caloric count. It will no doubt be better for you and your body, but you are still consuming calories. The mistake is when people start dieting and making healthier food choices without truly knowing the macronutrients of the food they are consuming. Let’s take fruit for example. Great for you as they contain high amounts of natural vitamins and minerals, but when we look at the sugar content of fruit(s) they can be relatively high. So don’t go rushing to your local fruit juice smoothie store because they are promoting it as a healthy drink, it is loaded with sugars that will add up to your caloric intake. I hear it all the time “ I eat healthy, why can’t I lose weight?” It’s simple, because eating healthy doesn’t mean you are eating for your desired goals. In fact, your kitchen might now be all organic and natural but your caloric overall intake is higher. So don’t make that mistake, keep your portions and macronutrients portioned.
3.) Skipping Breakfast
“I’m trying to lose weight, I’m not going to eat breakfast” If you haven’t heard that one before then you are hearing it now. It’s very common that people might think that since they’ve been fasting all night while sleeping, that skipping breakfast and starting your day will burn more calories. In fact, studies show a direct correlation between eating breakfast and consuming fewer calories throughout the day. This begins with the fact that if you skip breakfast you’ll most likely be hungry at lunch time and want to eat more then and later in the day. If skipping breakfast makes you more likely to binge later in the day, don’t skip it. Additionally, if you are trying to sustain energy levels, gain muscle and train during that lunch time, skipping breakfast will not be beneficial for you. You won’t have the optimal energy to lift as much as burn potential bodyfat and weight. Skipping breakfast isn’t correlated with gaining fat and being a direct mistake while dieting, but the goal of dieting is to lose weight and body-fat, not lean muscle. By skipping a potential meal that will affect your training capabilities is then a direct factor to potentially gaining more fat. After all, like mentioned above, there’s two ways to losing fat while dieting; consuming less calories than you expend in a day or being physically active enough to burn more calories than you are consuming. Personally exercises is still the best way to lose weight and keep lean muscle mass.
4.) Healthy Fats
#4 is connected with key point # 2 so there’s no need to re-explain that healthy doesn’t always mean healthy, however it is important to bring this point as it is something we often read or hear a lot about. Trans fat and saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for hearth disease. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you as they lower your cholesterol and reduce heart disease. Additionally, fats are needed for healthy hormone production. The problem is when people hear this and assume that they should be consuming as many healthy fats as possible as they’ve read or seen somewhere that healthy fats help you burn fat. It’s true, they do, but like anything in life, moderation is key. When you combine on a daily basis, almonds, fatty fish, oils and seeds into a diet those rich dense foods add up the calories pretty fast. Sure, once again, they are healthy, but in a game of numbers fats carry 9kcal / gram. So be aware of how many fats you are consuming in a day to your total caloric goals.
5.) The Lights, Frees and Sugarless
Today chemists can create any type of flavors that mimic almost anything. Even if it doesn’t exist they can come up with new flavors for us. But as I said, chemists do this, not Mother Nature. For that reason today we have tons of products on our supermarkets and stores that advertise fat free, sugar free and ‘light’. These are immediate sales for those trying to lose weight and still trying to stick with their favorite beverages or snack, however the chemicals being used to mimic the natural sugars in the real flavors and food can actually trigger us to want more sweets later. Beyond the gastrointestinal problems that these foods may cause us, there are other problems as well. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.1
1. Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
2. Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar- sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
So be careful with these lower calories or 0 calorie products as they might be eventually adding back more weight than you originally started with.
We all try and find the fastest way to reach our goals but as we all know the fastest way is not always the best way, specially when we are talking about our bodies and health. The 5 factors above are dieting mistakes one can easily correct and fix into their lifestyles so that it doesn’t occur again. Don’t make these mistakes and stay on track with your weight loss goals but having a balanced exercise and nutritional regimen.
1. Guy Fagherazzi ,Consumption of artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages and incident type 2 diabetes, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/01/30/ajcn.112.050997, 2013