There seems to be so much information out there about losing weight. And it’s incredibly frustrating to spend weeks upon weeks killing yourself in the gym and not seeing any progress
I can’t lie to you and tell you fat loss is easy. It takes commitment, persistence, and dedication. You won’t see results overnight, but if you are making any of these X fat loss mistakes, you’re sabotaging your own progress without realizing it.
Focusing On The Scale
It’s very common to get obsessed with the number we see on the scale. However, that only tells a very small part of the story. Remember, your goal should be FAT LOSS, that doesn’t necessarily mean weight loss. Your body will likely build muscle while it’s simultaneously losing fat, causing you to maintain your weight, or maybe even gain some. Muscle weighs more than fat. Your body will likely look completely different in six months or one year even if it’s not bein reflected on the scale.
Not Eating Enough Calories
It is common advice to just ‘eat less’ for fat loss. Eating low amounts of calories might help you lose weight in the beginning but it will mess up your body’s internal system. It’s likely your body will go into starvation mode and in an attempt to conserve energy will reduce the number of calories you burn. On top of this, eating such low amounts of calories will make your hungrier (duh!), lazier, and increase your cravings for food which can lead to a binge. Before you start ‘eating less’ to lose weight, it’s much wiser to slowly start substituting unhealthy meals for healthy ones. Instead of pancakes for breakfast, try oatmeal or a smoothie. Don’t get too crazy about the calories and focus on eating healthier overall.
Eating Too Often, Even When Not Hungry
It’s common advise that eating frequent, small meals, is a great way to lose fat. However, the best way to truly lose and maintain fat loss is to listen to your body’s internal hunger cues. Don’t eat simply because it’s 11 A.M. and that’s when you scheduled your pre-lunch snack. Only eat when you’re truly hungry. However, don’t let yourself get too hungry, as you can overeat. It’s smart to always have a snack but don’t feel forced to eat it just because.
You Drink Your Calories
One of the best ways I have found to lose fat quickly and easily has been cutting out all the processed drinks you consume. I only drink water, coffee, and homemade smoothies that I know aren’t filled with sugar. Avoid drinking juice, sweetened coffee or tea, and other calorie-filled drinks if you’re trying to lose fat. Sometimes even the ‘low calorie’ drinks have a ton of chemicals or artificial sweeteners that aren’t good for your health or doing you any favors in your fat loss journey.
The stress hormone, cortisol, causes weight gain. It increases your appetite and makes it especially hard to lose belly fat. Try to find simple ways to destress every day. Incorporating yoga and meditation into your fitness routine can combat the negative effects of stress in your life. Stress is natural and we all have different stress factors that could be affecting us, but even if a situation is out of your control, you can change the way you (and your body) react to it.
You Don’t Sleep Enough
Don’t underestimate the power of a good nights sleep. It’s been proven that sleep loss limits fat loss. Based on a study by the University of Chicago Medical Center, when dieters got a full night, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. Sleep deprived dieters also tend to feel hungrier when compared to their well-rested counterparts. Aim between 7 to 9 hours a sleep a night. Not only does sleep help you with fat loss, but it also helps reduce stress (!!!), and your risk of depression. So don’t feel bad about hutting that snooze button.
Not Exercising Or Exercising Too Much
If you aren’t exercising while trying to lose fat, it’s likely you will also lose muscle which can lead to your metabolism slowing down. Combine healthy eating with a balanced workout routine to avoid this.
On the other hand, exercising too much is unsustainable in the long run and can lead to stress. Exercising too much is unhealthy and ineffective. Try to go for a balanced routine. Hit the gym three to five times a week and mix it up with weights and cardio. Don’t spend three hours working out, you’ll just exhaust yourself and will (most likely) not see the results you’re hoping for.
You Don’t Read Labels
I’m not advocating you count calories, because although that is an effective tool for many, I don’t think it’s mentally healthy for most. Counting calories leads to seeing food as numbers and can lead to distorted eating (in my humble opinion), but that’s neither here nor there.
I don’t believe you should count calories, but I do believe you should look at the labels of products before you buy them. Especially the ingredients, sugar content, and saturated fat. If there is an ingredient in there you can’t pronounce, your body will likely not respond well to it. Likewise, snacks or meals high in sugar and saturated fat can lead to fat gain and long-term health problems like diabetes.
Not Eating Whole Foods
The grand bulk of your diet should be single-ingredient foods, meaning it’s not something that’s found in a box. What are the ingredients of Spinach? Just spinach. That’s what you should be aiming for over 90% of the time. I’m not saying avoid all processed meals (I have to have a cookie every once in a while), but the majority of my foods are whole and natural. Brown rice, quinoa, spinach, tomatoes, black beans, etc. to name a few.
An added benefit of eating whole foods, if you don’t have to deal with labels or weird, unhealthy ingredients. Win-Win.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
When you set unrealistic expectations, like losing 10 pounds in 10 days, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Make sure you make modest, achievable goals so you can stick with them and not lose your motivation.
It’s also a great idea to set goals that don’t have to do with fat loss entirely. Perhaps set a goal of running an 8-minute mile? Or squatting 150 pounds? Something that will motivate you and that you can work towards that isn’t strictly aesthetic. Personally, I tend to work out more and hit the gym consistently when I have a sense of motivation outside myself and my physical body. I’m constantly setting goals to be faster, stronger, healthier and that’s something I see improvement in daily and work towards. When you set goals like these, your body tends to follow suit.