5 Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Fat Loss Progress
It’s getting to be that time of year again. The days are getting warmer and longer. Summer is so close you can taste it. Beach season! That means dusting off the old swimwear. Are you ready? Or do you feel like you still have some work to do? Check out these 5 Fat Loss Mistakes you could be making:
- Biting off too much too soon.
We have all been here. You have kind of been slacking off lately and are less than satisfied with the way you are looking in the mirror. So, you decide you are going to really start getting after it with your diet and exercise. You are motivated and feeling great. So your life becomes an epic training montage set to the Rocky soundtrack. Morning cardio at 5 AM? Done. Chicken and Spinach for every meal? No problem. Hit the gym at the end of the day for round 2? Obviously, might even hit up yoga class after. Well if you haven’t worked yourself up to this kind of work, chances are the very next day you may be too sore to work out and so hungry that you go on a huge binge of cookies and ice cream.
A smarter approach would be to plan ahead and work your way up where you want to be. If your diet is a total mess, then just commit to eating a healthy breakfast every day to start. When you have mastered that, maybe you cut out drinking soda and continue to take steps. If you’re not exercising at all currently, don’t commit to working out every day. Start with something you know you can maintain, maybe 2 days per week to start. When that feels sustainable, add in another day. If you are just starting out, make it easy on yourself by setting small goals that you know you can achieve to build momentum. Small goals lead to big results.
- Falling victim to “Shiny Object Syndrome”.
Another mistake I see people make is falling victim to “Shiny Object Syndrome”, or basically never really giving one plan or program a chance to work, because you are switching so often. For example, let’s say an individual says they are going to try eating Paleo. They have been doing everything right for 2 weeks, but have not seen the results they were hoping for yet. So, they become discouraged, abandon ship, and switch to the Zone diet because they think Paleo doesn’t “work” for them. Honestly, almost all nutrition plans “work” when you follow them the way they are intended and you stick with them long enough to see results. However, if you change course, because you aren’t ripped after two weeks, it’s going to be hard to ever figure out what best suits you. Especially early on, I think it is more important to focus on your daily habits and consistency than it is to focus on weight loss. When making the right choices every day becomes a habit that you don’t even have to think about, that is when the magic happens. If after a couple months you are still not seeing results, then it might be time to start tweaking things. Consistency is the key to long term progress.
- Following crash diets.
To me this is essentially the same thing as waiting to study for a test until the night before. The fat loss equivalent of this is following crash diets that essentially just starve you for weeks. This is not a great tactic for several reasons. First of all when you go on one of these “lose 10 lbs. this week” diets, the only way they can try to accomplish this goal is by putting you in a huge calorie deficit. That means very little food and probably increased physical activity. Well when you are in a huge calorie deficit, your body reacts by going into starvation mood, because that’s exactly what you are doing to your body. When this happens all “non-survival” functions either slow or shut down in your body, this includes: reproductive, metabolic, and brain function. Does that sound like something you should be doing? Study for the test year-round and see how easy it is to lean out a little bit when summer hits.
- Not being aware of the calorie content and amounts of food you eat.
I am a peanut butter addict and used to fall victim to this mistake all the time. Oh the serving size is two tablespoons? I’ll just help myself to two heaping spoonfuls! Not only is that far above the serving size, but peanut butter is also a calorie dense food. So, each of those heaping spoons pack quite a caloric punch. If you are unaware of the calorie content of food or suggested serving sizes it can be very easy to overeat, even if it is a healthy food option. It’s a great idea to become aware of the calorie content of the foods you eat. Also, if you are trying to lose fat, a good strategy is to try to consume more foods that are nutrient dense, but not calorically dense like lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Completely depriving yourself of the foods you love.
Let’s face it, you only live once and sometimes you just need to have some ice cream. If a diet plan forbids you from ever eating your favorite foods, do you really think you will be able to stick with it? Maybe for a little while, but eventually you will break down and meet up with your two long lost pas Ben and Jerry, and you’ll probably eat until you hate yourself to make up for lost time. Don’t do this to yourself! Healthy eating should be a lifestyle, not just a temporary diet. So it wouldn’t make sense to swear off your favorite foods permanently. However, you need to assess how you can enjoy those foods without throwing off your progress. Maybe you have one cheat meal per week where you can indulge in whatever you want or maybe at Sunday breakfast you don’t eat quite as many pancakes. Again this is your life we are talking about and a life without ice cream is no life at all.
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