Losing weight is not a simple task. It takes commitment, discipline, and motivation. More importantly, however, it requires the right approach. Many people embark on their weight loss journey without realizing they are making mistakes that ultimately stall their progress and keep them from achieving their goals. So what are those weight loss mistakes? And how can they be avoided? Let’s find out in this article.
Mistake #1: Sticking to the same exercise routine
Our body is extremely good at adapting. It can get used to pretty much anything — including any workout. And once it gets used to performing a particular exercise, it burns fewer calories while doing it. This might result in a so-called “plateau”, where your weight loss process stops or slows down considerably.
Fortunately, it is possible to get over it by tweaking a few things in your workout routine. Switch it up by changing the intensity or the duration of your training. Ideally, you should do it once every 3 weeks. Change doesn’t have to be drastic though. Even a small modification (rearranging the order in which you perform your usual exercises, for example) can make a huge difference.
Mistake #2: Losing weight too fast
We all want quick results. And there are so many diets, marathons, and weight loss programs that promise us just that — reaching the desired shape in a matter of weeks or even days. However, rapid weight loss may not be such a great idea in the long run. It puts a lot of unnecessary strain on your body and can even cause potentially dangerous side effects such as headaches, hair loss, dizziness, constipation, etc. Rapid weight loss is also often linked with malnutrition, which happens if your body doesn’t receive the necessary nutrients.
Diets that severely restrict your daily calorie intake (including the extreme 800-calorie and 500-calorie diets) should always be supervised by a medical professional, so always consult your doctor before changing your eating patterns.
Weight Loss Mistakes #3: Looking at the scales too much
Paying too much attention to the number on your scales can be extremely demotivating and counterproductive. You shouldn’t forget that our weight doesn’t always show us the real picture. In fact, it is influenced by a variety of factors and can change throughout the day. Scales also don’t reflect the fat-to-muscle ratio in your body. It means that you might be losing fat and building muscle while your weight remains the same.
Weigh yourself once every week or two. Better yet monitor your progress by looking at the size of your clothes. If your pants are starting to feel a bit loose, you’re on the right track!
Mistake #4: Starving or completely depriving yourself of treats and snacks
Diets that are too restrictive aren’t effective in the long run. It is practically impossible, frustrating, and sometimes even dangerous to maintain them for an extensive period of time. Inevitably the weight you lost by severely limiting yourself comes back, and it’s important to realize that it’s not your fault. Rather it’s the fault of an incorrectly selected diet plan.
Try to focus on the lifestyle and the diet patterns that are healthy and make you feel good. If your regime is making you miserable and unhappy, you can’t maintain it for a long time. Your diet should fit you like a glove. Otherwise, it will only bring you more stress and ultimately make you relapse. Allow yourself to have three light meals a day and two healthy snacks in between. Practice conscious eating habits by choosing the food that you like, taking your time preparing it, and learning to savor it instead of eating in front of the TV.
Mistake #5: Not getting enough rest
Getting enough sleep plays a key role to avoid weight loss mistakes for a number of reasons. The most important one is its impact on your Resting Metabolic Rate. Metabolism is the reaction that allows your body to turn calories into energy. RMR is the rate at which this conversion takes place when you rest. Insomnia, chronic tiredness, and lack of sleep are the factors that can decrease your RMR, disrupting your body’s ability to burn the calories it gets during the day.
Low energy levels that occur as the result of poor sleep are another reason why a good night’s rest is so important. Tiredness makes you less likely to exercise properly and increases the chances of overeating throughout the day. It also causes stress to build up over time, which, in turn, can contribute to weight gain as well.
To avoid all this try to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t eat before bedtime and make sure that the room you sleep in is dark and cool.
Mistake #6: Not watching what you drink
Calories come from what you eat, but also from what you drink. Rejecting a cake in favor of a cocktail, for instance, may not be the best idea. Soft drinks and alcohol are, in fact, full of calories. A 200 ml serving of a Pina colada contains as much as 526 calories, while a pint of regular beer can have up to 200 calories.
Fruit juices are hardly a good choice of drink as well. Although often advertised as healthy and organic, they are, in fact, full of concentrated sugars (i.e. a small glass of orange juice contains as much as 6 teaspoons of sugar!).
So, what should you drink instead? The best choice is, of course, simple water. Unsweetened green tea, ginger tea, lemon water, or vegetable juice are great options, too, as they enhance metabolism and speed up the weight loss process.
Mistake #7: Not keeping a food journal
Studies show that people who keep food journals lose weight twice as fast compared to those who don’t. Of course, it might seem intimidating at first to start a food journal. However, it is important to remember that it shouldn’t make you feel guilty or uncomfortable. The main goal of a food journal is to give you a perspective.
Remember, that it’s not just what you eat and how much you eat that is important. Start by covering points such as where you eat, when, and for how long. How does it make you feel? Did you enjoy your meal? What would you like to change about it? Be as detailed as possible in describing your food rituals.
Keeping a food journal will help you to determine the diet that is right for you, the habits that work best for you individually, and avoid unhealthy eating patterns that you probably weren’t even aware of.