Everyone has the best of intentions when it comes to fitness and weight loss. There seems to be a boat load of misinformation out there and I think that honesty in advertising is sadly lacking, many folks are mistakenly led down the wrong path. I thought I would summarize the top ten weight loss mistakes so you can be aware and make good choices for yourself.
1. Weight loss success is NOT measured by the pound.
Just weighing yourself can be very misleading. Especially for those that are undertaking a resistance training program. What may happen is that you may lose a pound of fat while building a pound of muscle and in the end you’ve lost an inch but not a pound. Don’t you think you’d rather fit your jeans better than to have a certain number show up on the scale? Taking body measurements or judging your progress by how your clothing fits is a more accurate measure of progress than weight alone.
2.You may have an unrealistic body image.
You may be surprised to know that photos in any and every magazine are digitally enhanced. So much so that the average person, even someone very fit, may not measure up by comparison. If you’re too focused on the images presented by the media, you’ll have unrealistic body image and expectations and you’ll always be disappointed in your physique. Setting realistic expectations and accepting your physique is not only important for your physical well being, but also your emotional well being and self esteem. You have to make the best of what nature has given you.
3. Do not buy ‘diet’ food.
There’s always a catch with diet food. If the food is advertised as ‘low fat’, then there’s likely more sugar added. Or if the food is ‘low sugar’, then be careful as its likely loaded with more fat. Your best bet for healthy eating is to buy whole foods: grains, fruits and veggies that are processed as little as possible. The ingredient list shouldn’t be full of words you can’t pronounce or a chemistry lesson. If you can’t pronounce the item on the list, you probably shouldn’t be eating it on a regular basis. This includes protein bars. These can be used as a supplement on occasion, but shouldn’t a staple in your diet. Sometimes a protein bar is little more than a glorified chocolate bar.
4. Remember to eat often.
When you don’t eat at regular intervals, your body makes efforts to ‘store’ food instead of using it for energy. As a result, you don’t feel energized and your body will be more inclined to store fat. By eating 5-6 meals daily, you’ll keep the metabolism stoked and you’ll feel more energized.
5. Resistance training is a MUST and cardio isn’t the ‘be all end all’ of fitness.
You need to maintain and build lean muscle mass in order to keep the metabolism going. Muscle is metabolically active and burns calories even when you’re sleeping. Body weight training is enough to maintain and build muscle. Cardiovascular training is an important fitness component, but isn’t the answer to weight loss. The combination of resistance training and cardiovascular training is more effective for weight loss than cardio alone.
6. Make every calorie count rather than counting calories.
If you follow the rule that what ever goes into your mouth has to pack a nutritional punch, then you’ll be far better off than counting and reducing calories that aren’t as nutritionally dense. A balanced diet rich in protein, fibre, fruits, veggies and whole grains will ensure that you have the energy you need and will help reduce cravings. Cutting out junk food, particularly sugar will make a huge difference in your appetite and cravings.
7. Water, water and more water.
Did you hear drink more water? You heard correctly. Often you may be dehydrated and not hungry. Get in the habit of having a water bottle that you sip on where ever you go. You’ll be surprised at how much more energized you feel and how your system will run much more smoothly when you are fully hydrated.
New research shows that drinking water revs up your metabolism helping you burn more body fat even without changing any other behavior. German researchers measured resting metabolism of a group of test volunteers before and after they drank 16 ounces of cool water. Within 10 minutes, resting metabolism began to rise, and after 40 minutes the average calorie-burning rate increased 30% and stayed elevated for more than an hour.
Researchers determined that if you drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day you can burn off almost 10 pounds of fat a year, even if you don’t change your eating or exercise habits.
8. Make one change to start.
Set small attainable goals. Don’t try to quit smoking, go on a diet and start exercising in one day. Give yourself time to develop a habit and then slowly incorporate new ones. Set yourself up for success and not failure. By doing too much too soon, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and give up all efforts to improve your health.
9 & 10 Weight loss is a life long process.
This is so important I’ve numbered this point nine and ten! Keep in mind that you have the opportunity to improve your health every day, every meal. Some days will be better than others, some meals better than others. The key to lasting health is to remember that if you fall off the wagon nutritionally, make sure that you get right back on as soon as possible. Don’t beat yourself up about it; just get back on track quickly to minimize the ‘damage’.
I have some exciting news coming up soon. It’s a way that I can help you make the most of your training and be accountable for your diet. So many clients ask me how I can be in their back pocket for the 23 hours a day that I”m not with them…well, I think I have that figured out…more to come.
And oh by the way, if you want to stay on top of your nutrition, check out my online nutrition software for free: