Are you trying to lose weight, but not seeing results? If the fat isn’t melting away like you hoped, don’t give up. Take a few minutes to evaluate your weight loss plan and see if you’re making any of these common weight loss mistakes.
Just because a food is labeled as a “health” food doesn’t make it healthy. Many so-called health foods — protein and fiber bars, cereals, granola, etc. — may have high protein or fiber counts, but they’re also packed with sugar. Don’t waste your money on pre-packaged “health” foods, and stick to eating whole foods. Increase your protein count with lean meat, nuts, beans and quinoa, and keep fruits, veggies and whole grains in your daily rotation.
If you’re fixated on a number, you’ve headed down an unhealthy path. Losing weight should not be your ultimate goal — losing fat should be. Eating more protein and exercising regularly will help build lean muscle mass, but remember, muscle weighs more than fat. Don’t focus on being skinny; focus on not being fat.
Cutting too many calories is a common problem for both men and women. In theory, reducing calorie intake results in weight loss, but severely limiting your caloric intake can also mean you’re not getting enough of the right macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) you need to be healthy. Skipping meals altogether doesn’t help either; doing so will leave you hungry and more likely to binge at your next meal. Focus on eating regular, healthy meals with one or two nutritious 100-calorie snacks in between.
Guys, don’t leave meal planning to the ladies. Taking time to plan out your weekly meals sets you up for success. If you don’t plan a meal or pack a healthy lunch to take to work, you’re more likely to wind up in the drive-thru lane. Set aside some time to plan and prep weekly meals. Cut up meats and veggies ahead of time. Toss in seasonings and store ready-to-cook meals in the freezer. Don’t forget to consider snacks, too.
Whether it’s coffee, beer, energy drinks, smoothies or protein shakes, don’t forget to count the calories (and sugar and carb content) of everything you eat and drink. Liquid calories add up quickly and can derail your diet plans if you aren’t careful. If you’re trying to lose weight, water should be your primary source of fluids. Moderate your intake of other drinks, including alcohol and diet soda.
“I’ll work this off later,” or, “I’ll do better tomorrow,” are all excuses that will limit your success. Drinking one regular soda means walking or jogging nearly an hour to work off the 240 calories it contains. A slice of pepperoni pizza will cost you 30 minutes on the bike to rid yourself of its 320-plus calories. Making poor food choices with the excuse that you are fueling a workout or will work it off later won’t get you anywhere. Fuel your workouts with healthy foods such as lean protein and healthy carbs, including whole grain pasta or fruit.
Cutting carbohydrates can help you lose weight, but don’t assume all carbs are bad. Cutting carbs for weight loss means reducing intake of processed, fried and sugary foods. Many healthy foods, such as quinoa, buckwheat, oats, rice and even veggies, contain carbs, but they’re mostly whole, unprocessed complex carbs with little to no sugar.
Everybody is different, and while following general rules can help you reach your weight loss goals, to maximize your success, set up an appointment with your doctor and a certified professional trainer, who can help you devise a diet and exercise plan that suits your specific physical needs.