As the amount of people who are overweight grows, so too does the number of people looking to change their life and lose weight. Losing weight isn’t easy though, sometimes you feel like you're doing everything right, yet still not getting results.
You may actually be hindering your progress by simply following misguided or outdated advice.
Here are 5 common mistakes individuals make when trying to lose weight.
- Only focusing on the scale weight
It is very common to feel like you are not losing weight fast enough, despite faithfully sticking to a diet. The amount on the scale is simply 1 measure of weight change. Weight is influenced by several things, including fluid fluctuations and how much food remains on your system.
In reality, weight can fluctuate by up to 4 pounds over the duration of a day, based on how much liquid and food you've consumed.
Also, increased estrogen levels and other hormonal changes in women can cause greater water retention, which is reflected in scale weight.
If the number on the scale is not moving, you might just be losing weight mass but holding on to water. Fortunately, you can do several things to get rid of water weight.
If you have been exercising, you might be gaining muscle and losing fat. While this occurs, your clothes might begin to feel looser -- especially around the waist -- despite a steady scale weight.
Measuring your waist with a tape measure and taking monthly pictures of yourself can show you are actually losing weight, even if the scale amount doesn't change considerably.
- Eating too many or too few calories
A calorie deficit is needed for weight reduction. This usually means you have to burn more calories than you consume.
For many decades, it was believed that a reduction of 3,500 calories per week would result in 1 pound of fat reduction. But, recent research shows the calorie deficit required varies from person to person.
You will feel as though you're not eating very many calories. But in fact, most of us have a propensity to underestimate and under report what we eat.
In a two-week study, 10 obese people reported consuming 1,000 calories per day. Laboratory testing revealed they were actually taking in about 2,000 calories per day.
You might be consuming too many foods which are healthful but also high in calories, such as nuts and cheese. Watching portion sizes is key.
On the other hand, decreasing your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive.
Studies on very low-carb diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day reveal they can lead to muscle loss and slow down the metabolism.
- Not exercising or exercising too much
During weight loss, you will lose some muscle mass in addition to fat, even though the amount is dependent upon several variables. If you do not exercise at all while limiting calories, then you are likely to lose more muscle mass and experience a decrease in metabolic rate.
By comparison, exercising helps minimize the amount of lean mass you lose, promote fat loss and prevent your metabolism from slowing down. The more lean mass you have, the easier it is to lose weight and maintain weight loss.
Over-exercising can also result in problems.
Studies reveal excessive exercise is unsustainable in the long term for most individuals and may lead to stress. Additionally, it may inhibit the production of adrenal hormones that regulate stress response.
Attempting to force your body to burn more calories by exercising too much is neither powerful nor healthy.
Lifting weights and doing cardio several times per week is a sustainable strategy for maintaining metabolic rate during weight reduction.
- Not lifting weights
Performing resistance training is remarkably important during weight loss.
Studies reveal lifting weights is one of the best exercise plans for gaining muscle and increasing metabolic rate. Additionally, it improves overall body makeup and boosts belly fat loss.
In reality, a review of 15 studies with over 700 people found the best strategy of all for weight loss appears to be mixed aerobic exercise and weightlifting.
- Choosing low-fat or"diet" foods
Processed low-carb or"diet" foods are often considered good options for losing weight, but they may actually have the reverse impact.
Many of these goods are loaded with sugar to improve their taste.
Instead of keeping you full, low-fat goods are very likely to make you hungrier, so you wind up eating much more.
Rather than low carb or"diet" foods, choose a combination of nutritious foods that are not processed.