Most people know that if you want to lose weight, you need to consume fewer kilojoules and exercise on a regular basis. However, there’s much more to successful weight loss than “eat less, move more”. We need to take into account or lifestyle, family history, and stress levels (to name a few). So if your weight loss efforts are not showing results, here are some common mistakes you must look out for.
Not eating enough
It is good to add greens to your salads but if your salad is all kale, cucumber, and spinach, chances are that you’re not getting enough satisfying sustenance to keep you going until dinner. Adding a topping of protein (boiled eggs, chicken, salmon, chickpeas, feta), with high fibre carbs (like sweet potato, corn, brown rice, quinoa) and a little fat (nuts, seeds, tahini or avocado) can help settle those hunger pangs, preventing you from overeating.
Cardio is your main focus
Sure cardio can torch more calories per session, however lifting weights allows the body to burn more calories in the long term. Why? Lifting weights usually requires a higher amount of oxygen that is required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function. It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished a resistance training or high-interval training type workout (compared to carsio exercise). This physiological effect is called ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’, or EPOC. Also known as ‘oxygen debt’ or the ‘after-burn’ – a win-win for weight loss. For best results, combine cardio with some kind of muscle-strengthening activities or HIIT.
Whether you attempt intermittent fasting, or work through your lunch break in order to save on calories, skipping meals not only slows down your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) but your soon to follow rumbling stomach can cause you to eat more calories than you would have otherwise. What’s more, going extended periods of time without replenishing your body’s fuel supply can set your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin — a hormone which favours fat gain instead of fat loss.
Weighing yourself every day
Yes, it’s tempting to be hell-bent on weighing yourself regularly to measure your success and keep you accountable, but stepping on the scales each morning may prove more disheartening than motivating. Why? The scale weighs everything: bone, muscle, water (which makes up 70 per cent of the body) and body fat. Just because your scale is not heading south, doesn’t mean you are not making progress. So don’t overly rely on the scale, you’re probably better off taking photographs of yourself once a week and use a tape measurements or clothing as your results indicator.
You can’t outrun a poor diet
Whether you think your third session in a week with your personal trainer earns you the right to inhale four slices of pizza and three martinis, you’re not only promoting an unhealthy relationship with food, but it can sabotage your weight loss success. According to Medibank’s energy expenditure, running for 1 hour will burn off 2.5 slices of pizza and 1.5 hours of light weight training equals 3 glasses of wine. So in many ways it is obviously much easier simply to reduce the amount of calories you eat rather than trying to burn them off. Use workouts to complement your healthy diet, not to make up for unhealthy eating habits.