Losing weight isn’t just about reduced scale readings and improved-fitting clothes; it’s about improving your health, mood, and quality of life. But too often, people focus on the wrong things when trying to slim down. Some still stick to the outdated advice of low-fat diets, while others are convinced that they must sweat it out for hours on the treadmill daily.
The weight loss journey is indeed personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. But there are certain mistakes that almost everyone makes when trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, these sour mistakes may cost you a moment of self-doubt. As a result, you may get demotivated or, worse, have a stagnant weight loss rate.
So, today, let’s begin with a clean slate (and plate) by learning from these weight loss mistakes:
Not Letting Go of Alcohol
A calorie deficit is the heart of a weight loss regimen. So, even if you’re making all the right food choices during the day, having a few drinks in the evening can quickly offset your progress. A single glass of wine can pack over 80 calories, and a martini can have up to 140 calories. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, look out for this calorie culprit.
Fortunately, you don’t have to swear off alcohol completely when trying to lose weight. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation and be mindful of the mixers you use.
But if your relationship with alcohol goes beyond occasional drinking, it might be time to reevaluate. Research states that people trying to lose weight and have a problem with alcohol consumption are more successful when abstaining from alcohol altogether. If you think you need help with alcoholism, click serenityatsummit.com for guidance. The institution provides professional treatment options to people from all backgrounds and with different addictions. They use an approach that touches on addiction’s psychological, physical, social, and spiritual aspects.
Not Focusing on the Protein Intake
Protein is essential for weight loss. It helps you lose fat while preserving muscle mass, which is the key to a successful transformation. A high protein intake also helps reduce cravings and hunger pangs, making you less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks.
The recommended daily protein intake is 0.36 grams per pound (or 0.8 grams per kilogram) of body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kg), you should eat at least 72 grams of protein daily.
Protein also restricts your body from regaining lost weight. Isn’t that what we all want?
Animal sources such as beef, chicken, and fish are the best protein sources. But if you’re vegan, you can get your fix from plant-based sources such as lentils, beans, and tofu. Eggs and dairy are also excellent sources of protein.
Not Staying Hydrated
Water is essential for weight loss. If you realize the manifold benefits of drinking water for weight loss, you will make sure to drink eight glasses daily.
For starters, water suppresses hunger. It plays literal mind games with your stomach by making it think it’s full. As a result, you end up eating less.
Water also helps burn calories. It is known as resting energy expenditure or REE. When you drink cold water, your body needs to work harder to maintain its internal temperature, leading to an increased REE.
What’s more, it cleanses your system by flushing out toxins and wastes. It also helps your body absorb essential nutrients and minerals. And for the workout fanatics out there, water prevents muscle cramps and helps you recover faster from strenuous exercise.
The bottom line is: drink up!
Taking Fiber for Granted
Ignoring fiber can be detrimental to your health as well as your waistline. Fiber belongs to the family of carbohydrates. But it’s one that the body cannot digest. It helps regulate bowel movement, lowers cholesterol levels, and keeps you feeling full for longer. All of which are critical for weight loss.
Fiber falls under two categories:
- Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance after dissolving in water. Oats, peas, beans, apples, and citrus fruits are rich in soluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Instead, it passes through the digestive system largely unchanged and helps add bulk to stool. Wheat bran, nuts, and vegetables are excellent sources of insoluble fiber.
How much fiber should you be eating? The recommended intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. But most people only consume about 15 grams of fiber a day. So, increase your high-fiber foods to lose weight and improve your overall health.
Not Maintaining an Eating Window
Intermittent fasting is a popular weight loss strategy. It involves switching between periods of fasting and eating. You can do IF in various ways, but the most common is the 16/8 method. Under this approach, you fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window.
It means you would stop eating at 8 pm and not eat again until noon the next day. It means that you’re essentially skipping breakfast and lunch. And you’re only consuming two meals a day – dinner and one late-night meal.
However, eating smaller and more frequent meals isn’t the best way to lose weight either. You might end up consuming more calories than you must. So, find an eating pattern that works for you and stick to it.
The two jigsaw pieces of weight loss – diet and exercise – are equally important. You can’t have one without the other.
Exercise helps you build muscle while burning calories. And the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate – the calories your body burns while at rest. That means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
There are target-specific exercises for every part of the body. But some exercises are more effective than others regarding weight loss. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a great example. It alternates between short bursts of intense activity and recovery periods. And it is more effective at burning fat than traditional cardio exercises.
Other excellent exercises for weight loss include strength training, cycling, and running. So, find an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your routine.
Not Reading Labels
Picking ingredients off the shelves and into your shopping cart without reading the nutrition label is a mistake. Just because a product claims to be healthy doesn’t mean it is.
Many “health foods” contain sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. And these can sabotage your weight loss efforts. So, always check the nutrition label before buying anything.
The nutrients that’ll add the most value to your diet are protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These help keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. And they also have other health benefits like reducing inflammation and boosting metabolism.
Reading labels will also help you spot unhealthy additives and preservatives. These are often found in processed and packaged foods. They may not have a significant impact on your weight. But they can harm your health in other ways. So, it’s best to avoid them too.
The road to weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s best to approach it sustainably. That means making lifestyle changes that you can stick to for the long term. We understand the urge to see quick results. But fad diets and other unhealthy weight loss methods will only sabotage your efforts.
So, get off that weight scale and allow your body the time it needs to reach your goal weight. You’ll get there.