The amount of conflicting information and advice relating to weight loss means it’s no wonder many people don’t know where to start. Fad diets can come with health warnings, and the obvious approach of eating less and exercising more often fails to deliver results. Knowing the facts about weight loss is just as important as having the discipline to stick to a diet and make lasting changes to what you eat.
If you’ve tried and failed to lose fat and improve your body shape, the following mistakes could be holding you back.
Having unrealistic expectations
Losing weight healthily and for long-term benefits takes time. Success comes from taking a different approach to what you eat and how much you exercise rather than thinking of a diet in the traditional sense. Studies indicate that having unrealistic expectations from the start means you’re very likely to quit attempts to lose weight.
Common weight loss goals such as getting a summer beach body or fitting into a wedding dress may not be achievable if you don’t allow enough time. Starving yourself or planning to hit the gym every day can lead to resentment and increase the temptation to give up. Set realistic weight loss goals and recognize that small steps make a big difference over time.
Focusing purely on cutting calories
Cutting calories is a proven way to reduce body fat, but not eating enough can have the opposite effect. If you reduce your calorie intake too far your body begins to store fat for survival. Most experts agree that adopting the calorie deficit approach is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat. Consuming between one and three hundred calories a day less, you burn results in slow and steady weight loss.
The complex nature of the human body means that calories in different types of food affect biological processes in different ways. In simple terms this means that consuming a hundred calories of broccoli isn’t the same as consuming a hundred calories of candy. Macronutrients in food can affect hormones and the brain’s perception of hunger, so the type of food you eat is just as important as the number of calories it contains.
Not eating enough protein
There are several reasons why increasing the amount of protein in your diet improves your chances of losing weight. Firstly, protein increases the body’s metabolic rate meaning you burn calories more efficiently. Studies also prove that meals rich in protein make you feel full for longer and help to reduce appetite. You’ll be less tempted to snack between meals if your diet includes chicken, tuna, nuts and other foods rich in protein.
Weight loss resulting from a diet includes a reduction in muscle mass as well as a loss of body fat. Eating protein helps to retain muscle mass and improve body composition. You may become susceptible to injuries if you are active and lose muscle mass too quickly.
Focusing on cardio exercises
Pounding the treadmill for hours every week is hard work, and it may not deliver the results you would expect. Lifting weights and other forms of strength training are now recognized as having an important role to play in developing a toned physique. Running, cycling and other forms of cardio exercise are great for fitness, but experts suggest resistance exercises are more effective for long term weight loss.
Aim to include at least two sessions of resistance training every week for the best results. If you don’t have access to a gym, a couple of items of fitness equipment are all you need. A kettle bell and a set of resistance bands are ideal. Weight bearing exercise such as push ups and squats can also deliver the benefits of strength training.
Eating diet food
Foods marketed as low-fat, low-carb and sugar-free have little or no benefit to weight loss. They often contain corn syrup, vegetable oils and other questionable ingredients. Salt is used to enhance the bland taste of products with fat and sugar removed, and this can be harmful to your health. Fat was deemed as something you should avoid eating forty years ago, but modern studies confirm this was based on flawed research. Healthy monounsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil and nuts play an important role in developing and maintaining the body’s cells.
Following outdated or misguided advice can reduce your chances of losing weight and lead to frustration. Follow the advice in this article and look for ways to be smarter when it comes to improving body composition.